Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Future of Print?

I'm not a writer, I'm not a publisher and I'm not a magazine editor, but you don't have to be to see that the future of print is changing. As we mourn the loss of another wonderful design magazine, Domino, questions are raised concerning all magazines and newspapers.

During the Inspired Design conference I had the pleasure to talk with Andrew Wagner, editor-in-chief of American Craft magazine. I mentioned my interest in pursuing a career in magazines and his response was to look to the publishers because it's an interesting time for print. As we discussed further I said that readers still enjoy the feel of a magazine. The sense of flipping a page, the sound of tearing out inspiration and the endless stack of magazines beside your bed. These are sensations we don't get online. But, now I even question my optimistic love for print.

Wagner encouraged me to post and ask questions about the future of print. I don't want to open fresh wounds, but with the closing of Domino I felt like now was the time to bring this topic to discussion.

So here I am asking you...what do you see for the future of print? Do you still enjoy reading magazines or have you switched to reading online material only? What makes you love a magazine and are there ways to improve print?

I would love your feedback on this important topic - look forward to it!

93 comments:

the sassy kathy said...

i'm extremely sad to see domino go. as i was with cottage living, blueprint, etc. etc. i love online media. love blogs. love technology. but there's nothing like a magazine. there's something to be said for a tangible printed product, for holding something in your hands and seeking inspiration. for the same reason, i find amazon's kindle (electronic book thingy) to be despicable. i would never, NEVER, even attempt to read a book via electronic device. it sounds completely unenjoyable to me. i like to hold things. to have things.

i hope we can find a balance between technology/internet and the good old fashioned world of print media.

cindy : quaint said...

i will always love to flip through magazines + books and still have some of the first issues of domino. i worked in publishing and once the advertising slips so does the ability of the magazine to stay in business. success has less to do with magazine sales as there is really no profit there, especially if people don't actually purchase an issue. unfortunately, we're in a vicious-cycle right now. manufacturers/retailers do need magazines and other sources to feature their products, which helps sales thereby funding ad buys. as we're learning, the hard way, it's all interconnected.

please sir said...

Great feedback - and wonderful perspective from the publishing side.

cindy : quaint said...

i forgot to say that i also love to find new information online through blogs like yours. unless it's a personal blog, generating revenue through advertising is a significant issue online, too. people have gotten so used to finding content for free it's hard to break the cycle.

Joanna Goddard said...

i'm really sad about domino, blueprint, etc. and i definitely thinking magazines need to focus a lot on developing their websites. (some great examples: the new york times, glamour, cookie, new york magazine, etc.) magazines are works of art and i don't think they'll ever completely die, but i think only the strongest will survive. these are scary financial times!

and yes, advertisements are THE way that magazines make money. but newsstand and subscription sales are really important because that helps the magazine sell ads (since they can promise readers). xoxo

Astrid said...

I agree with the sassy kathy, holding a magazine in your hands is special, and it's different than everything online - which I also love. But it feels good to take a break from the computer, and find inspiration in print.

I work as a freelance journalist for Norwegian lifestyle magazines, and I really hope printed magazines will keep living!

erin@designcrisis said...

As a former lit major and current photographer, I will always cherish the feeling of tangible paper in my hands. I love holding something and seeing it up really close, much closer than a computer screen could ever resolve. I love the sense of time passing when I flip through a book or magazine, so I don't think digital can ever entirely supplant print media.

That said, maybe this recent crisis is a way of separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I liked Domino, but it's not as good as it used to be, and it's not as good as some of the other shelter mags (IMO). If Living Etc folds, then I'll cry.

Cicada Studio said...

I subscribed to Domino, but had recently let it lapse (feeling guilty about that now). I did enjoy flipping through the pages, but it seems for the last 6 months or so, I barely got through it before the next one showed up. I just don't have the time- and when I do, I'm too tired to read. I really don't enjoy "reading" online. It's uncomfortable to sit erect at a computer or bent over a laptop and squint at the fine print. Also, I just don't pour over online news like I would a mag- I had been known to wring a mag dry, whereas, I'll bounce around a lot more online. I also want to say, that I'm much more likely to take note of ads in print vs. online for what that's worth.

I am actually a bit apprehensive about Domino's closing. I don't know why- but there does seem to be a bit of foreboding about it. First my fave indie NJ radio station was converted to streamed in dance hits, then my husband's gym closed without a word, then we lost the Cartoon Network on cable, now this... it's just making me uneasy to see so many past times shut down. Sad, too.

Ms Unreliable said...

I love my magazines, but I do think there are a lot of magazines that essentially cover the same thing, even in Australia where the market is very small. Although Domino seemed to have it's own loyal niche demographic, it's difficult to encourage companies to advertise when that's usually the first thing to be cut from their budgets in tough times.

I have to admit, I'm currently weighing up whether I will renew my subscription to two of my own favourite design/shelter mags that I've been subscribing to for years, simply because I notice that there are more and more ads and less and less quality content. It's a vicious cycle, particularly for smaller specialty or boutique publications. Plus the Australian dollar is useless at the moment so my subscriptions will cost about 15-20% more than they did last year. Eep.

Katee said...

I love reading magazines!! I am so sad to see Domino go. I love being able to look at a physical magazine versus reading them online. I like to be able to rip out pages and save them, keep them, take the with me shopping, etc.

Uncle Beefy said...

I'm sure my sentiments will repeat what has been expressed in the previous comments but...

blogs, for me, DO NOT replace magazines. In fact, often they would point me in the direction of acquiring something I may have missed. I adore the tactile quality of thumbing through those pages and the web will never replace that experience as far as I am concerned.

But with all these desing magazines closing down I question the validity of my own viewpoint...??? Is our visual greediness as bloggers to be blamed? I don't think I really know at this point. But many of these magazines will be sorely missed by my eyes, hands, imagination, & coffee table. :(

Uncle Beefy said...

oops..."design" not "desing"

heidi said...

