Why We Need Print

In a ongoing discussion of the Mensa Bulletin (the national publication of American Mensa), one topic that came up is members who don’t read it at all. One of those members commented “I realize part of it is my own fault. When I received the print edition, it would be on the kitchen table. I’d pick it up and read it over meals by myself. When I changed to the digital edition, I stopped reading the Bulletin.”

That, more than anything, is why I have spent years railing against the trend to all-digital publication. A physical magazine is there, in front of your eyes. You see it, even if you’re not going to read it. An electronic publication is so easy to ignore, to skip today because you’re busy, and then have it scroll down to the unnoticeable part of your unread in-box, that it won’t be many issues before you stop reading it altogether.

If the goal is to save money, to do everything as cheaply as possible, then by all means, we have to drop paper publication and shift to all-electronic.

But if the goal is to produce something that people notice, pay attention to, and read—and in the case of a membership organization, produce a regular reminder that readers are members of this organization, and may want to renew their membership regularly—then the printed magazine is a necessity.

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