Viva la print

There’s a lot of talk about print being dead. The book printing industry is still reeling from the shock of best selling author (and publisher) Seth Godin’s announcement that he’s turning to online self-publishing.

This US website features a magazine Grim Reaper who reports magazine closures with glee.

Here in Australia I may have been one of the few to bat an eyelid when the last print edition of 43yo Trading Post went on sale in October 2009 (I spent most of my country bumpkin teenage years poring over it for HJ Kingswood and LJ Torana spare parts… because chrome makes cars go faster).

But I surely can’t have been alone in silently farewelling my childhood (and wondering if I should buy the last issue as a “collectors item”) when ACP dumped 13yo Ralph magazine in June 2010.

[Is it just me, or does it seem dirtier to vote on bosoms and chests in online galleries rather than giggle with friends while flicking through the pages of a glossy magazine?]

Still, I can’t agree that print is dead. There may be less of them in circulation but I think the quality of books and magazines will just get better and better – especially after seeing some of the amazing stocks and printing techniques on show at the recent “Printing Industry Craftsmanship Awards 2010”. The clear winner of the night was Offset Alpine Printing – if you can get your hands on a copy of their capabilities book you’ll be thoroughly re-inspired about everything paperbased.

I do think that now is the time for print (magazines especially) to focus on content to avoid falling victim to the Grim Reaper. I picked up a copy of November 2010 Marie Claire at Sydney Airport a few weeks ago, hoping to read it by the pool in Port Douglas. Considering the $8+ price you can imagine my disappointment at “finishing” it in less than 35 minutes, even though I read every word. It felt like there were 3 articles and the rest was advertising.

In fact this was my favourite bit of the whole magazine:

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Yes, a Magnum ad. And I don’t even like chocolate, icecream or sweet things in general.

I’m really impressed by the creativity of this ad though, especially with all the little diecut shapes. If you work in advertising, I beg you to make me more amazing stuff like this.

Because, as I keep mentioning/complaining about – I can’t read my iPad at the beach.

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