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Giving Up on Print

Posted on Monday, August 30, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Editors weigh in on the idea of eliminating print editions.

By Denise Gable

The advantages and disadvantages to both print and web publications are vast. While the Web has the advantage of offering timely information, print is more portable and many prefer the "reading experience." Print magazines aim for one particular target audience and can be costly to produce. Online editions are cheap, but tend to be less stable. While some publications, such as PC Mag, have completely eliminated their print publications and concentrated solely on their online magazine, most are opting to offer both. This month, editors shared their strategy in dealing with the print vs. online dilemma.

Powergrid International, Pennwell Corporation
Frequency: Monthly
Description: Since its launch in 1996, Powergrid International magazine has been the electric utility authority on power delivery automation, control, and IT systems.

Kathleen Davis, senior editor, "While we have a number of high-tech boys and girls among our readership, a lot of engineers are 'old school' and like the paper. They enjoy getting the physical form of the magazine, and they tell us so in surveys. There's just something grounding and more personal about getting a magazine in the mail with your name on it."

Maximum PC and Mac|Life, Future US
Frequency: Monthly
Description: Maximum PC: Magazine featuring the latest technology news, computer mods, computer news and the latest computer and notebook reviews. Mac|Life: Up-to-date news, reviews, and information on the latest Apple products.

Jon Phillips, editorial director, "Print still plays a major role in the lives of passionate enthusiasts. As editors, the key thing to remember is that people who buy magazines are looking for an entertainment experience, meaning they receive entertainment from learning more about subjects that really interest them. They don't buy magazines for purchasing information. They buy magazines because the sheer act of reading about an interesting subject is entertainment in and of itself. Magazines won't survive if they attempt to solely satisfy information needs. The Web does this better."

ADVANCE for Occupational Therapy Practitioners, Merion Publications
Frequency: Biweekly
Description: Biweekly newsmagazine serving 60,100 occupational therapists nationwide. Dedicated to securing the future of occupational therapy by preserving the record of its unique contribution to allied health, educating others to understand that contribution, and helping therapists enhance their impact on the healthcare industry.

E.J. Brown, editor, "Though we are moving many things to the Web, we have no plans to abandon print. Our magazines are smaller, but they are intact. Most of the editors here agree that until electronic reading devices change, print will not 'go away.' People like to 'curl up' with magazines when and where they want to, to relax and read. Although electronic readers offer 'pages' that look like printed paper pages, they are still cumbersome and heavier than paper, of course. They do offer the capability of storing much reading material in a single place, which means you don't have to pack loads of reading material to take on a trip. But I believe that many advertisers still prefer print, and contributors would rather see their articles there."

Les Nouvelles Esthétiques & Spa (American Edition), Les Nouvelles Esthétiques, Inc.
Frequency: Monthly
Description: Dedicated to up-to-date knowledge in the world of spas, well being, and beauty. Encompasses all aspects of the spa industry: skin care, body care, makeup, spa therapies, and business management, with a high fashion feel to complement its contemporary nature.

Denise R. Fuller, editor-in-chief, "Due to the specialty of being a trade magazine for therapists, we have found that our readers value a print magazine over the online version. Estheticians, massage therapists, and spa owners feedback has been that they love sitting down with their favorite beverage and learning the newest trends and techniques that our magazine has to offer. We will not be discontinuing our print edition; it is a valuable commodity for our readers."

Denise Gable is managing editor of Editors Only.

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