The View From the Tree: 34 Tricks Printed Magazines Can Do That Apps Can’t
• "Like a version": Print magazines routinely mix a variety of regional and demographic offerings to create hundreds or even thousands of versions, such as affluent women in the Illinois portion of the St. Louis area or soybean farmers in southwest Pennsylvania whose subscription is about to expire. In theory, you can do that with electronic versions, but for the most part the software, procedures or workflows—and sometimes the customer data—is sufficiently lacking to make such versioning practical or profitable.
• Getting it for free: Some of you are reading this article in a copy you picked up at the Publishing Business Conference. Has anyone at the show handed you an app? Free print copies are an effective means of reaching targeted audiences at airports, hair salons, car-repair shops, hotels, hospital waiting rooms, and even in people's homes.
• Expose yourself: The U.S. newsstand system is in serious trouble, but it's still the most powerful way of getting a consumer publication in front of potential readers. Having a strong product on the newsstand even boosts e-edition sales and Web traffic. It's no coincidence that the app world has borrowed the term "newsstand" as a place to show off a selection of publications.
• Size matters: Digital screens can't do justice to a full-page spread. But small can also be beautiful: Digest-sized booklets, tipped-in product samples, half-page inserts, and narrow pages are real stand-outs in print.
• Keepin' it real: Many thanks to Deborah Corn of PrintMediaCentr.com, who stirred up a helpful discussion about magazines among fellow print geeks at the Print Production Professionals LinkedIn group she manages. Deborah chipped in with this cutting-edge commentary: "With Print as your starting base, you can enhance that content with Augmented Reality or Documobi—and make that experience richer. Unless you have two tablets or two mobile phones, you can't do that with digital alone." Don't ask this old print dinosaur to explain: I can't move on to Augmented Reality until I learn to handle regular Reality (which my stoner friend says is just a crutch for people who can't handle drugs). PE