If you’ve watched any of the Star Wars/Disney+ series The Mandalorian, you’ve no doubt become familiar with the catchphrase “This is the Way,” often uttered by the main character and others who come from his home planet.
In the series, the Mandalorians are the last of a dying breed, nearly wiped out by the evil Empire. They struggle to maintain their identity by keeping to the old ways, despite the fact that many of those ways seem archaic.
As the publisher of magazines that are printed and mailed to subscribers, sometimes I feel like a Mandalorian—struggling to maintain the old ways in times of overwhelming change.
People have been claiming that “Print is Dead” since long before I came into this business. That phrase has been part of the public lexicon since before the Internet became widely used. In fact, it was uttered quite famously by the character Egon Spengler, played by the late Harold Ramis, in the movie Ghostbusters, released way back in 1984. Janine, the secretary, is sitting at her desk reading a magazine and comments on how much she likes to read. Egon responds, completely deadpan, “Print is dead.” But Egon had it wrong back then, and he’d still be wrong today.
Sure, there’s been a significant shift toward digital publishing. And make no mistake, we’ve embraced that change. We offer a wide variety of digital content—including the complete magazine, newsletters, videos, webinars, social media and so on. We strive to deliver quality content no matter the format. There are, after all, a lot of things you just can’t do in print. Digital media, for example, are fantastic for engaging with people. But print, on the other hand, is fantastic for engaging with the content. With print, there’s less distraction, better concentration and a physical and visual experience that’s impossible with digital. A magazine in your hands provides a sense of quality, permanence and trustworthiness that you don’t get when you’re scrolling along on your phone.
Print is very much alive.
And it’s not just me being some old dinosaur clinging to the old ways. You don’t have to take my word for it. In fact, you can take your own. When you subscribe to the magazine, you, the readers have the option of choosing how you receive the magazine: print, digital or both. Our most recent data shows that two-thirds of you still request the printed version, and we’re happy to keep delivering it.
So keep picking up your printed copy. Spend some undistracted time with it. Read the in-depth, comprehensive technical articles and think about their implications. Flip through the pages and notice the advertising. We’re going to keep doing our best to make it the rich and rewarding experience you expect.