the death of print

while exploring online fashion mecca, women’s wear daily, i came across an article about newsstand sales for 2011. not surprisingly, sales were down by an extraordinary amount. “the entire magazine industry was down an average of 10 percent“, the article states – and while a mere 10% may not seem like a lot, it is a huge loss in revenue, interest and well, general love for printed media. is this the death of print?

the WWD article lists a ton of figures – ELLE magazine sales are down a whopping 18%, with ALLURE and GLAMOUR not far behind with 13 and 10 percent sale decreases respectively. but what the article doesn’t touch on, is why exactly this is happening. so…why is this happening?!

i had an interview last year, where the interviewer asked me my thoughts on the printed word. my answer was something along the lines of “i definitely think print is dying. and i think that’s a really tragic thing for the world of writers” – and what a fact that is! the death of print is all too quickly becoming a reality. and what i said remains true to this day; print is dying.  and how scary a thought is that?! am i the only one that loves the smell of an old book or that sound when you first crack open a hardcover? amiright? no?!

with the rise of technology, though, it’s not entirely surprising. not only is moving from printed media to an online outlet much more environmentally friendly, but it allows much easier accessibility. online outlets are faster and more convenient. e-readers like kobos and kindles are everywhere, even my mom (technology handicapped) wants a kobo. and it’s easy to see why. e-readers can hold up to 3500 books. 3500 books on a single device? pretty crazy when you compare to the average bookcase. e-reader (e-books? proper terminology anyone?) sales hit over $90 million in 2011, growing more than 200% since 2010. you can even have a book read to you simply by downloading it (and seriously, who doesn’t want james franco to read them barrodale’s william wei?!). print is definitely dying.

even the news is going online. newspapers, while arguably still incredibly popular, are found more and more online. and…well, DUH. the day of reading about yesterday’s news tomorrow is long gone. all in all, online media looks like the better choice, and the choice favoured by most. the fact that you’re reading this article reinforces my point (sucker).

so what’s the problem? for me, it’s the fact that there’s something nostalgic and lovely about holding a book, turning a page, doggy-ear-ing your favourite passages….but maybe that’s just me. print is becoming obsolete, it’s a fact. but can you really imagine a world completely without printed media? doesn’t all of this just add to the robotic way we interact/live our lives? isn’t this just a leeway us no doing absolutely everything online – customer service, lay offs (a la “up in the air”), break ups, relationships? is this the wave of the future?

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