Having worked in magazines for over 2 decades, there are certainly some issues to think about before diving into one. Working for anything that's "ad-driven" and *printed* in this economy is scary. Domino folded because when the housing market falls, the ad budget falls... it's a Domino effect! (sorry) Printing & mailing costs continue to grow as well. That said, I have seen great progress in perfecting magazine web traffic over the years, and as a graphic designer, I have high hopes for the popularity of digital material. I will never EVER give up holding and reading the real thing in my hands. I still read the printed NYT. I still read REAL books.

Erika said...

there's nothing like a magazine. blogs and online reading is fun... but there is something about holding a magazine in your hand, flipping the pages, flipping back to the resources, etc. I will miss them!

Michelle said...

There is NOTHING like a magazine with it's glossy pages and costly photos, it is perfection and it is inspiring in a way that online mediums just aren't. It is like the magazine is the lasagna with the fatty meat...and online is like eating that healthy lasagna your sister made, with turkey, TURKEY, are you kidding me???

shi(f)t said...

there is something personal and quiet about magazines...i remember getting the first issue of domino and feeling inspired...i still get that feeling when i see domino in my mailbox. magazines are leisurely and intimate. as much as i love reading and finding things online, nothing is the same as having it in front of you, much like art, to take your time and explore.

daisy janie : scoutie girl said...

Such sad news about Domino. When I read mags, I want to get my money's worth and not miss a single word - so I dog-ear pages as I go. And Domino was one I kept on-hand for reference later. Ugh.

When a business closes, it's an issue of bottom line flexibility (or inflexibility). They don't leave themselves enough wiggle room to fix things that are broken, reprioritize, reallocate spending (assuming they are generating revenue in the first place) - if they're not willing to make the "hard" decisions at the end of the day or they don't have the ability to turn on a dime, they're done - could be the case that Domino was no longer a cash cow but a dog in the parent company's portfolio. Easy to scratch off the list. Cut your losses.

I think the hand-held printed periodical is sloooowly becoming obsolete. I can't imagine it in my lifetime, but certainly in my son's. How can they market themselves? What perceived value / positive attributes do they offer to a modern society that increasingly demands things that are instant, cheap & easy? The glossies are, in part, at fault for decades of advertising/discussing/perpetuating the ideas that "instant, cheap & easy" are somehow better than "delayed gratification, you get what you pay for and inherent challenge"? Hmmm - better watch out what you wish for.

jordan said...

Online content is (of course) growing and important but it isn't the same as holding glossy pictures in your hand.

You are my fave... said...

I love, love, love magazines. I think my current subscription count is 8 magazines. I think Domino was the perfect example of everything I look for in a magazine. I'm so sad.

Anonymous said...

what's this about?
http://blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2009/01/28/domino-dancing-with-conde-nast/

Elise of Argyle Whale said...

I guess it's people like me who are the reason that print magazines are failing. Sorry!

I used to love going to Border's and picking out a stack of design magazines but since I've started reading a whole bunch of great blogs like Decor8, they satisfy my curiosity and inspire me enough so I can't see spending money on magazines. I sometimes spend money on an online edition of a magazine like Mankind though.

Truly there is something in the tactile pleasure of a real life print but the advertisements, extra money and paper consumption completely negate it for me.

I hate to see good businesses be lost and I hope these magazines can figure out a way to update so they can stay afloat.

Karen said...

Sigh. I also just learned that Cottage Living just published their last issue in December -- loved that magazine! So sad.

There's something about the feel of actual paper in your hands...how you can throw a copy of a magazine in your purse, buy a few for the beach, cut out pictures and articles...

If I had a laptop, it might ease things a bit -- I could still curl up in bed and read! But for now, nothing beats grabbing a cup of coffee and a blanket and flipping through a favorite magazine.

Dottie said...

geesh - another one bites the dust. it's sad to see so many magazines go under, especially something as strong & well done as domino. but, times they are a changing - something's blowing in the wind. design blogs have really upped the anty & taken it in a different direction. i think that as more consumers look online, print materials will become luxuries, high end products for quarterly purchase instead of grocery store commodities to be picked up with that night's meal.

i posted a collection of some of my favorite bloggers' (design for mankind, black eiffel, the bedlam of beefy, etc) must read mags a while back. http://stilldottie.blogspot.com/2008/08/print-mags-something-to-get-your-hands.html

we've got love, but we're still part of the reason it's changing.

Stephanie said...

I think holding the glossy pictures is going to be an increasing luxury.

I love magazines, but I feel guilty anymore about buying ones that I don't plan to keep forever, and if I plan to keep them, they need to be full of the awesome. I loved Domino once (and the long-gone Blueprint, and even longer gone Victoria) but I think the growing world of home and design blogs cannibalized their content and sources to death, and they didn't move fast enough - if they had updated their website and blog content, I think they could have survived as a web-only publication, and maybe put out quarterly periodicals as supplements.

Magazines have a future, but I think it will be a more expensive, luxury reference item sort of future. I'm thinking of publications like Selvedge, which are printed on great paper, have a sort of imperviousness to trend, are clearly designed to be kept, come out fewer times per year, are laser-targeted to a niche audience, and cost a pretty penny to subscribe to.

I'll miss it, though - even not-great Domino was a lot of fun to read.

Krissy said...

Hey lady! Thanks for the well wishes...

As a designer who has a passion for CMYK and doesn't really love the whole RGB thing, I like to believe print has a future. However, that future all depends on the reader. It's really disheartening to see magazines like Blueprint and Domino go because those were magazines that not only were perfect for tearing out inspiration, but also appealed to the not-so-commercial crowd. Domino was great for giving fresh ideas and gave lots of readers an insight to handmade markets like Etsy.

