We’ve all heard the rumours that digital media will wipe out print media, rendering libraries, magazines and newspapers obsolete. Although digital media and the technologies supporting it play an enormous role in today’s society, and have no doubt changed the future for old-fashioned print media, a recent survey conducted by Gartner concludes that book lovers can rest easy – digital media is not taking over just yet.
Gartner surveyed 1569 consumers in six countries about their digital reading preferences and discovered that the huge majority of iPad users (52 percent) prefer screen reading over printed reading, or have no preference (42 percent), but 47 percent of laptop users prefer printed reading over screen reading, and 33 percent said it was about the same.
"There are concerns that digital media will cannibalize print media, based on the general decline in newspaper sales and take-up of online news services in many parts of the world, but the evidence from our research is that print and online are not generally regarded as direct substitutes by consumers,” says Nick Ingelbrecht, research director at Gartner. "Something more complicated than a straightforward substation of print to digital media is taking place.”
For this reason, Ingelbrecht encourages content providers to stress the benefits of both print and online access, rather than selling competing stand-alone products.