Print vs. Digital: Can Both Formats Co-exist with Popular Magazines?

Technology | July 27, 2016

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Despite the growing popularity of digital resources, libraries and patrons recognize there’s room for both print and digital in a library’s collection development plan. Here are a few reasons why both are desirable, especially with popular magazines.

Go digital…

Digital resources are convenient, don’t require space in the library and usage is easier to track. With digital, there’s no hunting around for missing issues and libraries can offer access to more users at the same time, at a lower cost per use. Plus, libraries never have to worry about content not being current and digital offers patrons the ability to share articles, etc. through social media channels.

For patrons, digital magazines can be interactive, creating an entirely different experience. Often, videos and animated images are embedded within an article that can be played directly within the magazine.

But, don’t abandon print.

On the flip side, nothing can quite beat the feel of a glossy new magazine, nor can digital page-turners ever replace the sense of accomplishment gained from turning a physical page. Research from Two Sides, the global organization created to promote the responsible production, use and sustainability of print and paper, shows that many readers still prefer to read printed materials. Results of the U.S. and U.K. survey highlighted that 88 percent of respondents indicated that they understood, retained or used information better when they read print on paper compared to lower percentages (64 percent and less) when reading on electronic devices. When given a choice, 81 percent indicated that they prefer to read print on paper.

And keep in mind, not all materials are available in digital format, so going all digital limits access to many periodicals.

It is certain that the popularity of digital magazines will continue to grow, however digital may never fully replace print. To serve the library’s goal of offering diverse content to patrons while preserving their collections, a combination of print and digital is the right answer.

Learn more about how EBSCO can enhance your print collection through our digital magazine newsstand, Flipster below.

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