But, as times are tough, I halted a lot of my magazine subscriptions. (Domino & Food and Wine were the only keepers.) Maybe the actual future in print is the smaller zines instead of the mass marketed magazines. I think Erin's Design for Mankind is a perfect niche and I believe we could see a lot of those popping up in different forms. There is absolutely no way the internet can replace tactile pleasure of paper magazines - they just need to be refocused!

Great subject to start here Diana. Can't wait to read what everyone thinks!

please sir said...

Great insights! I'm thinking more about the impact of my blog on magazines. I think it's an interesting challenge it creates for print. But, yes it's a strongest will survive type of feeling right now.

Newburgh Restoration said...

Yes I was reading an article in AM NY a few weeks back, and they gave a listing of quite a number of newspapers that have been shut down. For anybody that speaks Spanish-Hoy was one of them

Tina said...

sure online reading is cheap and somewhat easy to search for a lot of things, but it's just not the same when you have a real magazine if your hand. i love turning the pages, the feel of the pages... magazines should always be a part of our lives!

Jacqueline Carlisle said...

I have to say as an editor I have been following the future of print for the last year and I too believe it's an interesting time to rethink the idea of print and look for new ideas. As someone who loves magazines, worked on a magazine and is about to launch their own magazine, I have been forced to look at the realities of the industry and after carfeul consideration will launch online but with an annual print component. I won't give up the feeling of flipping pages,storing them and having them on my bookcase, but I do believe the industry requires a fresh approach.

Dionne said...

The thing I love about magazines is that it's something I CHOSE to buy. It's something I own and keep and can look through whenever I want. There is nothing wrong with the internet, but reading on there is sometimes random and impersonal. It's like getting a letter in the mail - the joys of having your own little piece, rather than an email that can be deleted or forgotten in an instant.

The Lil Bee said...

Domino closing makes me so sad, but it's clearly about shrinking ad budgets. To survive, I think magazines need to approach their product as two different entities—a printed book and an online publication—with original content in BOTH. This allows advertisers to expand their reach and lets consumers stay involved with the brand. Wired, Glamour, and NY Mag are a few I can think of that do this really well.

Also, I agree with Beefy—nothing replaces the feeling of reading a magazine. It’s something you can go back to time and again. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has saved every last issue of Domino since day one!

a print a day said...

I love print magazines and books and many printed media. I collect rare and first edition books and magazines, so if printed reading material such as mags fade, then it is going to be a rather sad and bittersweet time. I say bittersweet because as much as I LOVE printed matter, I am also extremely anal about paper, trees being cut, recycling, waste and such. So my feelings on the matter are right in the middle. I'm torn. I have SO many old National Geos, Time, Life, etc in acid free archives. They are extremely valuable to me and have well documented history and I treasure them greatly. There is something about holding that physical item in your had that allows us to be attached to such things whereas these are feelings that we do not have when we read something online. But as I mentioned, physical things come at a cost, ie, manpower, natural resources, space, etc...Digitized things require less of these AND last forever.

I think that we are evolving into a MUCH more digitized world, where things are online or delivered on demand. Issuu is an example of an online library that carries many of the online mags I read. There are also avenues of self publishing such as Magcloud, Blurb, Lulu that allows small publishers to upload their work and buyers can purchase printed matter on demand. In many ways, this is good: you can have the option to view online OR purchase the hardcopy or download the item for a set price. I actually think that is a good happy medium.

In addition, as much as the economy has a part in the demise of such publications, noting history, I am sure that the digital alternatives being offered have just as much an impact on the matter.

But like I said, my feelings are torn. The positives cancel the negatives and vice versa. We're just entering a different time, and it's unfolding right in front of us.

drollgirl said...

i love mags. i love books. i love the internet, too, but it just isn't the same.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

It's a bit of a chicken and an egg, you know? Design/shelter blogs became so popular because they can quickly bring photos and ideas to the masses quicker than a magazine can get to the shelves (I must have seen pictures from this month's Domino cover story at least 10 times on blogs before I actually saw the issue on newsstands!). So, magazines aren't selling as many copies (why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free!), and their advertisers are moving to cheaper, quicker mediums like blogs. So the magazines fold. But...now blogs won't have the mags to pull ideas from. So I also wonder...what will become of a shelter blog with no Domino et al to serve as their inspiration? Shuld be interesting to see how this whole thing shakes out. Sad for those of us who love the intimacy of alone time with our favorite mags *and* the comraderie of discussing them with our online bloggy friends.

paula said...

reading magazines is my favorite way to relax. i find so much inspiration. the closing of another great mag makes me sad.

Suzanne : : S.HOPtalk said...

As someone who previously worked in publishing and printing for several years, I've followed the future of print with both curiosity and sadness.

Despite the amount of time I spend perusing blogs and other online outlets, I still LOVE magazines. I save most of them and re-read them again and again. I read blogs for inspiration and to gather information. I read magazines for inspiration AND to relax.

I don't think print will ever be completely replaced, but rather, reinvented. As others have mentioned, Design for Mankind Mag is an excellent example of what we will see more of in the future...smaller niche offerings (in my opinion).

That Girl Designs said...

My brother who works for a major newspaper, says the days of newsprint are numbered. So many people these days get their news online. This I can understand, but nothing on the web can compare to the glossy pages of my favorite magazines. I use them for "relaxing me time", for inspiration, and for research. If I tried to print out all of the inspiration and info I find online, it would cost me a fortune in printer ink! And, as far as advertising goes, I rarely click on ads on blogs. Sorry, but unless I'm looking for something in particular, no need to click it! However, when thumbing through a magazine, I can't help but see, and usually read, an ad.

I don't know, maybe having fewer magazines will help those that survive. You know, supply and demand. Anyway, I'll really miss Domino, just like I really miss House & Garden. I'm sure some savvy person will look at this as an opportunity to start a new design magazine! We can hope right? Hey, maybe we should!

Rachel said...

There's something special about a magazine, and it isn't the same looking online, as much as I love online material. I am hoping that print never dies.

