Think about what you put in print, before you print it

There’s something special about print – newspapers, books, and especially magazines. They don’t have the magic or allure of radio for me (or theater of the mind), but the permanence of ink on paper has a definite place in my circle of media consumption. No doubt, the world is changing. Paper and ink are expensive and the Internet is continuously causing a seismic shift in how we get and give information. Everyone can write and publish a blog. Not everyone can write and publish a novel … or maybe they can.
Print works, and many people strive for it’s permanence. Just remember that when you print something, it’s out there forever. It might not go viral like that web video, or get stuck in your head like that great (or obnoxious) song you heard just before you got out of your car, but I can’t think of another medium that can sit on a coffee table for months like a magazine and still command attention just because it’s there.
In that spirit, I wanted to share one amusing item and one clever item I found in print recently, just for fun.
The amusing one:
In the February 2009 issue of GRID, a free magazine put out in the Philadelphia area that covers sustainable practices, their subscription promotion on Page 3 says: “Want to support your favorite local publication (us)? A one-year (12 issue) subscription to GRID is only $19.95. That’s less than a twenty dollar bottle of wine! Order online…” Take a moment and think about that.
The clever one:
In the February 2009 issue of Wired, one of my favorite magazines, a reader submits a Rant (found on page 20) to complain about the number of ads appearing in the magazine and draws a comparison to TV: “Television is 33 percent advertising (20 minutes out of 60). Wired is 56 percent advertising (130 pages out of 235). FWIW.”
And the response is dead on: “We know that some readers don’t like having to flip through advertisements to get to our stories. Those ads pay the bills and salaries, however, so we’re unlikely to turn them away. We take slight issue with your metrics, though. Say you don’t have TiVo and you really spend 33 percent of your tube time learning that there’s a sale on at Penney’s. If you figure that it takes, oh, 5 minutes to read a full page of text and 5 seconds to scan the adjacent ad, that’s about 9 hours of reading time for about 11 minutes of ad perusal. What’s that ratio, about 2 percent? Seems pretty good to us. P.S.: Advertisers, please do not read this note.” Perfect.
To close, and since everyone that reads Mode of Being regularly knows I view radio in a very favorable light, I’ll finish this entry on print with this notation: Radio is about 11 minutes of advertising per hour. And you can play on your computer, write a blog (or a novel), talk to or text your friends, post a status update to Facebook, and even drive while you listen. As good as print and televsion are, it’s hard to do most of those things at the same time. And both the value and ROI for advertisers continues to be superior. So please don’t read my blog while driving. Unless you’re on the Schuylkill.