Partial to Print? You’re Not Alone.


For more than a decade, the hardscrabble publishing world has been in a protracted battle for the hearts and minds of readers. I still recall a 2009 publishing-industry awards show where nearly every speech maker gave some iteration of the same sad sentiment: “I hope we’re still here next year.”

With the in-your-pocket convenience, digital magazines are a boon to anyone seeking enlightenment from stolen moments throughout the day. And the wealth of free information gives them of plenty of options, too. But tolerance for reading from a screen—particularly after working on a screen all day—has its limits.

Ironically, the generation most closely aligned with selfie sticks may be so-over the digital inundation. Yes, the 20-somethings responsible for bringing back vinyl LP records to a Whole Foods store near you are embracing a retro reading style as well.

According to an article by Michael Brunt, CMO for The Economist, a thinking-person’s news magazine based in London, younger people, particularly students, are slightly more likely to opt for their print-only subscription. In an article penned (well, keyboarded) for the magazine industry’s trade mag Folio, he points to recent findings that Millennials are feeling overwhelmed by social media.

print2This love-hate relationship stems from the fact that, according to at least one metric, Millennials spend an estimated one-quarter of their waking hours on social media, absorbing—or combating—a crushing amount of communication.

What age group is most likely to consume their Economist digitally? Gen Xers between the ages of 35 and 44, according to Brunt. Not surprising, given this was the demographic that cut their teeth on the Sony Walkman, Pong, and “The Brick,” the first portable handheld phone, weighing a whopping 1.75 pounds. But generations on either side still prefer a more tactile reading experience.

In the Folio piece, Brunt contends, print is not going away.

That’s how we read the tea leaves, too.

While digital has proven to be a nice complement to our annual Elite Meetings print publication, it has not been a replacement. Print pieces offer an extra measure of enjoyment and staying power that digital can’t touch. Print remains the preferred delivery method among Elite Meetings readers. And it’s been that way for nearly ten years.

Photo credits: Shutterstock

Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell is the Editor of Elite Meetings magazine. During her 20-plus years in publishing, she’s written extensively on destinations and luxury hospitality experiences for leisure travelers and the meetings industry alike.

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