Kotori said...

This is my third subscription to go... and one of the most inspiring of them all. I am so sad to hear that there will be no more Domino. I can't imagine not having magazines - I love dog earring the pages and referring back to them, filing them away in a dream file. There's something about having something in your hands that you don't get from being on-line. It makes me sad.

Raina said...

There's nothing like the buzz I get when I step into the magazine section of my local bookstore. Scanning the racks for the newest issues, the small thrill of delight that zips through my brain when a shelter mag from some far-flung location catches my eye is without equal.

Print magazines deliver a tactile and visual experience that cannot be duplicated on a laptop. I love the thrill of being the first person to crack the front cover and inhale the chemical must of the ink.

While design blogs offer an immediacy that feeds our 24/7 appetite for information, magazines tell the "story" in a more leisurely and complete way. The features relate and arc, broadening the discussion.

After this wrenching economic shakeout passes, print magazines will rebound and return. But there will not be the sheer number of publications we've enjoyed for the past 15 years.

I agree with Lil Bee that the strongest mags left standing will wisely embrace web technology to get their message out.

Now go check out my blog... ;)

Whitney said...

I'm obviously in the minority here, but I find magazines overpriced (I know it's a vicious cycle why that is) and not to my level of living. Domino was a good read, but the price points were crazy. It was good for inspiration, but I have actually found that Flikr is everything I need most of the time. It's real life, real people, real homes. It's real shelters.

I'm sorry to see it go. Magazines/print will adjust. The information won't just go away - it will always find a way to the people.

jae said...

AS much as we can all see how the future of print is moving into digital, it takes away the experience. It reminds me that we are a multi-tasking society. I for one, don't want to read my magazine over a screen while taking a work break. I want to sit down and hold it and read every page. I hope there is room enough for both blogs and print.

High Desert Diva said...

I've always enjoyed magazines, but my favorites keep disappearing. I really hope publishers figure out a way to make them viable. 75% ads/25% content doesn't seem to work. I agree that there should be a great website/blog tied in with the publication. Don't really understand why this hasn't been capitalized upon.

Victoria said...

Great post. Here's my two cents worth:
I LOVE PRINT. Truly, and dearly I do. The internet is wonderful for its speed and 24 hour availability to give me information on anything and everything. I love blogging and the supportive community formed between bloggers... but the screen can never replace the feel and intimate go between of holding printed material. With print I can pull it up close to my face, I can rip it out and save it, I can go back to it again and again and examine it, always finding something I hadn't picked up on before. I would mourn the loss of printed material. (Plus my husband is a PRINTER!) However, I do think it is vital that we move to using all renewable, recyclable and non toxic materials for print. Also, I think editors may need to be more selective in what they print. I get frustrated when I go to the bookstore and see 50 decorating magazines that all look the same. Lets get some real originality and diversity into the market.

katiecrackernuts said...

I work in the print media, for what we, in Australia, call a local rag. We have an online site but as a news vehicle I am yet to see people pledge any allegiance to it. I think online, like magazines, are picking up an audience that remains relatively loyal. I'd love to see study on online news and magazine habits. I'm guessing all of us have our favourites and have to have that favourite point us to their favourites before we go looking for new favourites. It is interesting times for print. I can see that magazines and major news outlets will earn revenue online - and that those markets will be ever evolving with the ability to read blogs and posts on mobile phones. The interaction of the reader has become important. What's this. Comment 44 and counting! Newspapers and magazines have a long turnaround for any interaction and it's selective. Half the time what a mag publishes has been all over the blogs and web before it's in our hands. You can see why the market's drifting. As for my niche, community news, I still think there is a place for a printed product but I think decisionmakers are so tied up in the web revenue they can't see the return of church newsletters, school newsletters, community newsletters and even suburb action group newsletters. I have seen a growing trend to self-printed, almost zine-like community newspapers. (Am actually thinking about doing it in my own suburb) There's an interest in reconnecting with what's local. We're interested to hear about Betty next door and that her grandkids have been in town. We can't do that with the web - face to face nattering and community news is still grassroots stuff. People will go online for the "breaking news" of the day, but I don't think people head online to see whether the under-16s got up in the last weekend match. Hmm. Big topic. Can't wait to read all the responses.

A Day That Is Dessert said...

I love reading things on paper; I tried to switch to reading the paper online for environmental reasons and just couldn't. I've heard that paper is going the way of the dinosaurs soon..guess I'd better get used to it. Sad about Domino. I also really liked Cottage Living.

Annabelle said...

Thanks so much for this post! I'm VERY interested in this topic at the moment (have featured assignments on it at university).
I really believe that newspapers are dying (due to loss of big income ad revenue to the internet). I also think mags are taking a hit, but not as badly. What all these companies need to do, is capture their readership and advertisers online. But the problem is that online writing is so different to print...
It's a brainteaser for sure.

And for someone who's studying to become a journalist (broadcast and print) it's a daunting fact - but one that needs to be addressed and figured out!

Very interesting.. Loved this post :-)

LexyB said...

Interesting stuff. I really wonder about the future of magazines because unless they reinvent themselves REAAAAL quick, there might not be so many left around. Equally, blogs that plunder the very best magazine creative material (myself included) will be affected, too. We all know there is a need for beautiful magazines, beautiful pictures and inspiring stores ... it's just that no-one can find the business model to make it all work.

http://renovationplanning.blogspot.com/2009/01/no-no-noooo.html

Joyce said...

I would rather have a magazine in my hands, relaxing flipping through the pages than online. As you mentioned I love the feel and sound of paper as I turn the pages. I like the excitment wondering when my magazines will be in the mailbox or standing in the checkout line at the store seeing the latest issues.

This saddens me to know not only letter writing, but now magazine are going technology. Don't get me wrong I appreciate technology, I wouldn't be able leave my comments here without it, but there are some of the old things I still would enjoy holding onto.

Great post!!

