Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Print is the Next Big Thing Part 1

I found this over at The Buzz Machine. It's a really interesting post, but this is one part that caught my eye.
When I was last in London, I was shocked to hear that the Telegraph makes a third of its profits from merchandise sales: wine, garden sheds, and hangers (honestly). The Wall Street Journal has started selling wine.
Here's what that has to do with Print.

The Internet is getting old. The "land grab and the laying the tracks" part is pretty much done. Now the job is moving from the designer to the engineers. The basic principles of GUI are pretty much out there. The action is now shifting to SEO and building server farms.

Print, on the other hand, is ready to reenter the ring. In the next year or two the cell phone is going to connect Print to the Internet. It's become pretty clear that the CPM model only is going to work for some.

Here's the point:

The web is the most efficient way to buy stuff ever invented in human history. Evidently, the Telegraph in London has discovered that people will willingly buy stuff. It's a sustainable revenue model that doesn't depend on access to information or advertising.

Print, unlike the web, is wonderful stuff. If designed and engineered and delivered correctly, people will willingly pay for Printed stuff.

Print is the Next Big Thing parts 2, 3, 4, . . . To come.


  1. Great post! Couldn't agree with you more. The web is the most efficient way to spend money ever. It creates a zero-effort sales process, which I'm not sure is a good thing. It's kind of like cars reducing the amount that we walk and making us lazy.

    I tend to equate print and web with bicycles and cars. They're both points on the evolutionary chain of transportation, but the car didn't wipe the bicycle out. The simple, person-powered bicycle has the same appeal as printed material, and not coincidentally, the bike and the printing press are considered two of the greatest inventions of all time.

    I live in Amsterdam. There are more bicycles than cars here, and it's a pretty amazing place. I think that print, too, is an integral part of any amazing place.


  2. http://www.nytstore.com/ProdDetail.aspx?prodId=29043

    See how the NY Times is repackaging their content in print.

  3. But here's the really dumb part. They are releasing the book on February 17 -"President's Day".
    It would serve them right if some VC bought them for the share price and divided up the parts...maybe that's what that Mexican gezilionaire has in mind.

    How many copies would they have sold from their website TODAY...vs how many copies will they sell on February 17? You know if it is starting to move through the Book Selling Channel, finished books are already on the truck.

    It's not atomic physics! I guess they are too busy figuring out the "FUTURE OF JOURNALISM."

  4. I totally agree; print has a place in the online world. The web-to-print bridges that exist today are cumbersome at best but that’s changing rapidly.

    Soon, you’ll be able to send printed communications as easily as sending an email or a text message from any Internet connected device. Further, it might even be free for the sender in cases where it's ad supported.

    When this happens – and it will – print/postal communications will be simply another way to communicate easily.

    However, unlike electronic communications, print carries a personal touch that can’t be matched digitally. And, judging by the explosive growth in the online social networks, more personal ways to communicate is exactly what people want.

  5. Yup.

    But Print sits around waiting for you to have time. No twitter, no "you've got mail", no video or music...just a little piece and quiet. Ready to be viewed, scanned or read on your time.

  6. Steve,
    Maybe you could do a short description of enthusem. I took a quick look at the site. It looks like it fits right into connecting Print to the Cloud.