I recently went shopping at Border’s to take advantage of the going-out-of-business sale. It was my first time in a bookstore in a long time, which is indicative of the reason of for the sale. It was also very telling of modern times that one of the largest sections in the bookstore was of books about computers. Books on how to use your Blackberry, books on search engine optimization, books on learning about your first computer, books on how to use the Adobe suite, even books on Google Earth. Then I found it. A book I never expected to see. A book I never could have imagined would be published.
Farmville for Dummies. That’s right. 268 pages about how to nurture your Facebook farm.
So is print media devolving or keeping up?
I say keeping up. There are just as many books on valuable and interesting topics as there are valuable and interesting topics on the Internet. Same with pointless topics like Farmville. Like many of you out there, I am much more used to reading the news on websites instead of papers, stories on blogs instead of novels, and recipes online instead of cookbooks. Why pay for something that won’t be updated or be available to you the second you think of wanting it? Hence the Border’s going-out-of-business sale. I did end up buying the Social Media Marketing for Dummies book, though it said that MySpace is one of the most popular online channels despite its 2010 publication date.
But then there is a shining example of print media more than just keeping up, but surging ahead: The Social Media Monthly. It felt so retro to pay for and then read through a print magazine. I enjoyed the magazine beyond its novelty of being able to physically hold it: The articles were insightful and the overall content and design were intriguing. I counted a total of 23 QR codes, an average of one on every third page. I found it especially interesting to see the ads that were just a few words and a QR code. Unfortunately, since I don’t have a smartphone (gasp!) I couldn’t even look up the website or name of the company because the few words would be something like “find craft beer.”
Can books and magazines continue to be relevant in an online world? Based on these examples I think so, but that doesn’t mean that I will be spending any more money on supporting that idea any time soon.