Fifi Flowers said...

This was the first I heard of the end of Domino... and I have a subscription. I enjoy Domino, but I think it showed the same people over and over... one magazine the person had a recipe... the next the home interiors... the next their party design. There was not enough FRESHNESS.
Domino also was doing too much of the same design and too much Bohemian. I had hoped when House & Garden ended... they could mix the two designs... but sadly it never happened. I miss House & Garden terribly! And NOW I will miss Domino... please don't tell me Elle Decor is going too?
I think it is SAD to see soooo many magazines struggle and fold... I love to flip through them and tear out pages... I have stacks... and I love to keep some to go back and get design ideas. If magazines will only be oniline... How easy will it be to access archives... and will there be a fee to access them? It is wonderful to look forward to GOOD things in the mailbox like magazines!
Another thing to think about... without magazines... where will bloggers gather photos that are differnt than magazines online? Where will they get there inspiration? What will happen to book printing? Will books start disappearing as well? Or will this help the book biz? Or is it already be hit?
GOOD post... you've got us all talking!

K.Line said...

You know, I used to read mags obsessively - until last year. Seriously, I spent a hundred bucks a month on them, or more. But now I look forward to the blogs and web in general. It's free. There's no waste and, quite honestly, it's real. I think the print industry is on the precipice of serious change. I mean, if I've crossed over, it's done. Perhaps they'll go to all web content (maybe for nominal pay?) and do one or 2 issues in print per year.

Wendy said...

I dont personally read Domino, but it is sad to see yet another magazine go. I know Country Living, Mary Engelbreit Home Companion & Simple Scrapbooks magazines are all going away. I love magazines and prefer to have the book to look at as opposed to looking at something online. We still subscribe to the print newspaper as well.

a pretty pill said...

for me, the love of tangible print will outweigh convenience any day. i live on an island; therefore, receiving a u.s. newspaper subscription is practically impossible due to insanely high prices and the fact that i don't want to read the news five days late. i long for the day when i will be able to hold a paper in my hand each morning and return to my morning ritual-paper and coffee (they were made for each other). in my opinion, and from reading the remarks above, i think that there will always be a demand for print and hopefully a means to supply.

M.Kate said...

wow..another exciting thought provoking post :D
I think one can never replace prints. I read some online information for some quick review or checking something. However, it cant replace the actual feel of holding the magazine, well..you cant take online reading to the car as there's where I read most. Online is fabulous but I doubt if it could ever replace prints. I keep some old magazines and books as I love the contents. I read online version of the paper but it is still never the same as the actual one, which I still buy.

Design Lovely said...

This is a great question and I have been thinking a lot about this lately. It seems as if everything in the magazines goes online within a week so if your willing to wait you will most likely find it online. Just the other week I was browsing through magazines at Barnes and Nobles and almost everything in there I had seen on the blogosphere. So why would I spend money to have pictures that I already have in my computer? I like the fact that I can save inspiration images on the computer and not in a manila folder where it can be difficult to go back and find. There is also the green factor of not having to throw away or recycle magazines if you just browse the internet. I think it would be great if Domino did something like Mankind Mag where its a couple of dollars to browse an online magazine.

Well thanks for letting me put my thoughts down in your comment box. Have a great one!

Abbey Goes Design Scouting said...

I still believe in print -- I spent hours today looking through some archives from the 1850s (for my job) and was reminded how powerful paper is archivally vs the digital. I think that magazines have a place and am very sad that Blueprint and Domino folded. I'm curious HOW unprofitable they were -- we know they had readers which should account for something -- I wonder if in these bottom-minded times they just weren't meeting their numbers and got cut. I do think that website content is going to really important -- I think New York Magazine is really the only magazine who has figured this out. xo Abbey

valerie said...

that's such an important question these days, especially in these times where money is scarce and people are pessimistic, not to mention that technology is having an incredible impact on print.

digital media, online print, has given readers real-time access to information...information that is dynamic from day to day. on the other hand, those same writers, in some cases, are compromising quality work in exchange for a quick story...the quality you can only get from a monthly glossy.

all in all, i'd love to see both co-exist, but the unfortunate truth is that technology has the upper hand.

first polaroids, now print. this stinks.

erin, design for mankind said...

Oh goodness, Diana--- GREAT topic. I got so caught up in reading everyone's input that I forgot what your original questions were!

I have a LOT to say about this but I'll do my best to spare you the enormity of my comment. ;) I don't know that this is a conversation about Domino or even printed matter, really, but more an observation of a community in the midst of a cycle change.

Decades ago, local pamphlets were much more popular than larger newspapers. They were also free. Eventually, due to paper mills, depressions, etc, etc, newspapers took the reins from local pamphlets and the locals faded out. Now we're seeing a recurrence of free, local, niche-based pubs surviving long after our expensive counterparts. Why?

You name it. Ecological backlash, a poor economy, heavy lead times, free inspiration. I think we're in the midst of a change and the key isn't to diagnose the problem [there are many!], but to continue to believe that if you have something passionate to say, an audience will always be curious to hear it. It is my hope that the voice, rather than medium, will gain the momentum it needs to survive.

jess gonacha said...

wow, look at al these comments! i was so sad to hear about domino today. it's the only magazine i subscribe to, and i really do love it. there's something about flipping through an actual mag that's so much more satisfying than looking at it online. i wonder if soon mags will start charging for online subscriptions instead of print? things really are changing- and for some reason this today really made the economic situation a lot more real for me personally-- that sounds silly and shallow, but it's like the first step. what's next? i'm trying to stay positive, though!

ladylulu said...

I am sad to hear about Domino. I much prefer to sit down with paper than with my laptop.

As for print, I think that beautiful magazines -more journal-esque less waiting room read - that make a lovely permanent to addition to a person's library will have a shot at making it.

Waterrose said...

