Newsweek decides to end print edition…poses the question: paper or digital?
Newsweek is an almost 80 year-old newsmagazine. As recently as 2007 it had a 3.2 million weekly circulation (including paid subscriptions and newsstand purchases). Since then sales have plummeted to an average of 1.5 million weekly sales. The magazine changed editors a couple years ago. Tina Brown replaced Jon Meacham. The newsmagazine merged with the fledgling online site The Daily Beast. Brown was unable to boost sales to pre-2007 levels; thus the hard decision to end print editions of the magazine was announced on Thursday. The December 31st issue will be the last print edition of Newsweek.
Now as somehow who has read Newsweek for about 11 years (I got a paid subscription around the time I ended elementary school and started high school) I was certainly saddened by the breaking news. As an avid reader I admit I like to have my reading material in my hands. I like holding the book or magazine. Now that’s not to say I don’t read online material. I do. But there is something about buying a book or magazine and physically holding it that only a passionate reader can properly understand.
I reluctantly had to embrace the digital future when I decided to purchase a Kindle Fire last fall. I decided I’d purchase some material via the Kindle Market and some books in hardcover/paperback. As pleased as I am with my purchase (well worth the money) it doesn’t replace the “aura” of a physical book. As much as I refuse to accept it I know that this historic decision will only be the first of many other publications doing the same. In an increasingly, technologically-based society this will inevitably be the future.
It’s already weird to me how young kids have embraced the latest technology. I see kids playing on their parents’ iPhones and iPads. I sometimes wonder how in a few generations physical reading material might certainly be foreign to our kids. How iPads, Surface tablets, Kindles, and others will be the format in which children read anything. I’m not so sure I’m okay with this sad reality.
So I ask you: digital or paper?
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate