Print has been the new black for brand publishers for a while now, and in a surprising twist, digital publishers like PandoDaily are starting to follow those branded footsteps.
Two years after Sarah Lacy founded the San Francisco-based PandoDaily, which covers tech and startup news, the former TechCrunch editor launched her PandoQuarterly print magazine, seemingly inspired by the wild success of Contently Quarterly, The Content Strategist’s print magazine.
Okay, maybe it had more to do with Pando’s acquisition of Paul Carr’s NSFWCORP back in November.
“One of the things that we got out of that acquisition was a print magazine,” Lacy said at PandoMonthly‘s February event, where attendees were granted the privilege of holding the very first PandoQuarterly publications in their hands. “They did a monthly print magazine, which I thought was the stupidest thing in the world when Paul launched it. And then I watched him produce it, and how much his readers loved it, and I was incredibly jealous.” She added, “So, we are not going to be monthly but we decided to up the paper stock and make it a little glitzier and do it quarterly.”
While most of the printed content in PandoQuarterly is syndicated from online articles, including its headlining Techtopus story about how Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages, the push to print is more about creating an exciting new content experience than offering exclusive new information.
By tapping into the charms of novelty and nostalgia, digital publishers with print issues invite readers to connect with their favorite publications on a more tactile level. In turn, the readers are trusted to head back to the digital hub and, more shockingly, generate buzz by word-of-mouth without any share buttons.
Condé Nast’s Style.com, which had published exclusively online since 2000, launched a biannual print magazine in October 2011. Hitting select shelves after fashion week’s seasonal runway shows, the publication features tweets printed alongside ads from major fashion brands, as well as fashion collections ranked by digital page views rather than pure editorial curation.
Last Fall, Politico launched a free bimonthly print magazine, run by Foreign Policy’s former Editor-in-Chief Susan Glasser. In November 2013, 40,000 copies of Politico Magazine were distributed throughout Washington and select locations across the country. The print version is also complemented by an online component updated daily.
A recent Los Angeles Times article titled “Online publications see a future in print” goes further to point out how indie music’s Pitchfork.com launched a quarterly print magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books started pumping out a quarterly journal, and Jezebel released “The Book of Jezebel,” similar to Tavi Gevinson’s Rookie Mag print companion, “Rookie Yearbook.” Despite frequent eulogies, print appears to be alive and well.
Whether they’re told in print or pixels, stories hold the most power, and we trust our publications to wield that power wisely, regardless of the publishing method they may choose.