Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What Say You? Should Print Be Dead


I love my print. In my basement lie boxes of Premiere, Entertainment Weekly and Hotdog Magazines. I'm a collector. A pack rat if you will.

I can read a magazine on the can, or in an airplane. I can read one in a box. With a fox. I can go back after five years and see if a well-reviewed movie still holds up. I can look back at past trends. How directors have changed. Look at how hot Meg Ryan used to be before her plastic surgery. All that stuff.

But I love my movie blogs, too. They are immediate and much more interesting in what they say. I don't have to wait for a special edition to come out to cover my favorite subjects. They are probably being written on-line right now and all I have to do is find them. And I can comment on what I read. Debate it. Or praise it.

The truth is, print is dying a slow death. The announcement of Premiere is just the beginning, I fear. So should it die? Should it evolve? Will we all be lost if our magazines go away, or be better for it? Or is all this just crazy talk.

What Say You?

16 comments:

Moviezzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pacheco said...

Remember the Calvin & Hobbes magazine that Calvin used to read -- about bubblegum? Chewing, I think it was? I guess if that comic was done today, it'd be a website, but it wouldn't be as funny.

I don't think print should die, but I don't help, because I rarely read physical articles. Only if we come up with a better, portable solution do I think it should go by the wayside. I mean, I like reading on my laptop while on the John (too much info, I know), but it's a little burdensome to bust it out for a quick, light read.

If things like the iPhone's web capabilities (browsing, zooming, etc) make it more plausible, I'm all for digital. But I don't think we're there yet.

Damian said...

See now, this is why I like you, Piper, because I also have piles of old Premiere and Entertainment Weekly magazines in my apartment.

I don't think that print, as Egon said in Ghostbusters, "is dead," nor do I think is it "dying." I just think that it's waning, perhaps even shifting in popularity or identity in the same way that other mediums of information/artistic expression have changed whenever a new medium has appeared on the scene: painting in the wake of photography, theatre in the wake of movies, movies in the wake of television, etc. None of these mediums have completely disappeared just as I think print will never completely disappear. The written word is practically the oldest form of communication in existence (besides speaking and gesturing obviously) and I doubt it will ever go away.

Plus, as James Monanco says in his book How to read a Film, there's a genuine tactile quality to literature that still appeals to people. You can't get away from the "thingness" of a book.

garrett said...

I enjoy magazines. When I pull them out of the mail i'm overjoyed. I will read them from cover to cover.

I agree, theres not always topics you have in mind but its a great way to learn about new things, stories, people even though its often times useless information. Having any topic you want instantly is great but its fun to discover new things by accident. If its up to me, i think print should stay.

Lets not forget about books either :), i would never read a book off my laptop.

Damian said...

In my last comment I forgot to mention that although I am still hopeful for the future of the written word, I am nonetheless saddened by the decision to discontinue printing Premiere magazine (except online) because that was the publication that more or less ignited my intense interest in movies when I was a young lad. Thanks for the memories, Premiere! You will be missed. :(

* (asterisk) said...

Books and magazines are great. I say the Web and the bookstores/newsstands can live together in perfect harmony!

Piper said...

Moviezzz,

Hotdog is a British Film Mag like Empire.

Pacheco,

I too read my computer on the can. It's unsavory, but what the hell. I set my computer on a stack of magazines that I used to read. Is there some kind of sick message there?

I do think that magazines need to work on more of an immediacy. I get my EW and it's already 2 weeks late. I've already read all the stuff in there through on-line blogs. And I will say that the posts I read on-line are a lot more interesting then what I read in a magazine. Except my EW 100 Best DVDs special edition. It came out about four years ago and I still tote that thing everywhere.

pacheco said...

Piper,

You hit the mark. The immediacy is what's affecting print magazines, in my opinion. I see cover stories for a brand new magazine, and I skim through, and I think, "I knew all of this already."

Since it's difficult to keep up with news, I think the focus might start to shift to opinion pieces instead. But I also agree with the others who believe that digital and print can and probably will live in harmony.

It's funny, I think this is the exact topic that we're discussing in my Media Literacy class today.

Sheamus the... said...

print will never die.

Shane said...

the magazine industry is a heard in need of thinning. those that can learn to deliver valuable and necessary content will be able to thrive because their pages will hold information that actually has more than a 1 week - 1 month half-life.

print may some day die, but that day is a long ways off.

Piper said...

Shane,

You're right. Too many magazines out there right now.

Pacheco,

You're right. I think opinion pieces might become more popular.

And the idea of a weekly magazine may go away. The purpose of a weekly magazine is to stay timely. But it's an impossible concept nowadays.

Anonymous said...

I just ate a roast beef sandwich.

Ray said...

There is something substantial about having a magazine. I have fond memories of keeping Starlog and Fantastic Films mags from years ago.

However, times are a-changin'. Let's save some trees.

Piper said...

Ray,

Great point. Environmentally it makes sense for there to be a shift.

Damian said...

I found the quote I was referring to, about the tactile appeal of the printed word, from James Monanco's book How to read a Film:

"The more time I spend with computers, the more I appreciate the ingenius device that is the book. Like the inclined plane or the wheel, the book is a simple machine of rugged versatility... But in the end, however, it is not the technical superiority of print on bound pages that will provide the lasting value of the book but rather its phyical reality. It is only a matter of time before digital technology provies the resolution and digital power of print. What it can never provide is the 'thingness' of a book. In an increasingly virtual and abstract world, these physical objects, with unique weight, feel and smell, will be increasingly prized."

Piper said...

Damian,

Great quote and very true.