The resurrection of beautiful print: Long live the library
By WGSN Insider

With London EDITION turning its Punch Room bar into an independent magazine showcase and a surge in print publishing, could the library be getting a facelift? Alex MacDonald, WGSN Creative Direction Senior Editor, investigates…

Jul 24, 2015


Print is dead – digital is everything. This idea isn’t new, in fact it’s been the assertion on everyone’s lips for quite a while, but is it really true? There’s actually significant evidence we still have love for the physical page.

Our newsagents’ shelves have never looked so vibrant thanks to a surge in beautifully crafted, collectable magazines. Independent publishing is booming and – as confirmed by Ruth Jamieson’s Print Is Dead. Long Live Print – there has never been a better time to launch a new publication, as print fans are dying to get their hands on niche titles. There’s no question the internet has killed, or is killing vast swathes of traditional media, however in purging much of the throwaway variety, the web has cleared space for deeply researched, lovingly produced and reassuringly physical publications.

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As Jamieson points out: “Humans are physical creatures, we still have a need for tangible, haptic experiences.” When it comes to curling up in a chair to get lost in a book, our iPads and Kindles just don’t cut it, and it seems we’re more attached than we thought to the promise of discovery that comes with scouring bookshelves.

Add to this our increasing desire for experiences disconnected from our screens and a new value economy that places this above ownership and could we see a revival in library spaces as a knock on effect of the unexpected publishing boom?

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The Print is Dead Library at London Edition runs from now until the end of August to coincide with the launch of Ruth Jamieson’s celebration of the the indie mag revival. Also worth noting is Hyundai Card adding The Music Library to it’s trio of beautifully designed reference rooms in Seoul, giving the public access to 10,000 vinyls, 3000 books and a live music space.

What does this all mean in terms of the bigger picture? We expect to see reinvented libraries continue to crop up around the world – and what an exciting prospect that is.

Love this post? Follow Alex @alexrebbeck on Instagram and Twitter.


A DEEPER LOOK: WGSN subscribers can check out our in-depth report on the current media landscape and its future, The New News.

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