Did you know it is predicted that by 2015 there will be 82.1 million tablet users in the United States?
I have remained a firm believer in print mediums as the world has moved to adopt tablets as a part of life. I can’t imagine that anything can replace the experience of receiving my monthly subscription of Vogue in the mail every month. Though the convenience of reading a magazine on a tablet is clear, nothing compares to flipping through the pages and tearing out your favorite pictures.
So I asked myself, if tablets are so radically different from print mediums, why are they so popular? Despite my hesitance to accept the tablet I found arguments in favor of the tablet that begun to change my mind.
1) Tablets eliminate the need for physical storage
With the tablet your library is in your hand. No longer do you need to have massive shelves of books taking up space in your house. I particularly like the idea of replacing my backpack of heavy textbooks with one thin tablet. Not only will you never forget a book at home but also students will have fewer heath issues from weighty backpacks.
2) Textbooks for class cost less on the tablet
The tablet can also make the purchase of textbooks more affordable for students. The inherent cost of producing a textbook is removed when the book is purchased in tablet form. In essence, books on the tablet are “scalable.” Meaning that though there may be higher fixed costs to make a book available on the tablet, once it is set up the marginal costs are very low.
3) Tablets allow magazines to provide data for advertisers
The best argument that I found in support of tablets, however, is the benefits they provide for advertisers. In the spring of 2012, Condé Nast started to report readership statistics from their tablets. Each advertiser can now know:
- The number of sales for both tablet subscriptions and single-copy sales during a specific reporting period
- The number of readers who opened the tablet edition
- The number of times that readers opened the edition
- The amount of time that readers spent reading the edition
Advertisers who paid for a premium ad can also know:
- How many readers clicked on their ad
- How many times the ad was displayed
- How long the reader looked at the ad
I think that this data is great for both magazines and advertisers. It will allow advertisers to know that they are placing their ads in the correct magazines and that readers are interested in their product. It will also allow companies like Condé Nast to provide real statistics that will show advertisers that it is worthwhile to advertise in their magazines.
Print subscriptions will not be disappearing anytime soon but with this new data maybe magazines will be able to improve their revenues from tablets. If companies like Condé Nast can make this their core competency, I think that the magazine industry will not only be sustained but excel.
Moving forward I think that book and magazine lovers will need to weigh the costs of benefits of the tablet. Like many technological advances, the tablet is an example of the double-edged sword. For ever pro there is a con and each user will need to determine if he or she wants to utilize or pass up the tablet as a way to interact with reading. For now I think I will stick to my monthly subscription in the mail, but in the future perhaps I will invest in a tablet as well.