Words saviour of print in battle of the e-zines

By Darryl Danielli, Wednesday 04 April 2007

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The rise of the e-zine (electronic magazine to the uninitiated) is perceived as the latest threat to the already battered and bruised magazine sector.

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PrintWeek editor Darryl Danielli

The benefits for the publisher are obvious – faster and cheaper development and production. But the question is, do these launches really ring the death knell for print?

For many of us, this is all very reminiscent of the furore surrounding the internet in the late 1990s. Back then, technology soothsayers were predicting the paperless office and the death of magazines and newspapers at the digitised hands of the web. Thankfully, none of these came to pass.

The central fear for magazine printers, this time around, is that the latest (and future) generation of magazine readers is much more accustomed to getting their information from the internet that its predecessors were.

And no one seems to know whether they will mature into the magazine and newspaper readers of tomorrow – or if they will continue to be online devotees.

This issue was flagged up at the recent Pira web offset conference, where the consensus seemed to be a ‘wait and see’ approach.

Personally, there is still a limit to how much information I’m comfortable reading online, before I feel the need to hit Ctrl+P. But then, as much as its pains me to admit it, I’m a little long in the tooth to consider myself part of the internet generation.

However, the latest e-zine launches seem to bear out my experience, with no page containing more than 100 words, instead focusing on what the web does best: images and videos, rather than words.

So it seems, for now at least, that words are set to be the saviour of the printed media. And long may that continue.

Darryl Danielli is editor of PrintWeek.

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