5 Reasons Print is Making a Comeback

And the comeback story of the year goes to: Print magazines!

Far from wallowing in the old “demise of print” story, print magazines are hot this year and on pace for almost twice as many launches this year than last, according to Herbert Lui in Contently.

Lui cites first quarter stats from Mediafinder and notes that, while closures are ahead of where they were this time last year, launches are way up, with 45 new titles so far.

“So how is this new wave of publishers making print work so well? Here are a few ways they’re innovating for the modern age,” Lui notes.

1. Publishers are focusing on key influences and loyal subcribers, not advertisers. 

“POLITICO is adopting this strategy: it’s monthly Capital New York Magazine doesn’t have a large number of subscribers—at least in the eyes of traditional circulation numbers. Instead, this monthly magazine is distributed to 8,000 specifically-selected key political influencers in New York City and Albany,” notes Lui, saying that this low circulation strategy works well for brand publishers.2

2. Print is the vinyl of publishing. 

“Similar to many people’s fondness for their first cars, or their old high school, the physical objects of print magazines elicit memories of earlier eras of our lives, where most of our information was consumed through paper and found using dewey [sic] decimal systems,” says Lui, although he wisely notes that this association may weaken with digital natives.

3. Print is part of a larger publishing ecosystem.

“After publishing an issue of their quarterly print, Chango republishes content online during the following few months. There’s a similar symbiotic relationship between the digital and print versions of POLITICO, Pando and Pitchfork; their print editions sell for premium prices and largely appeal to the publication’s most loyal readers—which is why it appeals to advertisers,” says Lui.

4. You can still track ROI.

As Lui notes, when a salesperson gets a call, and it’s clear the prospect came from a magazine, that note makes it into the CRM system. While it’s not perfect or high tech, it does help paint a good picture of the effectiveness of the advertising.

5. There’s room for growth.

With tighter circulation numbers, there’s room for growth as demand requires, notes Lui. Many new titles have seen exactly this happen, from Contagious Magazine to Porter.

And as Lui says, handing out gorgeous glossies on a sales call or at an event sure beats a stack of business cards.