Graydon Carter, a renowned magazine editor, recently published an editorial claiming that print isn’t dying and won’t die any time soon, citing as evidence the fact that people like long-form content and that the circulation of his magazine Vanity Fair is up both via subscription and at the newsstand.
Pardon me while I shift metaphors.
Print isn’t dying. It’s just being demoted severely in the communication business.
Carter’s circulation improvements are largely accomplished through severe discounting. For instance, I can get a subscription to Vanity Fair on Amazon for $15.00, marked down from the $59.40 full price. And I can get it for free in a lot of other venues.
Print used to be top-dog. Now it’s clearly a subordinate. It’s been given the window seat at the Japanese company.
So, you’re right, Mr. Carter, print isn’t dying. But it’s no longer the boss, and it’s working for others now, as your own essay notes when you say that longer articles score higher on your Web site. Do you know why? Because there are more search terms in longer articles, not because people necessarily like longer content.
Those long articles are working for Google now.
You can hold on to your death metaphors, Mr. Carter, and, when print falls short of the grave, claim it’s just as vibrant as it used to be. But I’d suggest that’s the kind of blinkered thinking that could get you demoted as well.