Why the digital gurus are wrong and print is NOT dead!

Estimated read time: 4 minutes



I love digital storytelling. More so than many of the corresponding offline and print counterparts to digital channels like blogs, social media and news notifications.

But, repeat after me: Print is not dead! Here’s an inventory of exhibits:

  • My mailbox. The one outside my house. If direct mail didn’t work at all, how come so many do it?
  • Books. So many books are written that the average author just sells a few. But people still read books.
  • Newspapers still get printed. That’s still where much of  the revenue comes from. And if I had a dollar for every time somebody told me they just like to hold the printed paper on Sundays, I could maybe even buy and own my own paper. Ha.
  • Printed thank you cards. Not those machine generated ones, but real ones. People appreciate them.
  • Brochures still exist.
  • Printed exhibits on walls, at history centers, in offices, etc.

And I’m very much digitally leaning nowadays.

  • I read the New York Times – a traditional print product – multiple times a day via Twitter notifications. I’m paying for a digital subscription, mostly because I want the news now and not tomorrow.
  • Social media all the time.


  • Email isn’t dead, either, and has worked well for me.
  • Digital publishing allows you to fix typos. Printed things are printed and you have to wait for another print run, hope nobody sees it or be perfect.
  • Digital publishing, in theory, is cheaper than print publication. But I have to say that my digital costs in the last two years were more than what I paid during the publication of my two books during that same time period.

My second book reminded me that print isn’t dead. Because if it were dead, why would it be so exciting getting a proof in the mail? Not even the first official book. Just the proof. It was so exciting.

If I was a hugger, I would have hugged it. LOL. Instead, I enjoyed the moment and posted a picture to Instagram.

I even showed off the proof to everyone who would listen.

“Oh cool. Can I have a copy of that, Christoph?”

“No. That’s just a proof. Think a pretty draft.”

Of course, they could get a copy later when the real printed books arrived.

The proof looked good, so we published it on Amazon and got some hard copies to have on hand. I actually had people ask me at airports if I had a copy of my book with me to buy right then. True story! I didn’t, but I mailed them a signed copy.

Contact me here to request a signed copy. 

The 40 books arrived in a big box. The delivery person rang the door bell.

“THE BOOKS!”

So exciting.


Related read: What I’ve learned from the blog-to-book strategy

Even the kids checked them out. Oh, yes. Books have a different feeling to them. The kids also go online, by the way, so it’s not either or. It’s all. Things just evolve.

Why you should consider writing a book:

Most of the thought leaders out there – if not all – have written and published books on their topics.

For example, at the Content Marketing World conference, most speakers have either written or were writing a book.

I had been kind of ignoring the urge or necessity, but people asked me quite regularly:

When will you write a book?

I kept thinking:

Can’t people just read my blog?

LOL.

No. Though hundreds of thousands have and do, there’s something about a book that is different. Even digital versions are more tangible than 200,000 words spread across many posts.

Books have a certain level of prestige.

By way of example…

I decided to move forward with the first book while out on a run, got the commitment from a top-notch editor and announced in the kitchen at home that I will be writing a book.

My seven-year-old’s response:

“Like a real one? Cool!”

She later declared that she also will be writing one. And she has started writing.

I’ve received other similar sentiments outside the home.

After all, print isn’t dead. It’s just evolving. Most of those digital gurus who declared print dead also have books, by the way. They also speak at conferences. Face-to-face isn’t dead ether. Maybe a topic for another day.

The key takeaway, probably: There are many channels. Use the most appropriate ones at the right times. Chances are, it’s a mix that will work.