I really like magazines, but haven't had the time to even read the ones I'm subscribed to. I end up carrying them to appointments, get about halfway through, then forget to finish. I don't like to read magazines on the computer....I get enough computer time as it is. I don't know what the solution is, but I hope that magazines never go away.

Blair said...

Very timely post and question. Having worked in advertising and seen the shift toward online versus print consumption I have long feared the death of print. However, there such an experiential quality that is lost when you read an article on nytime.com versus holding the paper in your hand while sitting with your dog and drinking coffee. I know that I always prefer to read in on paper, as much as a love the internet. The fall of Domino, a magazine with such a tremendous fan base, worrys me greatly. It is a scary time for all industries and print is one of the last I wish it to effect.

Queen of Tarte said...

OMG...what will I do without Domino...the last of the American magazines I love to receive in the mail. I personally have hundreds of magazines and books. I am constantly flipping through them for inspiration, motivation and conversation. I tear out pages and file them for future reference or pin to my inspiration board. Even though I love technology, have a blog and website, there is nothing like seeing homes, decor, etc in print. The excitement of receiving a new mag in the mail is now gone and I am so very sad and disappointed.

hello gorgeous said...

I love magazines. For 20 years, I have purchased at least 5/month. Hmmmm, wonder if that works out to any meaningful college tuition?

Blogs will never replace magazines for me. I love the tactile feeling of a book, the smell, etc., the illustrations.

Glossy photos in mags are so much bigger and better in person than blog photos will ever be.

I imagine the problems are multifold in the publishing industry: paper and mailing costs, ad revenues down due to company budget cuts, people aren't buying products because they have no money. It's the worst retail market/economy in my lifetime.

I hate the idea of Kindle as well. But not for all books. Perhaps this will result in better books being published rather than just so many.

Vana said...

love Domino! I remember anticipating the arrival of the very first issue...It is (was) the only magazine i would actually make time to read. I read a couple of blogs i really like and seem to speak to me, but if i am looking for something specific, i would flip through a magazine at now time. I love the fact that those resources are in front of me and i can fold/mark the sheet or even cut it and add it into my folder. Can't really do that with online stuff...Anyhow, this is my 2 cents!

josephine said...

like everyone else, i'm seriously bummed about the closing of Domino. while i do read a lot of blogs, i'm still a big supporter of print and i don't think one can replace the other. while i think it's important for a printed publication to have a strong online presence, the online content shouldn't be duplicate of the print version. they should actually complement and support each other, i.e., there should be content on the website that thrives in the online medium and makes you want to check out the printed version of the publication and vice versa. i think domino did a pretty good job of this. their website did offer a several photo galleries available in the printed version, but they also had that awesome "deco file" tool that 1) completely supports domino's mission to make decorating fun and easy, 2) encourages sharing, which is a big part of the online community and 3) uses technology available in the online format that would be cumbersome to deal with in print. i thought that tool was evidence that domino was doing a good job of using both mediums to its full potential and that that was what would help it stay afloat, but i guess not.

Roberta Jane said...

Let me start by saying that I LOVE magazines. I have also often imagined myself perusing a career in print media. I agree that the tangible effect of a magazine is what draws me too it the most. Maybe it is the proud feeling of ownership when you hold the magazine in you hand.... Obviously I love blogs, they offer a very quick way to gather information for little to zero cost. But in my opinion, blogs do not offer the romance of a print magazine... that being said, it must be that many people are picking virtual magazines to the real deal or these amazing magazines wouldn't be folding. As a blogger I love to report on the exciting things I find, but I am not able to create amazing editorials from scratch on my own like a magazine can and that's what I ultimately love in print magazines... But in all honesty, as a Domino subscriber, I feel that the magazine had let me down at times. I often thought they struggled to be fresh and original.

Ok, final word... I love magazines... I will not stop buying my favorites (Vogue, Bazaar, Nylon, Frankie, Lula)... but in this economy it's survival of the fittest! Magazine are not the only industry struggling to win over American's discretionary income!

Simple Answer said...

Wow. Don't think I've ever been comment #68! I had no idea about Domino. It is one of the few magazines I get over here. Rats.

mondo cherry said...

I'm another fan of magazines. I love the initial flick through, then the thorough read, the going through it a few months later to tear out inspiring images, great recipes and beautiful photos. I know you can save a lot of the same images online but, for me, it is not the same as being able to spread out a range of tear sheets and compare and compile. I also love being able to have a couple of magazines in the car for those moments when you are stuck in the car for whatever reason. They always make the wait seem so much nicer!

Sharon said...

Whilst am thankful for all the online material providing me with an immense pool of inspiring things, it's just so sad about Domino!!I love collecting back issues and using pictures on inspiration boards. It'll just be disastrous to see many more magazines go, coz of the lack of sales!especially since we get only a handful of publications around here...

TheDecoDetective said...

Oh, ok. You've got 70 comments on this, so I guess I won't add anything revolutionary, but: I love buying an actual mag, because I can touch and smell it and because I can curl up on the couch with it. But glossy mags probably aren't that eco friendly and this has sadly put a damper to my enthusiasm. I think there will always be some mags around, but I'm looking forward to better online versions.

vicki archer said...

If this is the way of magazines well what bodes for books? Will we be reading all printed matter on line? This is what concerns me as a writer and more importantly as a huge lover and subscriber to magazines. I feel very sad that our lives are being dominated by the online word and will fight to the end to hold the printed matter in my hands. Great post, xv.

miss tango said...

I adore magazines! Sadly I have not purchased in over two years. I live in a country where magazines cost a small fortune, especially the imported ones which I desire the most. Thank god for the internet, but it isn´t the same.

susieq said...

I have hundreds of magazines and love thumbing through them. Nothing is better than a stack of decor magazines. I'm just bummed about Domino and Cottage Living.

