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The Decline in Print Media Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 29th, 2022


Print media dominated the information passage systems globally since the innovation of the Guttenberg around 1439. Every college student has a good grasp of printed media in from textbooks, magazines and other printed resources found in libraries for reference purposes. Before the Guttenberg revolution, information sharing was not consistent. What could be reported and available for reading at Chicago could have different information from that available in Oxford, yet, from one source or author.

The generation of printing brought and internalized the idea of one author and one piece of information. Authors had property rights, which upon someone’s violation could lead to legal pursuits. The usage of a print media brought some sort of an ease with a help of which students in colleges and universities could cite their works freely using the same reference material if found globally.

The electronic media came into existence upon the starting of a digital computer generation. This was around 1980s when the world wide web which has enabled several people from different parts of the world to search the Internet for information. The web contains information of interest for all fields in life; health, agriculture, tourism, transport, catering/ hospitality, and education just but to name a few. Although the Internet came into being in the 1980s and it became popular in 1990s in many homes across the United States of America and United Kingdom. The delay in popularising was on the reluctance with which people view the uptake of the Internet services.

Now the Internet has been taken up by millions of people across the globe. Information search is easier without the need to physically going to the library. Everything the one needs is a computer that is connected to the Internet in order then to use search engines, for example, Yahoo, MSN and Google, to surf the web.

Decline of the traditional postal mail

Postal mail was a preferred method of sending letters before the advent of the electronic media. People would register to have a mail box through which they could send and receive their mails. Postage stamps were used and, no letter could be sent without a postage stamp. Not only individuals but also companies and government offices had postal boxes. Still some have those today, but the usage has been taken up by the electronic mail (email) and the Internet. While sending a mail through the traditional postal service would take days before delivery, the usage of the emails and the Internet ensures that the delivery is almost real time (Bonaby, 2012).

The cost of doing business by firms has been drastically brought down by usage of the emails. A big firm could even spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for sending quotations, business proposals, invoices and receipts. Contrary to this, email is pretty cheap. All a firm needs to have is a computer and connect to the Internet via Internet service providers (Edmonds). They use the emails and Internet for quick responses to their customer needs and requirements. Thus, the volume of business done by firms per unit time in the current email era is huger compared to when the traditional postal mail was the only way of responding and communicating with the customers (Pew Research, 2012).

Cost of operation also came down drastically both in government offices and private firms because fewer people could be involved in sending and physically going to the postal offices to collect the mails sent, and deliver new mail for sending to their correspondences. Thus, the adoption of the Internet has negatively impacted on the usage of the print media. To this end, the postal service providers have resulted to increasing postage stamp prices so that they can stay in business (Bonaby, 2012). The traditional mail would decline by around 39% in the year 2013 (O’Malley, 2009).

Phasing out hard cover books for e-books

E-books have been phasing out the usage of the hard cover books at a high late in the recent years. This has been catalysed by the introduction of e-book readers like the Amazon’s Kindle and iPhone. As a result, according to report released by Association of American Publishers, sales for the e-books are going up while that of hardcopies is declining (Bonaby, 2012). For instance, one of the biggest firms in e-books business, Amazon.com, sold 100 copies of hardcopies compared to 143 e-book copies sold during the same duration (Bonaby, 2012).

The advantage of having an e-book is that it is easy to carry whenever you want, unlike the hardcopy. The flexibility of accessing the material at any time of the day and geographical location makes the e-books more preferred than printed books in this digital world. Most of the online e-books providers provide signing up service and an online payment method for purchasing e-books. Therefore, one can purchase a book of interest just by a digital click.

Students in colleges have taken the idea of using the e-books positively and, a large number has e-books in their personal computers. This has made it easy for information sharing amongst students because they can lend out their resources to their fellow students. This has an advantage over the tradition hardcopy books as when they are not adequate in a class it can imply that students will not have the information as required by their course professor in the intended time.

