Digital media may well be our life now, but the fact remains that a printed cover says more about you in the real world, than a social network ever can.
Fifty Shades of Grey may well be a huge print book phenomena, but it didn’t start that way. At first, it was ebook only, which like any other digital proposition, meant no-one knew what you’re reading. Only when the Daily Mail pumped enough oxygen through the story, did the publisher and readers feel embolden enough to do it in public.
A cover, whether a book or a magazine, says a massive amount about the reader. More than any other fashion accessory, it lets the real world around you know exactly who you are, or who you might imagine yourself to be. This is a unique aspect to print covers, that digital cannot really replicate.
If you saw me coming into the pub with a copy of Dagenham Dog Breeder Monthly under my arm, you’d form a very different impression of me than if I was holding The Economist.
As an illustration, here is Jonathan Young, Editor of The Field, perusing a couple of fine magazines. With a copy of Wallpaper in his hands, he’s telling the world (and himself, no doubt) that he’s smart and sophisticated.
But change the brand, and we change the man. Suddenly, his income and socio-economic profile has plummeted. But on the up-side, he’s clearly much funnier. Which as we all know, is how the English really measure a man.