I'm thinking that we'll see publishing evolve into (1) very commercial homogenous magazines, and (2) small short-life themed pamphlets. The latter could be quite exciting.

simplesong said...

i'm hoping the future of print isn't over .. but it isn't looking to bright, is it. i love magazines. for the very same reasons many people have said above...there's nothing like sitting down with a cup of coffee and flipping through your fav magazine. so sad about domino ... and surprised .. but i guess i shouldn't bee. sigh.

blue moss said...

love all the things that you can find on the internet....but i am all about actually looking at a magazine.
i guess the stacks and stacks that are in my house will finally get smaller (my husband will be happy)
michelle

Courtney said...

As a person who has a BA in magazine journalism, I suppose saying my love for magazines runs deep still doesn't do my feelings justice. I am almost at a loss for where to begin with this comment, as I feel I have so much to say (and yet don't want to ramble too long...)

I do believe there is a future for print media, albeit a future that will be considerably different than the structure of print now.

I believe this because of the number of comments above that seemed to reiterate the same thoughts- a love for print, the different feeling and gratification of flipping through the pages of a magazine versus viewing and reading content on a computer screen, and even the pleasure of holding a tangible item.

The biggest problem, I believe, is that the media publishing model needs to change. People have become so accustomed to paying low prices for magazines here because advertising is what has truly paid for them. Subscriptions and readership are important as those numbers drive advertising dollars, but the revenue of magazines is truly derived from ad content.

With a downturn in the economy, when companies cut from budgets, advertising is one area where you often find such cuts. If the magazine formula were different, perhaps our beloved Domino could have survived. But people will have to be willing to pay for the content in magazines, meaning they will have to be willing to pay more for the magazine, so that the formula, the ratio of revenue, is not so discrepant.

The business model for magazines may need to be changed as well, perhaps leading to a reduction in the number of issues in a year and perhaps even moving the industry from a profit to a non-profit field.

Sure, we will continue to move into the digital age, and online publications, blogs, and the like will have a strong, likely dominant, presence. Smart publications will continue to develop their web presence because of this.

But is print dead? No, I think far from so. There will need to be many changes for the media publishing industry, but I wholeheartedly believe there is room for both online and paper media in our future. At least that is certainly my hope.

Annette said...

So SAD!

avant garde said...

wow, lots of response to this one! i would be crushed if magazines and newspapers all decided that humans preffered the internet over them. i can tire of the internet quickly and am definitely one of those women who when i get a few rare minutes to myself whether at home over coffee in the morning or at the beach on a beautiful day, relish a new magazine for either inspiration or just sheer pleasure. viva le magazines!

blazedanielle said...

The closing of printed magazines (esp ones like domino!) make me so sad! I like avant garde's comment: Viva le Magazines!

nkp said...

I can't imagine a future WITHOUT print! As much as I love blogs, alot!, and looking at "pretty pictures," nothing quite compares to the anticipation of leafing through a new glossy magazine and discovering so much potential inspiration. This is a sad day indeed for Domino, for all those whose jobs have not been spared, and for all of us to whom these magazines brought so much pleasure. I sincerely hope this trend comes to a halt very, very soon. Really, there is nothing better than sitting down with a good book or a beautifully laid out periodical, and a computer screen, no matter how convenient, or addictive ;0), just does not compare!

citysage said...

like everyone else who has already commented, online will never 'replace' print for me---rather, the two complement each other, with blogs being the bite sized candy bar that I enjoy on a daily basis and magazines being the big piece of cake that i sit down with when i want an indulgence.

my biggest concern about print pubs folding is that i wonder where the impetus will come for the creation of new, fresh content. 99% of the images that we post as bloggers have been created for print at one time or another. will our well of images for consumption dry up? and what will happen to all the stunningly talented photographers, stylists, editors and writers who make print their bread and butter? and i'm not just talking about a dearth of editorial material for us to enjoy; as someone who works in advertising, I know how different it is to design a campaign for print than it is to design one for online---and so much visual inspiration comes from print advertising, as well as from print editorial. most photographers make their living through both, and their creative output will have fewer venues for expression as both print editorial and print advertising decline.

what advertisers don't realize is that the two mediums ARE quite interconnected and that by killing one, the other will suffer...

lex said...

what a fantastic post. i'm so glad you decided to take this angle rather than just mourning the loss of yet another mag. i worked for blueprint, and moved over to another shelter mag just before they folded. since then, it's been one after another, due to poor ad sales and our failing economy. yet in the midst of all this turmoil, we keep getting reader letters praising our publication, and claiming that they're so inspired by flipping through our pages...FLIPPING THROUGH. you can't flip through a website. it's just not the same.

pigeon.toed said...

i work in the advertising industry, so on a weekly basis i have been hearing of publications folding, and, in my opinion, it is quite disappointing. i love having the physical magazine in my hands and on file to flip through at my leisure and to flip back to for inspiration. that's my opinion, but i do see a huge shift to the internet for a lot of these publications, since it is cheaper and easier to maintain. the future seems to be pointing towards the internet, but i would like to protest. :)

please sir said...

Comment from Andrew Wagner, editor-in-chief at American Craft Magazine:

First I just wanted to say thanks to Diana for taking the time to stop and talk with me at the Inspired Design conference in North Carolina and for taking the time to post her thoughts here. Secondly, I just want to send out another thanks to everyone who has commented here. It is great to see all the energy and enthusiasm and care that's gone into them - especially for a magazine guy like me!

There is so much to say about this topic but I'll try to keep it short (though I'll admit brevity is not what I'm known for so forgive me) and before I delve into anything I wanted to encourage you all to check this out when you can:


http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200901u/fate-of-newspaper-journalism


It is the best piece of writing I've seen thus far on the whole print vs. blog thing. And though the piece is much more geared toward newspapers everything the writer points out could just as easily be applied to art/craft/design printed publications. Again, it is well worth reading if you are at all interested in this topic.

