Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Print -- is it dying or is it dead?

A question I am asked often, especially by students of mass communication is: "Is print dying? Or is it dead?"

My answer: "It might be dying. But it's not dead. I don't think it will die."

Yes, especially in the United States, many publications have closed down. For many newspapers, like the NYT, their digital subscription has been growing. But the print medium will be there, surely at least in the foreseeable future. Only that the number of physical newspapers, magazines and books might come down.

The printed document, all said and done, has its own impact on the reader. When we see a headline across up to around 15 inches of a newspaper, it has its own impact on us, compared to a similar headline across around less than half of that on a laptop, or still smaller on a mobile phone. Headlines on newspapers also signal to us the relative importance of news items, which is very difficult to achieve on a mobile phone.

Newspapers, magazines and books are unique in the sense that they have just printed words and photos on them, and nothing else, like a mobile phone are a computer.

A comment I keep hearing is: "Children don't read newspapers or books, nowadays. They are all watching videos or movies, and listening to music."

My reply: "True there is more of photos, memes, GIF and videos. But it's not that kids aren't reading anything. They are reading "newspapers" but it's online, mostly on their mobile phones.

Also, look at the crowds at some of the book stores, no one will ever say that people have stopped reading actual books. And it's mostly youngsters who are reading these books.

Where digital scores is in storage, portability, and easy retrieval of data. So, it will be too far-fetched to say that print will vanish all together.

(This post is a part of the "Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2018.")


  1. I guess it's all a matter of opinion but as a graphic designer, I just can't accept that going completely digital is possible, there's always something that just can't match exactly. & beside the idea of digital books is a bit much. where would libraries be? I don't like to picture a library without paper books.

    have a lovely day.

    my latest a-z is: query

    1. Thanks, Lissa for your comment. I agree with you. Print can't just vanish like that.

  2. I don't know if print will survive or not but it doesn't really matter to me as long as I can still read books. Right now ebooks are not good enough to completely replace print, especially in some genre. But may be someday they will be or they wont. Does it really matter as long as we have reading material?

    People just dislike change and I am sure there were those who were opposed to printing too when it first came out, see

    1. Good point, Kanika. Indeed, many things that are very common and popular today, were new and not popular at first. Everything is like that.