The End Of Print Magazine Publishing?

Magazines going digital

The Magazine publishing industry is increasingly being digitised; In this post I discuss the implications of the ‘digital age’ for print media publications along with new trends and opportunities within the publication industry.

As a marketeer, I have had a vast amount of experience from  communicating with editorial journalists on luxury design magazines. I have also have had some work experience within a publishing house in Cambridgeshire.

I think it is only fair to begin by debating whether a publication should be ‘going digital’?

When I spoke to my father on the subject he mentioned he would much rather read a physical magazine rather than read one online… a sentiment that I share, but then I asked how much time do you have to read a magazine… and how much time do you spend on the internet? He agreed that he doesn’t have much time to read a magazine but will spend half of the evening on the laptop, surfing the web. A sample of 2 does not generalise an industry, but it does make a statement. If you can find exciting original content on a search engine for free, why would you pay for a magazine down the shop?; on a secondary thought, look at the increase in online shopping?; the magazine aisle down the local grocery store is soon to be redundant.

So in B2B publications, professionals have time to read these magazines, right? A focused business professional going from meeting to meeting, barely has time for lunch – so I am doubtful they will find the time to read a magazine and by the time there at home, they want to take their mind off work and relax, but call me bias.

I think Print Publishing industries are going to struggle in the coming years, with a larger consumer base online selling adverts in a print publication is going to become increasingly difficult, with more businesses turning to online strategies and display advertising, but with the rise in technology we can also hope to see a reduction in printing costs which could aid the survival of print magazines for some time.

I also believe that the industry has chance to thrive in areas with little ‘connection’ and tourist locations such as airports and hotels

I do not want to rule out the ‘traditional’ methods of the publishing industry, and have came across some innovative strategies amongst print publications to increase revenues and compete with online mags.

The rise in  Advertorial

Yes… free editorial is becoming scarce from many publications, but it seems the editorial and sales teams are working more in sync? Personalised emails explaining how your product or service would be perfect for the feature but a small cost involved for the feature.

Allowing magazines to bring in higher revenues without compromising the quality of editorial content… after-all – who likes a magazine full of advert.

Online shops

Boosting large circulations, I see a lot of magazines setting up online shops and pop-up-events to sell the products and services featured in the magazine, and taking commission on the sales.

Go online and offline

Many magazines are uploading online copies of their magazines on sites such as Issuu and Joomag. Building a larger circulation from online distribution will give the magazine a chance to ask more for paid advertising pages…as well as selling premium spots on their websites.


To summarise; magazine publishers need to be adaptable to new technology and consumer habits. Failure to do so and they will struggle to compete with flexible publications.

If you have a contrasting view, or any thoughts on the publishing industry I would love to hear from you,



2 thoughts on “The End Of Print Magazine Publishing?”

  • I may be a bit outside of the norm with this one, but lately I’ve deliberately shifted back towards reading print magazines, especially in the morning before work. It’s a productivity hack.

    Online publications are carefully designed to suck you in and keep you clicking away. Any time I visit an interesting web publication, I end up with a browser full of open tabs. Sure, I can click away and start working anytime, but the spectre of unfinished tasks depletes my willpower and my motivation to stay on task.

    I’m trying to retrain myself to avoid those little dopamine hits that come from clicking link after link so that I can stay focused on my long term goals and meet the challenge of deep work and difficult tasks.

    Staying away from the web helps keep my kind quiet and focused so I can devote that energy to the things that matter.

    Doug Prater, July 17, 2015 at 10:45 pm
  • I do agree to some extent that this shall leave print publications to be somewhat of a niche.

    Having too many links can be distracting and I would advise against this for publishers as it leads to an illusion of impact when merely someones finger has slipped on a button.

    At the same it is a way of delivering content much quicker than print can ever do – and in my opinion from reading magazines I always see stuff and say I’m going to look that up – but then completely forget about it. When digital you can look things up straight away which I think shows huge benefit.

    Thank you for your comment Doug,

    Joe Tye, July 18, 2015 at 12:53 pm

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