Once dismissed as a dying medium, print gets a ‘wow’ transplant when it integrates with digital technology.

Curated by James Mignano, Xerox contributor

It’s likely that at one point or another you have read a headline that has dramatically exclaimed that “Print is dead.” With advances in technology and new digital tools at our fingertips each day, it’s easy to conclude that paper products, like newspapers, magazines and even traditional to-do list notebooks, will fall to the wayside.

122616541_8But there may be more to the story than meets the eye. In fact, one infographic highlights some of the top reasons that individuals actually choose physical books over e-readers. Among them are:

  • 44% like collecting physical books.
  • 44% enjoy gifting books — you can’t put a bow on a download.
  • 11% can’t give up the way a physical book smells.

Flying in the face of what might be conventional wisdom at this point, a number of magazines traditionally known as digital-only publishers are releasing print products. Technology blog Pando Daily, music review site Pitchfork and political outlet Politico all fall into this category. Moreover, despite the hashtag “#LastPrintIssue” once appearing on the cover of Newsweek, the storied magazine is poised to make a print comeback. Its owners have even said that “[print] is in great demand.”

So what’s the real story, here?

In reality, print isn’t dying – its role is simply shifting and evolving. As Xerox principal scientist Raja Bala says, “We used to think of paper as the permanent record, and digital as the ephemeral. Now, digital has become the archival form, and we print out a temporary hard copy when we need it.”

It’s becoming quite clear to some that the innovation of print and its integration with digital media will be the key to cutting through the clutter in a post-“print is dead” world. Consider these examples:

  • In the January, 2014 issue of Wired, Motorola ran an interactive print advertisement that changed the color of the pictured Moto X smartphone.
  • Nivea has set out to make this summer’s trips to the beach more enjoyable and safe by pairing a print ad with a smartphone app. The advertisement contains a detachable bracelet, which parents can put on their children. Then, they can download the app, synch it to the bracelet and receive alerts when their kids wander too far away for comfort.
  • Lord & Taylor recently released a mobile app that allows customers to buy products by scanning products shown in print ads. The need to visit the retailer’s website is completely eliminated.

Have you seen other examples of print being used in creative, engaging ways?