I wrote Diana much of what I think about this in an email this morning but I'm going to go ahead and restate it here. The simple fact is that most blogs will never be able to afford the in-depth kind of work that so many newspapers and magazines do (i.e. first person research, fact checking, interviewing, photo-shoots, copy-editing, editing at all, designing in a way that is literally out of the box – that is not just formatted to fit everyone’s screen, etc. etc.). The question is, do readers care about any of that? I know I do but it is a serious question.

I think however, there is a fundamental problem in the current business model. That is, being ad-driven. Readers have a real loyalty (as witnessed by all the passionate comments here) where-as advertisers just want (and need) to sell their product and turn a profit and they will go with whatever advertising format suits that need and allows them to fulfill that goal most efficiently (and cheaply). I think it was a huge mistake to switch to the ad model as opposed to the reader model as the major revenue stream for magazines. Admittedly that model is nothing new but we are just now seeing repercussions.

All this talk reminds me so much of when Napster first came out and many musicians (and record companies) were in an uproar. What happened was Apple stepped in and found a solution that satisfied the consumer, the content producer and the distributor - I-Tunes. The model is much simpler for music than print but the future of magazines – and I actually think of all content producing anything – is that people will have to pay for what they consume in one form or another. The consumers need to understand that they are getting something of value (and they actually need to be given something of value). I think there is ripe opportunity for someone like Apple or Google or some other as of now unknown force to find a solution to the distribution of content in much the same way that Apple did with I-Tunes.

Now I am not an anti-free content person a la Metallica but I certainly see their point. Newspapers and magazines have devalued themselves so much that the majority of content consumers don't think they should have to pay for anything - at least when it comes to editorial content (writing and images etc.). Therefore we find ourselves in the position we are currently in, where even publications with thousand and thousands (and sometimes millions and millions) of loyal and devoted fans can't support themselves without mass amounts of revenue from advertising. That is not to say that advertising is bad (and in fact is quite often the best part of many magazines) but to merely point out the balance was all out of whack and in fact had been for sometime.

There is so much more to say about all of this and I really do find it fascinating but I won't hog all the space here. However, if I happen to cross paths with any of you I'd love to continue the conversation. And I'd also love to hear anymore thoughts if you'd like to share them. You can contact me at awagner@craftcouncil.org.

In parting, I'll just echo what several other people have already stated. I think both content streams (print and the web) are extremely important and the future will lay in them working in tandem. Just to give my magazine, American Craft a little plug, I think we are starting to do some really interesting things for instance. Please take a look at this when you can:

http://americancraftmag.org/article.php?id=6573

It is a story from our February/March issue written by one of my favorite writers of all time, Robert Sullivan, about the amazing artist, Judith Schaechter. We've posted many more images from the photo shoot than we could have possibly put in the magazine but the coolest part - and something that I'm extremely excited about and haven't seen anyone else do as of yet - is that we also posted the audio from Robert's interview with Judith. Therefore you can read the piece, look at the images and hear Judith and Robert like you were there. It gives insight into how the whole piece came together and adds another amazing element to the story - giving the readers not just a visual experience but an aural one as well. I hope that we'll be seeing more things like that moving forward!

Anonymous said...

I thank you for asking our opinions..while I LOVE my 'daily blogs' read (& subscribe to MANY)...and the inspiring ideas and thoughts you all have....I still have subscrips. to 8 monthly decor mags that I LOVE to receive in my mailbox and curl up with at night..take care, Valerie in Manitoba.

virginia said...

i love my virtual reads, and i love my tangible glossies. one is fast food, gulped with an eye on the clock, and the other is enjoyed at home, with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. my virtual bookmarks can disappear in one mac crash; my post-it page flags will outlast my yoga practice.

i have copies of american craft dating back to 1989. i'm not sure that design*sponge will be easily accessed, for study, in 20 years.

i know how difficult it is to generate original content. i've been doing it for a year. just as i think i'm about to "jump the shark", i push myself for a new approach, and generate new material.

picciolo said...

The future of print may be changing but I think there will always be a place for magazines and books in print form. As a print designer I have seen that in recent times more things are being printed not less, with online avenues often used as additional rather than replacement coverage.

To me reading online is very different from reading a magazine, the first is done to find things out/discover, the second is a must when relaxing.

Maybe with times as they are, less money is being spent on buying magazines through neccessity rather than choice.

: )

littlebyrd said...

I really hope this trend of magazines folding turns around. I never read magazines online. Often I find the sites difficult to navigate and it just isn't as satisfying as sitting down at the end of a day (or first thing on a weekend morning!) with a cup of coffee and browsing a mag. It is one of my favorite things to do in this world. I subscribe to at least 10 publications and eagerly await their arrival each month. Great topic Diana - Thanks!

whiskeydrink studio said...

I didn't quite read through all the comments but I wanted to add something real quick.
I am an avid blog reader (this was my first visit to this blog - like it) and I am an avid magazine reader/subscriber. I hate seeing books and magazines becoming relics of the past. I really hate it. That said I think that maybe bloggers can pick up where these big magazines leave off team together and put out simple publications (meaning lots of pictures a few articles etc.) and charge what they have to so that those of us that need paper in our hands will be happy and the costs are covered. I know this thought is simplistic and that magazines cost a lot of money but I remain optimistic as I clutch my laptop a little tighter lest they try and take that away from me too : )

Petunia said...

Hi there! Fifi at Fifi Flowers suggested I come to your blog and I am so very glad I did. It's wonderful. I am attempting right now to mobilize the blogging community to ask Conde Nast to save the Domino website and to turn it in to an online magazine that we would pay to enter. I think we all realize this is the future of paper anything. I have posted on my blog a letter I have sent to Conde Nast and to several writers at the New York Times. You can see it at: caflowergirls.blogspot.com, Others are sending it or their own letters to them as well. What we are working on now is a button that can be posted on blogs that will allow those interesting in keeping Domino a web based magazine the opportunity to access our questionnaire that will be then forwarded to Cande Nast. Thank so much!

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