Despite predictions that the digital age would force all print publications to close, many titles have managed to hold onto their subscribers, and some new publications have even hit the shelves.
In Australia, print publications went through a ‘slashing phase,’ with many staff members being let go. However, in 2023, sales experienced a 4.1% increase, and previously discontinued publications — including the teen publication Girlfriend — are making a nostalgic comeback as one-offs.
According to Julian Novitz, a lecturer at Swinburne University of Technology, there are several reasons for the survival of publications. He points to the “physical experience of reading,” where you hold something tangible in your hands, along with a growing need for digital detoxing. There’s also a ‘retro’ trend among Generation Z readers and their “analog preferences.”
Publications have become more niche, securing loyal audiences with quality content. Advertisers are returning to the publication fold as ads are not as easy to dismiss in print as they are online.
Professionals on LinkedIn are discussing this trend. Clare Patience, a former features editor, reflects on the harsh experience of publication closures and redundancies. She believes publications better showcase creatives’ expertise.
“I now reflect on the quality of creative thinking I was surrounded by, how the teams I worked with understood and valued their audiences, the rapid-fire delivery of fresh content, and the privilege of working with the most amazing stylists, photographers, artists, writers, editors, and designers — whose work hasn’t really been given justice to the same level on digital platforms,” she writes.
In other related news, sales of books in Australia have dipped, reveals new data.
What are your thoughts on the survival (or revival) of print publications? Do you think there is room for growth, or will digital offerings replace them completely in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments.