Is print media dying?

August 9, 2008 at 9:28 pm Leave a comment

The stationery industry year is ruled by the catalogue. Each year catalogues are issued in January by wholesalers, dealers and contract stationers, containing upwards of 10,000 products and often nearly twice this amount.

These catalogues are vast, sometimes difficult to navigate and often not offering support to the end purchaser to help them make a decision. And to top it all, the environmental impact can be vast…and that’s for another post in the near future.

In a recent edition of the superb podcast ‘For Immediate Release’  with Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz, Ricardo from Costa Rica left a comment about the uncertain future for print media. I responded in Issue 367 saying that there was an element of nervousness about the potential death of the printed catalogue. But how long has it been since we were warned of ‘the paperless office’! 

But what about the on-line tools that are available? Are these able to replace the catalogue yet?

Amazon and other web-based retailers manage a vast inventory of products on-line. Many stationery resellers offer e-commerce solutions but most are supported by a paper-based catalogue. Few actually to have the confidence to fully embrace the benefits of the web:

  • easily updatable
  • capability to add new lines during the year
  • cost effective
  • no mailing costs
  • lower production costs
  • more environmentally responsible
  • accessible to more people in the office (who don’t have a physical copy of the catalogue)
  • easy ordering direct from the site
  • capability to easily see alternative or complementary products to ensure customers are not lost if a specific line is out of stock
  • …the list goes on.

So, in answer to the question ‘Is print media dying?’, I would say ‘not yet’…but the arguments for its long term viability as a communication tool in this market are getting weaker by the day.

I’d be interested to hear the views of others who work with print based communications…comments and feedback welcome!

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Entry filed under: Marketing, New Media, Office Products Market. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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