How Traditional Publications Can Become The Future Of Publishing
— The Shape Of Prints To Come —
Comment By Imran Anwar (3/29/2005)
People often ask me “Is there a future for traditional newspapers and magazines, and will digital devices not make these “traditional” publications obsolete?”
Well, the answer depends on how “traditional” publishers respond to the threats from digital devices – as their doom, or as new opportunities for them to expand the horizons of publishing.
What we call traditional publications may likely not be around in 25 years, much less in 50. However, I still see a bright future for magazines and newspapers, if we look at them from just two of several possible new angles I can imagine.
One, is a magazine or newspaper considered that only if it is printed on paper? Won’t it still be a “traditional” newspaper 50 years from now if I, or more likely my children, are sitting at the beach, flipping the pages of a silicon film digital ink based publication that can be refilled with tomorrow’s newspaper wirelessly every night or every few hours even?
Two, even if almost all of the content we seek becomes available in various colorful, handheld devices, traditional magazines can still make a niche for themselves…. by being non-traditional.
The digital devices most people envision replacing paper publications have their own limitations….. e.g. the need to have a one-size fits all device, regardless of whether I am reading the NY Times’ news or MacWorld’s reviews.
But, “traditional” publications can be printed in almost any size or shape, and, thanks to modern printing technology, on almost any material.
Thus, content design for these new shapes, textures, materials and sizes will allow publication designers huge opportunities of expression that no “all purpose” digital reader can match.
I do not see any reason why imaginative publishers will not create and design their publications in varying paper sizes (poster size or pocket) or with irregular shapes (triangle, continuous scroll, 100-fold single sheet) or having unique textures (cotton, holographic paper, parchment, aluminum, suede) or have different pages filled with aromas (for recipe pages for example) and who knows what else.
Their imagination is the limit. With so much creative freedom in “paper” publications, digital devices may then seem to be limited and limiting of the “reader experience”!
Imagine people wondering, in 2025 perhaps, if “traditional electronic reading devices” will be around in 20 years and if the “real” and “sensory” (i.e. including touch, feel, smell….) magazines and newspapers will replace them. Never say Never.
© 2005, Imran Anwar