Online newspapers and magazines versus. hardcopy newspapers and magazines

Research conducted in 2008 (Pew Research, 2008) showed that 1/3 of newspapers are read on the Internet. This number has been pushed up by the young generation who has adopted the innovation of reading the materials online. Interestingly, magazine sales have not dropped sharply compared with that of newspapers. This implies that most of the magazine readers are still on the hardcover material, unlike the newspapers readers.

Such social media network as Facebook have been progressively promoting reading of online newspapers and magazines. Newspaper and magazine producing companies have their Facebook pages. From here, visitors on Facebook are directed to their website to read various articles from the newspapers and magazines. Therefore, when a newspaper Facebook page has many ‘likes’, it will directly correspond to the number of visitors who will visit their website to read their newspapers. To make sales online, these newspaper and magazine firms are giving subscription packages to customers. They might give per day, month, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

The longer the package, the cheap it becomes per unit. In other words, an annual package would cost USD 0.3 dollars compared to 0.35 semi-annual packages. The direction that online newspapers are taking is posing a great threat to the hardcopy materials. It will not be so long from now, when the hardcopy newspapers and magazines will be making minimal sales because much of the market will be shifted to the online resources. However, many newspaper companies have also created links in social sites from where visitors can click their sites and read some portions of their production without paying (Grabowicz, 2012).

Online advertising versus print media advertising

Advertising is a vital process in all firms and government offices as it is the easiest and fastest way through which they communicate with their customers and stakeholders. Non-governmental organisations and other non-profit making organizations also make many adverts annually either for tender invitation or other reasons related to their activities and partners. Political campaigns are also involving a lot of advertising for political popularity of a candidate or a political party.

Institutions offering education programs like universities, colleges and schools spend a meaningful amount of media space for placing their adverts. They advertise to gain more popularity and have many students joining their institutions (Pew Research, 2012).

Online advertising has taken great strides in the last few years while the adverts in print have declined tangibly. Most establishments that were on the print media advertising have now resulted to online advertising as a way of marketing their products and services. Most of them have taken advantage of the social media sites like Facebook to create links and have visitors move to their sites for viewing their products.

Notably, schools, colleges and university are thriving on online advertising where they entice their prospective students by requesting them to click on their website pages or links in the social sites. When they arrive in their websites, they are able to view so much information regarding the courses they offer. They digest information on course description, requirements, duration taken, personality types required and placement opportunities among others. This is better than using the print media to reach out to potential students who, in most cases, do not have time for the printed materials.

Political campaigns have also taken to online advertising to popularize their agenda, candidates and parties. Within a short time, their adverts are read and consumed by a large following which make decisions regarding their campaign platforms. Business enterprises, for instance, supermarkets and big hotels are using the online advertising to interact and attract their customers. They want to leave their customers with a lifetime experience (Edmonds, 2013). For example, hotels and airline firms are using online advertising to bring in new customers. It is worth the experience because their customers can book online.


It has been demonstrated that the print media is in a gradual declining process. The traditional mail is on its knees thanks to the introduction of the Internet and Emails which are fast and cheap. Sales of printed books are declining gradually while that of e-books is going up. More readers are now turning to e-books because they are easily accessible online and can be carried around with lots of ease. Online magazines and newspapers are gaining ground while phasing out the hard copy newspapers and magazines. More readers of these materials are directed to their websites where they can access articles of their choice. Most establishments have incorporated idea of linking their websites with social sites like Facebook and Twitter, with a help of which interested visitors can visit their website for various products.

In fact, the print media is on the verge of collapse. The pressure the online media is exerting is too much for the print media. Print media are losing ground.


Bonaby, P. (2012). Print Adaptation in a Technology Expanding World. Visual Communications Journal, 45, 23-65.

Grabowicz, P. (2012). Tutorial. The Transition to Digital Journalism. Knight Digital Media Centre, 25, 301-320.

Patricks, M. P (2012). In Changing News Landscape, Even television is Vulnerable. Trends in News Consumption, 35, 345-456.

Rich Edmonds (2013).The State of the News Media 2013. Annual Report on American Journalism, 34, 233-249

Smith, P. A. (2012). . General format. Web.

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