Print Media vs Electronic Media : Who Tires Faster?

A re-visit to an old post that I had written for the Bloggers Premiere League contest hosted by Cafe Ginger Chai in 2010.

This was actually published in an ezine that my team had specially created for the contest. And recently when I tried to visit the ezine again, I realized that the website had closed down. Hence thought of re posting the article here on my blog.

Have been wondering, of late, about this very tussle between print media and electronic media.

Even though I am heavily dependent on electronic gadgets, like phone, laptop, TV,etc.- which have made my life far easier than before, yet there are some things or habits that i still find hard to let go of. For example, I heart my books, I still feel more comfortable jotting down my important to-do lists with a pen& paper THAN setting up a reminder on my phone or making notes in the iPad! I even tried downloading books onto the iPad, just to get a feel of the whole e-reading that so many of my friends had been raving about, only to eventually, end up getting drawn back to the touch and smell of my printed books!

I don’t know for how long this harmonious co-existence will stay. However all i can hope is that our children and theirs get to enjoy the benefits of both the media for the longest period of time.

So when I see Namnam’s school giving her reading assignments or home-works for cursive writing at the same time giving importance to e-learning, it heartens me to know that there are institutions that are trying their best to blend both the media and let the children reap benefits through both.

So which medium do you prefer? Do share your thoughts after reading the article below :).


History has shown that new media has never displaced old media. When movies came into being everyone thought radio will fizzle out. But it didnt. Then came TV. With the advent of television, people thought movies will dwindle. But they didnt. Instead the movie-makers found an opportunity in television to publicize about their films.

Similarly with the growing emergence of electronic media a general perception among people is that print media is on its way out. But is it really the end of road for print media?

Let me note down a few points that have often been raised to debate this very question.

A frequent reason given for the electronic media’s growing popularity vis a vis print is its impact on the environment. Many feel the trend towards increasing use of electronic media can only bring enivironmental benefits. Producing newspapers and magazines involve felling trees, paper waste, printing, emission of sizeable amount of carbon dioxide which can be damaging to the environment.

Having said that a possible downside of electronic media is that it has short memory-span. When one is watching television, he/she eats, chats on phone, plays, switches channels at a given time. So many a times its possible that what he/she is watching may not register in the mind. On the other side while reading a book or a newspaper one’s attention, more often than not stays uninterrupted.

Which brings me to a point that gives electronic media an upperhand. And thats literacy. There are many many people, running in millions, in this world who are illiterate. For them, newspapers, magazines,books, brochures or any kind of printed medium is of zilch use because they cant read. Thats where media like television and radio score. They can watch and hear the news and other programmes and keep themselves updated and informed.

Another argument given by many while comparing print media with electronic media is in regard with the reachability. Modern technology is still considered a luxury in the rural areas. Its often perceived as something enjoyed by relatively wealthy. Of course with mobile revolution that perception is going through a change. Nonetheless the electronic medium remains a concern given its unequal accessibility for the economically less-privileged.

Some people love the physical feel of print media, the smell of paper, the tactile sense of touch, others love the immediacy of the electronic one.

So what I’m trying to say is there really cant be a clear winner. Both sorts have their own following and one will not necessarily cause the other to die. Even amidst the Internet brouhaha, is a fact that magazine readership has risen in the past five years. Communication in any form is an ever evolving thing. A new medium doesnt necessarily replace an existing one. A well established medium will continue to prosper if it continues to give a unique experience.

Let me close by quoting a few lines that I read in one of the magazines-

The Internet is exhilarating. Magazines are enveloping.
The Internet grabs you. Magazines embrace you.
The Internet is impulsive. Magazines are immersive.
And both media are growing.


Have a great week/weekend and do send in some get-well-soon vibes to my poor laptop which has crashed down leaving me virtually crippled! 😦 See you all on the other side.


23 thoughts on “Print Media vs Electronic Media : Who Tires Faster?

  1. I totally agree with what you have written..its so true the end of the day, each has its own advantages..and dis advantages..I would prefer reading a newspaper than seeing breaking news on the TV, but for an illiterate a TV is a boon…I would prefer reading my books physically but from an enviornmental perspective, a kindle is preferred…at the end of the day, its just a balance isnt it?


  2. True what you say , both have advantanges but i think electronic has a bit more advantage .. as you say people who cant read can now listen and see the NEws ..

    I read it then tooo πŸ™‚ I dont remmeber we were in same team … he he he

    I did not know that blog has been taken off .. who took it off ..


