Physical media is sort of a weird thing in 2017, a lot of us think we’re at a point where print media is over, but yet there are others who still believe strongly in the importance of print media. Who can blame them? Social media is still a very fresh market for a lot of companies, and only now are those companies beginning to have a constant online presence, i.e. their websites. But companies are still using print media, people are still buying magazines at the cash register, and newspapers are still spreading their physical version of their news. And physical books aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. So what gives? Why is it constantly said that print media is dying?
Actually, according to an article on Publishers Weekly from January, written by Jonathan Segura, physical book sales have actually been on the rise for the last few years. In fact, in 2016, book sales rose 3.3% compared to 2015, which is huge if print media is dying. However, according to a PEW research, newspaper sales have been steadily decreasing since 2010. Having gone down about 4% in sales since 2014, this decline seems to agree with the dying of print media.
But how come Newspaper sales are going down but buying books is going up? I think it’s easy to come to a conclusion about this interesting observation. Newspapers have slowly been switching to online dispersion since around 2010, when sales began to really go down. People are constantly online, they consume most of their information from online sources, newspapers decided they could capitalize the online market. For example, I don’t buy the New York Times, but I do go onto their website and follow their social media profiles to learn the news. In fact, I mainly do so because I want to read unbiased world-news. My local news paper is very conservative and I have a hard time reading some of their articles dealing with political issues, local issues, or just worldly issues as well. And I think that is what is important about this current downward trend of print media, that people are able to now get the kind of news/media they want, whenever they want, all online.
So in other words, some forms of print media are dying, and others are rising. We should probably return to the question in a few years and see where we are at then.
Publishers Weekly: Print Book Sales Rose Again in 2016: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/72450-print-book-sales-rose-again-in-2016.html
Pew Research Center: Newspapers: Fact Sheet: http://www.journalism.org/2016/06/15/newspapers-fact-sheet/
Photo is from the PEW article.