By Pickett Slater Harrington

Studies show that people read for longer periods of time and retain more information when they read print as compared to digital publications.

Why would an organization in this day and age endeavor to launch a print publication?

After all, using social media and online publishing is far less expensive, provides instant access to the masses, and saves the environment. In addition, if something needs to be changed or updated you can do it with a few key strokes while still in your pajamas from almost anywhere on the planet.

While this is all true, I must admit that there is something about print publications that engages me differently. I’m not alone in this feeling. We know that people still find value in reading print publications. Studies show that people read for longer periods of time and retain more information when they read print as compared to digital publications.

There are strong arguments for and against print and digital publications but are these arguments even necessary? In a perfect world wouldn’t it be great to not see print and digital publication as diametrically opposed but as complementary? Evidence is mounting that we may be a little closer to this perfect world.

In recent years, the rise of e-readers has also been accompanied by a rise in the number of independent bookstores. While advertisers are making huge investments in marketing digital publications. They have not forgotten the power of print publication. Don’t believe me? Then check your mailbox and I’m sure you will find several store catalogues. By the way you probably received that catalogue because you went online to the store’s website to receive that special online coupon that you downloaded to your phone but also printed out to make sure you could still get the discount- even more evidence that print and digital publication are co-existing happily in our everyday lives.

Digital natives have even learned to co-exist with print publications. Walk into any coffee shop and amidst the laptops, tablets, e-readers, and smartphones are books, magazines, fliers, and a printed menu. For the digital native print is the new app. The holy grail in app development is to be able to do one thing and do it really well. Print provides reliability, functionality, and retro coolness all in one package. Through the eyes of a digital native what’s old is new again — retro gaming, the 90’s, first edition iPods that sell for $500, and print publications.

Even though print and digital publications seem to be happily co-existing at times it can be hard to come to terms with this new reality. A small part of me is saddened that digital publication probably won’t help us save more trees and the environment but push us to feel the need to consume more information just for information’s sake and I can’t help but be dismayed by the fact that print publication is no longer the sole purveyor of genuine, thought provoking, self-actualization – Facebook currently holds this title.

I’m willing to bet that if you and I embrace this new reality, where print and digital media are not at odds with each other, then we will be surprised by the possibility it holds.

So why would an organization in this day and age endeavor to launch a print publication? Maybe it’s a desire to be cool, or a need to reach more people in diverse ways, or perhaps it truly is out of a desire to create a more perfect world.

Pickett Slater Harrington is the manager of leadership development and effectiveness at Independent Sector.

Types: Blog
Global Topics: IS Staff, ISQ

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