For the Love of Print

Story by Emily Roberts//
March 10 2021

Recently, we received the last-ever print issue of Cycle World. We suspected the day was coming, but it didn’t make us any less sad to see another great motorcycle publication end its print career after being purchased by a publishing powerhouse. We all use the internet like it’s Frank’s RedHot sauce (I use that stuff on everything), but are we missing out on the quality of information that we once held so highly in return for convenience?

As a child, I looked forward to each magazine that would come in the mail, enthralled with the content provided. Or arriving early for doctor or dentist appointments in a waiting area that offered a random selection of magazines strewn on each table. Of course, the latter is not quite acceptable by today’s cleanliness standards. Not to mention the incredible transformation from an old magazine to a crafty collage in no time. I know many friends that have attributed their career choices to the inspiration they gained from magazines when growing up – me included.

When I was young and shopping with my parents, I would always head to the magazine aisle first, pick out the magazine I wanted to read and engulf the rest of the time spent in the store leafing through it.

I still read magazines. I still look forward to them coming in the mail every month. The writers become familiar – as if I know them personally – I trust the content and there’s just something about the tactile feel that a computer tablet can’t emulate. I can pick a magazine up years later and re-read my favourite articles without sifting through the thousands of links regarding a similar subject that appear in online searches every day. I can take print magazines with me when I don’t have Wi-Fi or cellphone reception, onto a plane, pass them on to friends, even take them on a camping trip. And if it comes down to it, I can use magazines as a fire starter.

I grew up experiencing the evolution of the internet, watching it expand exponentially during my teenage years. Now, younger generations are growing up with the strong hold of technology pushed into every aspect of their life. I’m disappointed at the lack of more tactile forms of entertainment, learning and creativeness within the reach of young people. The internet can be a narrow outlet for creativity, showing only what you’ve searched for or think you want to see. Younger generations now perceive information and learning in a completely new way.

Should we rely on an algorithm to provide us with the best information? We often see only the links we click on because a website’s search settings are set up in a way specific to the goals of the site’s owner, not because the links may direct us to the most reliable information. I’m not saying that magazines have all of the answers – because they don’t – but being able to read information specific to what I’m interested in often is more rewarding than finding a website plagued with ads and broad information that can be interpreted any which way.

I’m not saying the internet is bad or that I dislike the content on the internet. It has its perks, it gives everyone a voice and it allows people worldwide to have fast and easy access to information. But should the internet be the trusted source?

Even if you’re not paying to read articles on the internet, you often unknowingly pay via affiliated product reviews, promoted content, advertorials that aren’t labelled as such or those pesky ads that seemingly show up on every web page. Not to mention the adverse long-term health effects that are attributed to prolonged time spent staring at screens.

After working and writing all day on a computer, the last thing I want to do is stare at a screen. I want to be enjoying the outdoors or reading words that are purposefully and meaningfully put on each printed page of a book or magazine. I’m always amazed at how many people I speak with, especially at motorcycle shows, who mention how much they loathe the internet and praise print.

A printed piece is curated for its readers who value the content. If you are still reading this and thinking, “I do miss print,” pick a magazine and subscribe to it. It doesn’t have to be Motorcycle Mojo, but it does have to be something you’ll appreciate. People work hard to provide well-rounded, credible and inspiring content in print magazines.

I’m currently reading the sixth edition of the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, by Chris Scott. In the book, he so eloquently states a valid point I’d like to pass on: “Everything you need to know is out there online. The trouble is that it’s spread all over cyberspace like the Milky Way; the task is to track it all down sometime before the Milky Way implodes.”

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