  3. You’ve covered the topic very well and I totally agree in both forms of media having it’s merits and demerits. It boils down to whichever suits our personal liking…but media in both forms is surely growing fast πŸ™‚

    D: Welcome here My era πŸ™‚


  4. I like reading proper books than e-reading! Otherwise both are good and the next generation should be familiar with both. The article is very interesting.

    I have got a pen and small note pad in my kitchen and I jot down what I need to buy in that than in my phone note pad! And I write a lot in Tamil there. My son is not able to write comfortably with a pen now, thanks to the computer!


  5. Interesting post deeps.So much we want to avoid net we can’t do.Both print and electronic media will survive.For news i depend on everyday newspaper,for recipes i depend on cook books etc.Where as i am dependent on net for any type of queries or what i dont get in print media.

    Like you i always pen down my list of things i need to do and also my monthly expenditure.Phone i use to store my passwords,a/c no etc….


  6. ditto on I heart my books, I still feel more comfortable jotting down my important to-do lists with a pen& paper THAN setting up a reminder on my phone or making notes in the iPad! I even tried downloading books onto the iPad, just to get a feel of the whole e-reading that so many of my friends had been raving about, only to eventually, end up getting drawn back to the touch and smell of my printed books!

    about generations to come being able to balance between both,I doubt! Honestly,I don’t know how we would be able to tell our children to not forget the magic of printed books and writing home work ? In the technology and age that we slowly yet steadily dwelling in calls us for using Artificial Intelligence to operate the gadgets…so it’s like using technology to operate technology,you getting my point?

    we are getting into the era where in the playgrounds are simply taken over by play about the generations to come I really am not sure…for a moment we can even assume that we as parents can pass on our love for paper books and open ground play time but do you think all the parents in our circle are going to feel and do the same ? we might as well tagged as stale lot and our children might as well be looked upon by their peers for still using the books or not using the play stations etc…

    you getting me ?

    while on this, I still feel if everyone of us pledge to retain the old media with welcoming the new one,I think we can achieve what want to even in gadgetry future that’s dawning upon us!


  7. thats a very balanced view Deeps.. they will and have to co-exist together πŸ™‚ I have read it then and now also it looks good πŸ™‚

    Me too written on the same topic during this round πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€


  8. I had loved this post of yours! And I have to agree- both have their space, both have their importance. I would hate to see a world with no books – so hopefully despite all the advantages of the electronic media, paper will continue to exist – hopefully. Just today, I was thinking of our flat in Bangalore in terms of decor. And one of the first things that sprung to my mind was where I would like to house my books. And then the thought – what if we stopped buying books, and ended up buying e-books only – that would make our home so very soul-less.. Hopefully that will not happen.. Hopefully, both types of media will continue to co-exist, and grow.


  9. Only time can tell I feel. But that is not what actually interests me in this thing. I am nonplussed when I hear people say that they hope their kids enjoy what they themselves have enjoyed in their life. They lament over the fact that their children cannot enjoy some of the things that they did. What makes us think what we have enjoyed are superior to what they or subsequent generations are going to? WE loved them, we are nostalgic about them. That does not mean it is necessarily something that is better.
    I will take the example of a wood stove and the modern stoves (gas/electric). However much anyone might lament that we don’t enjoy the taste of food as made in wood stoves, we are not going to see the joy in perspiring in front of wood stoves. I feel we find books so pleasurable because we grew up with them. The next generation might love Kindle the same way and lament that their next generation don’t even read Kindle and has moved on to something else. I feel the joy we feel is OURS magnified a million abnormal times. It is only the intense love we feel for our kids that makes us want our offspring to experience this ‘increased to a higher proportion joy’ that we hold in our minds. It need not necessarily be as joyous as we think of it. In fact it isn’t, except for us.. Gawd, should this have been a blog? Too long a comment.
    By the way, I prefer mobile for reminders and the laptop for writing. I am very happy to have left behind paper and pencil/pen. I still read paper books. But once I get myself a Kindle probably I will switch over. πŸ™‚ Lets see πŸ™‚


    1. “That does not mean it is necessarily something that is better.” Of course not. And I certainly don’t think that the era I lived is in anyway superior to the one namnam lives in. Each has it’s pluses nd minuses, I realize that. Eg. I am mighty glad that I live in a world where I can dump my clothes into the washing machine instead of slogging with a bar of 555 soap! Or for that matter I know for sure how thrilled my achamma(grandmother) was when she bought her first gas-stove, it meant that she could finally bid goodbye to the tears that were a result of blowing into the pipe to light her chulha/wooden stove :D.

