By Martha Reed
I’ve been doing a lot of market research lately trying to gaze into the great crystal ball and foresee the future of publishing: what will the winning media be? E-Books? Digital Print on Demand? Trade paperbacks? Twitter? Everyone seems to be overlooking a key element: the quality of the writing. If the medium is the message and the message sells, does it really matter how the message is delivered? Of course, there are human jobs on the line but that’s happened with every technological advance since we harnessed fire.
I got a little depressed with all the doom and gloom and wailing over lost readership and then I read a hopeful article by Jim Fiscus for ESPN The Magazine. His point is so well made I’m going to reproduce it here: Even though he’s discussing writing for magazines, I think he makes the case for overall readership as well. Enjoy!
We surf the Internet.
We swim in magazines.
The Internet is exhilarating. Magazines are enveloping. The Internet grabs you. Magazines embrace you. The Internet is impulsive. Magazines are immersive. And both media are growing.
Barely noticed amidst the thunderous Internet clamor is the simple fact that magazine readership has risen over the past five years. Even in the age of the Internet, even among the groups one would assume are more singularly hooked on digital media, the appeal of magazines is growing.
Think of it this way: during the 12-year life of Google, magazine readership actually increased 11 percent.
What is proves, once again, is that a new medium doesn’t necessarily displace an existing one. Just as movies didn’t kill radio. Just at TV didn’t kill movies. An established medium can continue to flourish so long as it continues to offer a unique experience. (Italics, mine.) And, as reader loyalty and growth demonstrate, magazines do.
Which is why people aren’t giving up swimming, just because they also enjoy surfing.
- Jim Fiscus for ESPN The Magazine
Which made me wonder: what is the unique experience I offer my readers? With that thought in mind, I’m going back now to finish my manuscript!