October 09, 2018
By Kevin Hoover
The rise in popularity of digital media over the last several years has proven to be both a boon and a burden to the entertainment industry. As digital sales have increased, the number of trips that we as consumers have to make into stores has gone down. CD’s, video games, and movies have all given up their shiny disc ghost almost to the point of having very little footprint in brick-and-mortar shops anymore.
On the one hand, it’s great having a favorite song or movie available right when you want it, not to mention the accessibility of enjoying it on everything from your home TV to the phone in your pocket. But on the other, it’s a telling sign of a huge shift in the way we consume media, and one arena that’s been dealt the harshest of blows is that of print.
Print Isn’t Dead
Print media speaks to our desire to hold something physically. The feeling of walking into a book store and poring over shelf upon shelf
in shelf in search of your next great read. It’s leafing through the first few pages while being introduced to new setting and characters, all vying for attention while trying to earn their place in your home library. The experience is an immersive one that’s a sum of all parts involved, equating to something much more memorable than just grabbing a new book.
Physical is also more than an antiquated way for lit lovers to indulge their favorite pastime. It’s an entire industry that has been around ever since the invention of the printing press. Hundreds of thousands of men and women who scribe their ideas onto screens and in notebooks, publishing houses that in turn ink these ideas onto pages and bind them between fantastically decorated covers. It’s bookstores and newsstands that ensure patrons have the latest issues of their favorite magazines or the next entry in a serial thriller.
Print is a livelihood, an art style, and a link to the past, all in one.
Print Does What Digital Can’t
Millions of people own e-reader devices or have apps on their phones, tablets, and computers that allow instant access to books. And if you’re one of them, how often have you loaded your device with a few different stories, read through, and then never gave them a second thought after you’ve swiped past the last page?
It’s a common issue with all digital media. Our favorite movies, games, and books, the ones we fall in love with and prefer to spend the most time in the company of, get relegated to just another clickable link in a virtual library, often never to be enjoyed again.
Fill your library with title after virtual title, but once they’re out of site, they’re often out of mind. Besides, a bookcase brimming with tomes of literature really is something to behold, and that simply can’t be replicated with an app.
Print and Digital: Not-Such-Strange Bedfellows
There is absolutely nothing wrong with digital media. In fact, many indie publishers and authors only distribute their works this way. But many digital publications also have a physical counterpart, and while they may cost a few bucks more than the download, they’re still usually quite reasonably priced.
Just why exactly should you consider owning a physical version of something you may already own digitally?
· Phone screens get busted, e-readers go on the fritz, and laptops aren’t always convenient
· Getting a book wet or sandy while lounging on the beach or poolside isn’t a big deal. If it happens to your insanely expensive phone or laptop, a big deal is exactly what it is
· Lending a book to a friend is a lot easier when you actually have a book to give them
· Books don’t require batteries, so there’s no worry of your favorite stories inadvertently becoming cliffhangers because you forgot to plug ‘em in the night before
Support it Now or Lose it Forever
Ask anyone that was fortunate enough to be a kid throughout the 80’s and 90’s just how much they really prefer one-click ordering to actually spending a Friday evening picking out a game or movie from the local video store. Although we can appreciate the convenience, most of us would gladly trade in the instant gratification for another chance to wander those aisles and hope that whatever disc we wanted was lying in wait for us to pluck it off the shelf.
The fate that became of those institutions is not something that any of us would ever wish to go through again. Yet every time a physical purchase is eschewed in favor of digital one, bookstores suffer. And that holds true for major chains and independent retailers, as well as comic book shops and book exchange businesses.
Print’s not dead - not yet anyway. And keeping the buzzards at bay is the responsibility of all of us who love it so.
Kevin first realized how powerful words can be when, back in the 2nd grade, he was able to skip a night’s worth of homework in exchange for writing an essay on the environment. In the 30 years since, he’s written a fitness guide that was successfully funded via Kickstarter, created content for businesses both big and small, and dabbled in the world of fiction. If you’d like to say hi or pick his brain, visit his website, http://kfhwritingservices.com/, or shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.