      Despite all this I feel there are somethings that I enjoyed while growing up that are, if not better, just as good and pleasurable. Eg. Books. ereaders may have given many a whole new meaning to reading, yet its an entirely different kind of joy that a simple feel and smell of a printed book gives which I feel should be enjoyed by generations to come just as much. Another example- Slightly off the topic, though- the generations gone by had kids go out into the streets to play, get messy, climb trees, get physically active, so to speak, as against today’s time when the kids are increasingly getting drawn towards watching cartoons, fiddling with play stations, Wii and the likes.

      What I am trying to say is while each generation, each medium in this case, has its pros nd cons, if we take the positives out of each one and incorporate them to today’s requirements then we can maintain a balance for a longer period of time.

      Phew! Now this comment is fit to be a blogpost too, isn’t it? πŸ˜€


    2. IF the next generation, after the ones we have in class, read at all. Had this day at school today, where perhaps only about 10 out of 54 knew what a bestseller was. In fact out of those 10 perhaps 5 were into reading. Reading skills are at an all time low (even if MCQs – Multiple Choice Questions – are given, simple ones that is!) These are 13/14 year olds I am talking of. 😦


  10. I love the way you present all sides of an argument πŸ™‚

    I agree with you….we need all media…to balance the good and bad.

    However with the presence of so much access to information and various media and new technology….the retentive power for content has drastically reduced. Earlier when a movie song or a new book released, it stayed in one’s memory for a longer period of time. This is why a lot of books found more attention and are referred to as classics, and why we still remember and enjoy old movie songs (even those of 70s and 80s).

    If I ask you to remember a hit movie song of 2-3 years back, would you really be able to recollect it instantly?
    It’s all about that 15 minutes of fame now. (In fact I am already tired of ‘why this kolaveri di’) A song comes, becomes a rage and disappears the next month. We’ve begun to play less and less of sheila ki jawani and munni badnam hui….and have moved to chikni chameli already. Two months down the line it will be something else.

    Also another side to this argument is that with the advent of internet, we have everyone access to broadcasting through the media (social networking, blogs, videos etc.) as opposed to media being controlled by a few select television and newspaper owners. How good or bad it is can lead to an entirely new post.

    Sometimes I feel technology is at best left alone, considering the alarming pace at which it is progressing. And wish we could go back to old media. πŸ™‚ I know I’ll get a lot of brick bats for saying this.

    Er…have I gone far away from your argument by now? πŸ™„ πŸ˜›


  11. Fantastic article Deeps.
    I too feel that it’s difficult to choose one over the other. They cater to different audiences, different age groups… neither one shows signs of dying out anytime soon. πŸ™‚


  12. I totally agree with you Deeps… Each has its own merits and demerits and the choice varies from person to person… For me, nothing can replace my books… A had written note still makes me happier than a sms or an email…. πŸ™‚


  13. I think I am not picking up our Kindle to read books just because I am a Book Fanatic and isn’t very comfortable when things change so rapidly. πŸ™„ I don’t watch TV too (sheesh I do sound like I am from the Victorian era don’t I? 😐 ) That said I don’t have to hide the fact that how much I love my laptop πŸ˜† I think for me it’s all about how lazy I am to learn and get hang of the new technology and I do sincerely hope that books will last forever.

    Ps: I am kinda drowsy and half asleep and I think my comment doesn’t make much sense πŸ˜₯


  14. That is why I had written on my blog, about you as someone who gives us a wide range of topics, and multiple perspectives. Very balanced post, Deeps. I love the pen-paper bonding with me πŸ™‚ And though I can type fast, really fast (thanks to passing the Junior and Higher Grade Typewriting Test, after school πŸ˜€ ), I’m way more comfortable writing things down…. though I find myself doing that lesser these days…maybe that is why the blog posts dont get done :D!

    Yes, there are two ways to look at it, equally relevant, but the truth is that paper based media are going to be / in fact already are challenged to the point of their existence by the electronic media. It’s more updated too, except of course for features, and and stuff… and the Open Pages, Letters… all of which have parallels in the electronic media too.

    Win win for now. But for how long, if children do not read. I’m old fashioned enough to want kids to read books… it does not matter that they are e-books now πŸ™‚ Just read, for heavens’ sake! Have you read Roald Dahl’s poem, “Television”? πŸ™‚ Do, if you have not!

    Did I say? I liked this post, very much!


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