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Print vs. Digital, what’s really in vogue?

Last week Stephen Quinn, publisher of fashion Bible Vogue, revealed the results of study that asked 2,500 Vogue readers whether they preferred their traditional magazine format, or digital content via or the Vogue iPad app.

An overwhelming 87 per cent of readers said that they preferred the traditional format, and I can see why. There’s something unbelievably indulgent about the tangible quality of a print magazine, and flicking through the beautifully crafted pages of Vogue is a monthly highlight. Whether you rip out your favourite looks for fashion inspiration or pile up your entire year’s subscription because they’re just too beautiful to recycle, the aspirational nature of a high-end glossy magazine can’t be denied.

Vogue online print magazine digital

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That being said, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the media is undergoing a digital revolution. Every magazine worth its salt has a well-run website, full of both exclusive content and online versions of print articles, and with tablet devices and smartphones becoming the norm it’s now possible to read your daily paper or favourite magazine in a purely digital format.

And of course it doesn’t stop there; as this article demonstrates, with the ever-increasing number of blogs, everyone can become a writer and upload their own editorial content directly onto the web.

Quinn comments, “You go into media buying companies now and they say ‘Print’s Dead, you’re a dinosaur Stephen’”.

So are they right? Is print already dead, or is it dying? With Vogue making £25m a year in advertising revenues they certainly don’t think so. Yet, in a world where news breaks via Twitter before it’s even reached the newsdesks, where fast fashion is available in abundance and where technology and the internet rule our daily lives, traditional print media is certainly facing a struggle to keep up.

The key is not to pretend that this revolution isn’t happening, but to embrace it and accept that we live in a world where Kindles could replace books, iPad apps could replace magazines and the internet could replace the daily newspaper.

This doesn’t mean however that we won’t have access to the latest best-selling novel, reports on the latest trends or the daily news. The media will always be around, just perhaps not in the traditional way we are currently accustomed to. Publications therefore need to roll with the times and keep up with what their readers want, as Vogue demonstrates, or risk falling by the wayside. After all, there’s something nostalgic about an old record player, but would your really swap it for your Ipod?!
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  1. Have to say I agree – I love having a good stack of magazines. Plus iPad’s are no good for sunshine reading – a stack of magazines for holiday is essential!

  2. I think the print world is ‘dying’ (in favour of the digital approach for consuming media), however I believe it will truly never be extinct…I think that the majority of people (myself included!) spend far too long looking at screens, be it computer screen, BlackBerry or iPhone, therefore flicking through something tangible is a welcome and enjoyable break. Great post.

  3. i completely agree with Lizzie that magazines like Vogue and Elle, to this day, are so great to buy in their traditional format. However nowadays i see them personally more as collectors items and get all my fashion news and advice daily from the magazines websites. There will always be something so satisfying about sitting down reading the latest copy of Vogue… the same cannot be said for staring at your Ipad or phone screen.

  4. It’s great that these publications are keeping up with the times and the new digital era but I have to agree that there is nothing more satisfying than spending a Sunday afternoon flicking through the glossy pages of the latest printed edition of a magazine.

    As a monthly reader of ELLE and Cosmo the start of the month is an exciting time as the new issues hit the newsstands. I have to say I don’t think I’d have the same excitement downloading it onto an iPad!

  5. Although I increasingly consume content digitally, I still love snuggling up with a magazine and reading it cover to cover. Sunday’s wouldn’t be the same without newspapers either! Just not the same viewing it on a computer or mobile phone.

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