Gutenberg Would Be Proud

There's something interesting happening and it's almost like we're going back in time. According to many sources, I've read that Kindle and iPad sales are down. People are going back to the printed word. Print books outsold ebooks in early 2014. Children's books had the largest gain, which makes a lot of sense, as the old fashioned story book is always better than a digital version.

The thought is that both type books will co-exist, sort of like movies and tv; back in the day, when tv was new, everyone was proclaiming the demise of movies, which never happened. There's something about the feel, smell and experience of a printed book; but a lot can be said for students carrying around one thin device which does the same thing as a backpack full of printed books.

Students comprehend more when reading printed books, rather than ebooks, and the strain on the eyes is very evident on Kindles and iPads.

As for iPads, sales seemed to have peaked. People still don't know how to manage them as they fall in between a laptop computer and a smartphone. I love that Wired calls them a "spork." The novelty is wearing off. Now it's about utility. Being a cartoonist, I never was comfortable with an iPad as I need programs like Photoshop, Manga Studio and Illustrator, which cannot be used on the iPad, so my laptop always wins out.

I had a premonition a couple of years ago that printed newspapers would make a comeback as a hip thing for younger people to enjoy. It's very odd now on the New York subways to see people without newspapers, they were so ubiquitous in the past, almost everyone had a newspaper, or book, held up to their faces, now it's all electronic, mostly games on iPhones from what I can see.

But it would be nice to have old fashioned newspapers come back to life, where circulation would rise. One thing I find odd is that newspapers never seem to play to the audience. They minimize comics and make them the size of postage stamps or they drop a comics page here or there and just recently the Miami Herald dropped the tv listings page, one of the only reasons I subscribed. I don't think I have ever seen a newspaper without tv listings. It seems like that would be a feature that would bring people back daily. The New York Post dropped the few comics that they had, a year ago. I stopped buying the New York Post. That was the only reason I bought it in the first place. I read the New York Daily News and Newsday for the comics in New York City.

I do like reading the comics online, but there's something about reading them in a printed newspaper; it's just how I first read them as a child and I continue to enjoy that. I think the secret to newspapers may be to not share so much content online and keep back some good features and stories for the printed versions, which would make people purchase the printed versions to get that premium content.

Luke Clark of Discovery Channel Magazine tweeted that "print is what vinyl is to music." Speaking of which, vinyl records have been up in sales by a large percent. The Wall Street Journal called it the "biggest music comeback of 2014," up 49 percent from 2013.

So print is not dead; even though you're reading this digitally.

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