June 11, 2014
Paper or Pixels? It's Your Choice
Like the clerk in the supermarket checkout line, Metal Center News now gives you a choice about how you prefer your products packaged. But rather than the paper-or-plastic question, it's paper or pixels?
Metal Center News publications are now available to subscribers in a digital format so they can be read on computers, tablets and smartphones anywhere with Internet access. Each month, readers receive a reminder that their MCNDigital copy is ready to view, with a link that takes them directly to the latest issue. Even first-time users report that the format is highly intuitive and easy to navigate.
Like all traditional publishers, Metal Center News is in a state of evolution. The Internet is changing the way people seek out information, so we are changing the way we provide it. Not everyone is at the same point along that learning curve, however. It varies from individual to individual. For many younger readers, their first instinct is to do their reading online. But the vast majority of MCN's readers, who are in management positions at the nation's service centers, tend to skew a little older. They tell us they still prefer the look and feel of the traditional magazine. We’re hoping that by offering both online and on-paper options, we will meet everyone’s needs as we all transition toward the future.
MCNDigital is meant as a supplement to the regular print edition, rather than a replacement. Only print subscribers can gain access to the digital editions. Readers cannot opt for a digital-only subscription. We don’t want our print and digital products to compete with each other for readers' attention, but rather to enhance readers' overall experience. Therefore, the digital edition is not made available until approximately two weeks after the print version arrives in the mail, which for most subscribers is around the third week of each month. Readers received their link to the May edition last week. Expect each month’s link to be emailed to you around the 1st of the following month.
Despite what you read (most likely on the Internet), print publishing is far from dead. In the 1950s, the pundits said television would kill radio. Obviously, radio is alive and well. Indeed, those so-called experts of the last century could not even have conceived of the satellite and Internet radio we have today. To assert that today’s Internet spells the same doom for print media is equally shortsighted and simplistic. Publications that abandon their print products in favor of their websites may claim it benefits their readers and advertisers when in fact their prime motive is to save the cost of paper and ink.
We feel confident that after some period of shakeout, print and electronic media will learn to coexist. If done properly, they should complement each other. Each publication, depending on the nature and the needs of its readership, will find its own mix. At Metal Center News, we'll give subscribers the option to read each monthly edition, as well as our supplements and directories, in print and online--first one, then the other. If at some point in the future our readers tell us they don't need the print versions, then MCNDigital will already be a familiar face. In the meantime, we hope readers find both formats useful. Read one, revisit the other. Clip one, download the other. Share them both with coworkers and employees. Let us know what you think. We believe the answer to the question is paper AND pixels.