These days, people are at crossroads. With the continuous boom of technology, the print industry has suffered setbacks. Books, magazines, and newspapers, which were once scanned and flipped, are now being scrolled. Pictures, which were once artfully pasted and decorated in albums and scrapbooks, are now being viewed with a press of a button. Letters, which were once intricately penned and sealed, are almost nonexistent, replaced by neat and unending rows of a monotonous font. Some say that print media has been replaced by digital media.
The LaSallian presents a timely head-to-head account of Print Media (books, newspapers and magazines) versus their non-print counterparts (eBooks, tweets, online articles, websites and blogs).
Print is more intimate and personal.
Despite the popularity of web, mobile and other non-print medium, print remains to be a viable means of communication. As David Guerrero, BBDO Guerrero/Proximity Philippines chief creative officer, pointed out in “How print is making its mark on advertising”, “If you have got something important to say, say it in print.”
Print, as described in Jim Aitchison’s “Cutting Edge Advertising”, is the “only medium [you] can hold and touch.” When you grab a paper, scan through the pages and read the contents, you are making a choice to have an intimate conversation with the print. Renowned adman Neil French also emphasizes the value of privacy in print. “The relationship between your eye and the page is a personal one,” French states. “That is why people get stroppy when you read over their shoulders. It destroys the privacy of the moment.”
Print media has a wider reach.
Based on the Media Atlas Survey conducted by Synovate for the period August 2009 to July 2010, Filipinos belonging to the AB market have a combined newspaper and magazine reach of 62 percent and 65 percent respectively; the C market, on the other hand, has a 48 percent newspaper and 49 percent magazine reach. Comparing the given percentages with the country’s internet penetration rate, the same survey informs that only 36 out of 100 Filipinos have ready access to the internet. Clearly, the statistics show that traditional print is more accessible than its technological counterpart.
Print is an enduring medium.
It can be argued that the emphasis given to non-print media poses a threat to the significance of print in people’s lives today. This threat, however, was also present when television and radio were introduced. Still, print remained and endured. People still read materials in print because they find value in it. One benefit, as detailed in “The Enduring Power of Print Media”, is the efficiency of reading 30 percent faster when the material is read on print vis-à-vis when read on screen.
From its humble beginnings of cave painting to its eventual transformation into newspapers, magazines and books, print remains to be an integral part of human routine.
Print media is more affordable in the short run.
Even with the presence of electronic gadgets at every turn, many Filipinos still cannot afford to purchase gadgets. Take the LRT as an example. Most riders purchase a single journey card, because buying a more expensive stored value card would stretch their pockets. Admittedly, most Filipinos earn money and live on a day to day basis. What they earn is just enough for one day’s expenses. Sometimes, they even have to borrow money. There is usually no extra money to fall back on, much more to purchase gadgets.
According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, one out of four Filipinos live on a dollar a day. The clamor for cheaper goods is increasing.
The truth is, most Filipinos value quantity over quality. Some cannot foresee the bigger picture of things. As long as they have what they need for today, then they are set. Thus, print media is a viable solution for many Filipinos. Print media is budget-friendly, especially when there is an urgent need for it. Buying a newspaper daily would seem more cost-efficient than buying an eBook reader for the year. Through print, a reader can still get satisfaction without exceeding his budget.
Print media is usually more reliable and complete.
Whoever said that libraries may soon be replaced by tablets is wrong. No matter how many reading materials are converted into electronic versions, non-print media still cannot compete with the variety and completeness of the print media collections. Take one look at the University Library. It is highly unlikely that all the historical texts contained in the library have non-print versions. It would take a long time for the collection of non-print media to be consolidated. The strong collection in libraries all around the world is proof enough that the world cannot survive without print media.
Furthermore, online encyclopedias containing historical facts are constantly edited and updated. Sadly, not all of these sources are credible. Certain details about a story can easily be tweaked. Print media, on the other hand, is thoroughly proofread before it hits the printers.
After all, generations before us had no choice but to use printed materials, and these printed materials did not fail them. When all else, such as the Internet, fails, there really is nowhere to turn to except books.
Print media is nostalgic.
The smell of books is irreplaceable; it runs deeper than just the smell of books in a bookstore. Nostalgia is when you open an old book, and see a dedication written on it by your loved one. Nostalgia is when you remember you once had your book signed by the author. Nostalgia is when you flip through your book and see tear marks on its pages, from you reading the book as a child. Nostalgia cannot be recognized by any electronic gadget. After all, gadgets are emotionless. Tears can be wiped off, and dedications can be erased on that smooth, glassy surface.
Print media knows how to appreciate the value of memories. It recognizes the heart of human emotion.
Non-print is faster
News by definition is a report of the latest and most recent events. Take for example the much respected but not often read newspaper. The earliest it can report a story is one day ahead due to printing and delivery. Online news on the other hand, reports it as it happens. How many Lasallians continually tweet once classes are suspended? Need the latest news? Access articles online as soon as they are published. Real time updates are just one thing that makes non-print unique.
Non-print is more interactive
Another benefit of online news is it’s interactivity. Newspapers have the limit of being paper. Online news allows readers to see other related stories though links at the side. Toolbars allow readers to see news even when they are just simply browsing along the net. More importantly, online news allows readers to see the event happening through videos. Non-print, in some way, displays how we as people have evolved.
For those who look to the media to answer their more specialized interests, magazines have been around since the last century or two. Readers of this generation are more into the style of websites and blogs. As any Netizen can attest, absolutely anything can be found on the web. From the online counterpart of TIME and Vogue, to the most obscure websites full of cute animal pictures, there is a website for every specialized interests.
the media to answer their more specialized interests, magazines have been around since the last century or two. Readers of this generation are more into the style of websites and blogs. As any Netizen can attest, absolutely anything can be found on the web. From the online counterpart of TIME and Vogue, to the most obscure websites full of cute animal pictures, there is a website for every specialized interests.
Non-print is more versatile and can be specialized
Customization is the next key element of online subscriptions; people can completely customize their reading experience. Only interested in stories about sports? Getting rid of all other nuisances is just a click away. Want all the juicy gossip on a certain tabloid favorite? Just choose all tags relating to him or her. Being online allows a huge element of versatility and personalization that print magazines cannot offer.
Non-Print is more convenient
Most ebook readers (like the Kindle) can hold up to more than 200 books. This makes non-print much more convenient to carry around. The whole Harry Potter series can be in your bag at once, as opposed to carrying around all 7 books. Non-print (through ebook readers) is lighter, and therefore more portable. In addition, if an ebook reader gets damaged, one may have it repaired, as opposed to an actual book—if it gets wet, that may be the end of it. Ebook users can also share ebooks with their friends easily through email or through their usb’s, possibly making non-print more accessible and cost-efficient than print.
Non-Print is more environmentally friendly
In our slowly deteriorating world, eco-friendliness is an important part of life (or at least it should be). According to an article online: “Reading the physical version of the NY times for a year uses 7300 MJ of energy and 700kg of co2. Reading it on a Kindle uses 100MJ of energy and emits 10kg of co2.” The article also stated that (print) books are responsible for four times the greenhouse emission as e-readers. Indeed, non-print is more environmentally friendly.
Non-Print helps the handicapped more.
One thing people fail to recognize about non-print is how it helps the disabled. The blind can enjoy a story of a book by simply getting an audiobook. With audiobooks, the blind can still enjoy a story, and with ebooks, the deaf can enjoy stories as well. Non-print not only allows the blind to “read”, but also offers a customized experience. The experience of listening to an ebook is different from the experience of actually reading a book.