Yesterday I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, as you do, when I came across an intriguing headline: A New Era for COMPANY. So far, so ok. I figured they were developing their app or something. Then came the opening line: “It’s very sad but also exciting news for Company – the print magazine will no longer be on sale, but Company.co.uk will continue to be here for you…”
I was so disappointed. Print is not dead! Company has done a great job at keeping up with digital trends in the print mag and I have loved the features on bloggers and such. I’m sad to see it go as I always read print mags on the commute and favour them over digital versions. I’ve even made a point of featuring blog posts on my favourite mags (you can read about my Company highlights here).
So why is the print version about to cease? Well, the article on their website doesn’t actually say. Just that the website will continue. There’s still no word on what this means for subscribers either, so I’ll be waiting to see if that means I’ll get a refund. But it’s not about that. I loved the print issue because I liked to hold something in my hands. I liked the paper quality – something I won’t get from a website. And I liked the format and designs – again, something you won’t get on the website. I like just sitting and reading through the magazine, cover to cover. I’m lazy. I don’t like having to click onto a website and browse through the various new articles. I like turning the page to discover the latest column from Jameela Jamil. I love the Book Club. I swoon over the ‘Love My Life’ feature and have pondered over the countless other in-depth features over the last few years. Online articles tend to be shorter to allow for readers’ passing interests and crap attention span, so will they just be sticking to the usual fashion/beauty/celebs topics?
If Company is stopping print productions, what does that mean for the other mags we know and love? I currently subscribe to Glamour, Cosmo, Little White Lies and The Simple Things, as well as Blogosphere – proof with just one title that digital and print can co-exist. Now that each magazine has to have a website and various social media channels to maintain a 24-hour news cycle and constant interaction with its readers, is it just a matter of time before they decide to cut costs and ditch the print version?
A 2012 Guardian article (Who says print is dead?) claimed that 88% of consumers would rather read a print magazine than their digital counterpart. And brands such as ASOS and Superdrug are still producing print mags for their loyal customers. This year, in fact, The Guardian dedicated a feature to The beautiful magazines setting out to prove print isn’t dead. Little White Lies, for one, is the most beautiful film mag out there. And Vanity Fair always balances stunning photography with high-end journalism. And what about the National Geographic? Where would we be without these great publications?
According to another Guardian article (Print is not the future, but it’s not that past either), circulation figures have been falling since 2007, however, “There is still a lot of money to made from the sale of magazines: £2bn worth are purchased every year, 2.6m of them are sold in the UK every day. They’re read by 87% of the British population.” So it can’t be all bad, right?
For years, critics have been claiming that for magazines to stay in circulation, they need to embrace digital whilst also offering readers something different with their print version. After all, if you have a monthly magazine, there’s no point rehashing weeks’ old content. I don’t know about you but it’s the features and columns that keep me coming back for more. The people and the personalities, as well as the photography and designs.
This news also comes just days after my favourite website, Domestic Sluttery, announced that they will no longer be uploading new posts. So if incredible websites are starting to die out, where does this leave all of the amazing content?
I, for one, don’t plan on investing in a tablet or e-reader anytime soon. I have never read a digital version of one of my favourite mags and I don’t regularly check their websites. I subscribe to their newsletter but rarely read them and only follow links they share via social media when something particularly interests. But that’s just me. Do you still read print mags? Do you prefer to view a digital version on the move? What do you think the future holds for print journalism?
If you want to discover more great print mags, I highly recommend subscribing to Stack. They’ll send you a different indie mag every month for £5.50 an issue. Past publications have included the likes of Oh Comely, Anorak and The Wire. It also makes a great gift for design/word/print junkies.