The Print-vs.-Web Conundrum

April 1, 2010
Is print really dead? Personally, I don't think it's dead or even dying a slow death. It is simply in the midst of a transition caused by an economy in

Is print really dead? Personally, I don't think it's dead or even dying a slow death. It is simply in the midst of a transition caused by an economy in turmoil. Online versions of print publications feed the need for instant gratification, and the ability to post comments on a blog or online article gives Web-savvy readers a feeling of community. Yet — call it “old school” — there is something to be said about sitting down with a steaming cup of coffee to read a favorite publication, touching the pages of a newspaper or magazine without the over-stimulating distractions of an endless stream of e-mail and pop-up advertisements flashing “7 Tips to Fight Belly Fat.”

As members of the press, the editors of HPAC Engineering must seriously consider the ramifications of the media you, our audience, use to receive our content. We can choose to “fight the good fight” and firmly entrench ourselves in familiar print terrain, or we can intertwine our print publications with Websites, blogs, and various forms of social media that potentially can reach millions of readers worldwide.

With a longer shelf life, print is appropriate for analytical articles and columns that can be kept for later reference. On the other hand, digital media is useful for urgent news as well as searchable data, such as our annual directory, Info-dex, which can be found online at The print-vs.-Web conundrum is not an “either/or” equation, but a puzzle in which all of the pieces must fit together to create a cohesive whole.

For our part, the editors of HPAC Engineering have been keeping a tight grip on our parent company's “in-print, online, and in-person” strategy. We are giving you more choices and opportunities to engage at your personal level of interest. By printing monthly editions of the magazine as well as biannual Boiler Systems Engineering and annual Networked Controls special sections; constantly updating our Website,; generating bimonthly Fastrack and monthly Engineering Green Buildings e-newsletters; producing Webinars regularly; and managing our annual live event, the Engineering Green Buildings Conference and Expo, now part of HVACR Week, we are dedicated to delivering content via multiple platforms to best serve your needs.

How are we doing this? By developing new ways of approaching our print and digital-media formats. Content slated for print editions of the magazine can be published online for up-to-the-minute dissemination of vital information, such as changes to important building standards. Vice versa, content that is created specifically for our Website can be repurposed for print at a later date. In this manner, we are focusing on daily content development, forcing ourselves to perpetually monitor the pulse of the HVACR industry.

So, the question isn't whether print is dead; the real question is: What types of media do you use to obtain information?

That said, we want to know if we are fulfilling your multimedia needs. How do you get your HVACR fix? In what forms do you consume technical articles and industry news? Is your preferred mode of delivery different than it was five years ago?

Regardless of the packaging, we invite you to explore and utilize our expert-information channels. Most importantly, we want to hear from you.

Send comments and suggestions to [email protected].