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Ensuring print’s future

Print is proving much more resilient than many once expected, but publishers and printers need to work together to ensure its long term future.

By James Evelegh

Ensuring print’s future
Roularta Printing’s Bart Declercq (on the left) and Steven Renders.

I’ve lost track of the number of times over the last twenty years that the last rites for print have been prematurely read.

Projected dates for when the last print newspaper or magazine would roll off the presses have come and gone.

Print remains a vital component of many publishers’ strategies, for a number of reasons:

  • print works particularly well as a brand flagship, around which publishers can develop a portfolio of spin-off products and revenues
  • it provides a reading experience that is different from digital and preferred by many
  • it still makes money…

Yet, there is no denying that digital is in long-term growth and, err…, print isn’t.

Which makes it all the more important that print is nurtured and that publishers and printers do everything in their power to show the medium at its best.

Two things the print sector can least afford are:

  • lapses in quality
  • doubts over sustainability

These were two of the messages I took away when Martin Maynard and I jumped on a Eurostar this week to visit Roularta Printing to interview General Manager Steven Renders and Export Sales Director Bart Declercq for a (sponsored) interview, which will appear in the November / December issue of InPublishing magazine.

The print product, when it reaches the hands of the reader (and advertiser!) must meet the highest standards. Everything should work in harmony – the touch and feel of the paper and its binding, the impact of the cover, the design of the page, the clarity and sharpness of the imagery and text, and the timeliness of its delivery – did it arrive when expected?

Falling short in any of these areas will damage print’s standing.

And, in an age when the very future of the planet is in doubt, the print sector must do everything possible to demonstrate its commitment to a sustainable future.

Don’t be tempted to greenwash; instead, work with your printer to find out what your print product’s actual carbon footprint is, break the production and distribution process down into its constituent parts and, together with your printer, start to take the substantive steps needed to reduce your emissions.

Quality and sustainability are the twin pillars that will ensure print’s long term future.

You can catch James Evelegh’s regular column in the InPubWeekly newsletter, which you can register to receive here.