In the 16 years we’ve been publishing Lake Mary Life, so much has changed, but one thing has remained entertainingly the same: people have been predicting the death of print magazines the whole time! But as we send our 100th edition to print, we’re noticing something interesting... some of the trendiest, most media-savvy companies in the world are embracing print magazines again or for the very first time.
In the 16 years we’ve been publishing Lake Mary Life, so much has changed, but one thing has remained entertainingly the same: people have been predicting the death of print magazines the whole time! But as we send our 100th edition to print, we’re noticing something interesting... some of the trendiest, most media-savvy companies in the world are embracing print magazines again or for the very first time. You could say... magazines are cool again!
Perhaps the best example of this trend is the new Airbnb Magazine. Airbnb is a company that defines the digital, app-enabled age, and yet it recently decided to put out a sophisticated print publication aimed at the discerning travelers who might use Airbnb to book their next exotic vacation.
The first edition hit newsstands in 2017, and a recent issue featured such articles as the art of traveling on your own, beautiful barns around the world, and the best suckling pig in Portugal.
The crisp, uncluttered layout offers sumptuous photographs, graphics, and illustrations whose impact would be diminished on a phone or tablet.
Airbnb Magazine is not an isolated success story.
AARP The Magazine, with an enormous audience of baby boomers, reports that it is the country’s largest magazine by circulation, with nearly 38 million readers.
To explain the publication’s lasting success, AARP cites a nonprofit study that says 70 percent of Americans prefer to read content on paper rather than online.
“Today’s media climate is reminiscent of when television was going to put an end to radio,” the organization says. “The internet may seem poised to conquer print, but that is far from happening.”
Where print magazines prosper most is in special-interest markets.
Airbnb Magazine is aimed at travelers. AARP The Magazine targets a growing number of retirees who are still very much active, and whose healthy bank accounts are a draw for advertisers. And Lake Mary Life, of course, celebrates you and your neighbors right here in our community.
Other niche markets where print is doing well include men’s lifestyle, literature, camping, and photography, according to industry analysts. Magazines that cater to these subjects have actually seen boosts in circulation over the past decade, not declines.
And then there are the popular celebrity-branded magazines such as O, The Oprah Magazine, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.
The Magnolia Journal, featuring DIY home renovators Chip and Joanna Gaines, is only 12 issues old and is already ubiquitous in supermarkets and drugstores.
According to a study by The Association of Magazine Media, print magazines are still valued because people are more likely to retain the information they read in print. Magazines trigger sensory involvement and promote more focus and fewer distractions, the organization affirms. Secondly, there is the issue of credibility – which is less of a given than ever with digital content today. The longer lead-times of print publishing – which some consider a weakness – allows time for proper research, editing, and fact-checking. And, print magazines have a retro appeal, even for younger readers. Some in the publishing world find print magazines analogous to vinyl records. Once relegated to garage sales and thrift shops, record albums have come back with a vengeance, and print magazines are riding the retro wave, too.
Finally, the persistence of print is not an either/or proposition. Obviously the digital era is here to stay, but savvy content creators are using printed magazines to drive consumers to their online sites, and vice versa.
A white paper called The Future of Media, produced by a paper producer and media trade organization, argues that successful magazine publishers use a range of channels to reach their audience. Print is just one of them.
Want the very latest news from Washington? By all means, jump online (fair warning: you won’t like what you find). Instead, if you’d rather catch up with the amazing men, women, and kids who live down the street or across town, then relax and curl up with your copy of Lake Mary Life.
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