Print or Digital? – Print and Digital!

Stämpfli Verlag AG, as a publisher of comprehensive legal information and non-fiction books, and Stämpfli Kommunikation, as a communications agency and publishing service provider, are prime examples of how a time-honored printing house became a modern multimedia company. "Nowadays, it's all about using the same content multiple times," says Marcel Vogel. We talked about "print and digital" with the digital media consultant at Stämpfli Kommunikation and Dorothee Schneider, Managing Director of Stämpfli Verlag AG.
"Our company stands for excellent consulting in brand design, communication and the design of processes: for holistic, focused and strong implementation, for leading solutions in networked communication, for the production and communication of printed and interactive media – and for the highest service quality."
Networked, printed, interactive: these three adjectives found in the "About us" section of the Stämpfli website – which could be supplemented with buzzwords such as online, digital or multimedia – are emblematic of the transformation of the print company founded in 1799 by the authoritative printer Gottlieb Stämpfli in the Swiss capital of Berne into a modern communications specialist playing on all channels. Because the question is not "print or digital?", rather the motto is "print and digital!". Or as Marcel Vogel puts it, "nowadays, it's all about using the same content multiple times, publishing it ever more quickly, easily and with added value on different channels, and thus achieving a greater reach."
"Most of our clients are print-heavy, but..."
Although he's a digital media consultant, he leaves no doubt: "I believe in the future of print." He must, one might add somewhat casually; after all, Stämpfli Kommunikation manages 150 print publications of varying periodicity for a wide variety of clients. "Most of our customers are print-heavy," Marcel Vogel notes. "But," he adds, "the multi-channel publishing we offer is on the rise."
According to Marcel Vogel, the corona pandemic and its aftermath (cue supply chain problems) played into the hands of this development for several reasons. "First, many became more open about digital media use. Secondly, many discovered that they could open up and expand their reach with online versions, that they were available worldwide and that their articles could be found at any time via Google. And third, there were the strikingly rising paper prices."
Print and online have advantages
If print has advantages such as haptics, refinement, readability, value or deceleration, then online versions have other advantages, according to the digital expert. "I'm thinking, for example, of timeliness, interactivity, unlimited space, availability, durability, measurability, reach or archive search functions."
To enable customers to use the various communication channels as easily as possible, Stämpfli, which is also active in the digital sector, has been offering the EditorBox editorial system since 2008 – as the leading integrator in Switzerland of the Dutch company WoodWing, which offers this solution. According to Marcel Vogel, the media-neutral EditorBox, which is equipped for all eventualities and innovations and is operated by Stämpfli but used by many customers themselves, has two major advantages: "First, it enables customers themselves to produce at the push of a button; second, the production process is system-supported."
"Online will remain a supplement to print in many cases"
Of the more than 70 publications for over 40 customers on the EditorBox, ten have an online magazine of their print product, in some cases enriched with added values such as videos, photo series, charts or links, which is played directly from the EditorBox. Publishers of magazines often exploit their online possibilities to disseminate news of a topical nature between the individual print editions or to measure the readership of their articles and how long people dwell on them. A one-to-one PDF version of the print product on the website can no longer keep up.
Even though Marcel Vogel sees great potential in digital solutions, he is still convinced that online will not completely replace print in the long-run. "It might for some print products, but online and print will continue to complement each other for a long time."
"A printed book is unbeatable for 'deep learning'"
Dorothee Schneider agrees. As managing director of Stämpfli Verlag AG, one of the leading publishers of legal information in Switzerland, she is responsible, among other things, for around 100 printed legal publications each year. The majority are published in German, a good third in French and a few in English. When Stämpfli has the rights to a book, there is also an e-book or e-pub version. And individual keywords – but not entire books – can also be researched for a fee via Swisslex, Switzerland's largest digital legal platform. Nevertheless, Dorothee Schneider is in no doubt "that printed books continue to be of great importance to lawyers."
She sees three primary reasons for this. "First, we are dealing with a relatively value-conservative target audience in the field of jurisprudence. Second, when dealing with a legal dispute, people often pick up several books and compare the various legal commentaries on a case. Third, a printed book with its haptic quality is unbeatable for 'deep learning'. The interaction of hand, eye and brain makes for more thorough learning than starting with an online tool – and in my experience, that's true for all generations."
Digital as an appetizer for print
The corona pandemic, if nothing else, led to a greater proliferation of legal works whose printed editions are each updated with loose-leaf ("what's new?"). Many lawyers bought books because they worked from their home offices and could no longer go to a library. Of course, online versions also have their advantages when it comes to specialist books – for example, for quick searches. On the other hand, according to Dorothee Schneider, digital can also act as an appetizer for print: "Anyone who has done research on Swisslex often buys the cited book afterwards."
The Stämpfli Group
  • The Stämpfli Group AG is at home in the world of printed and electronic media, combines two companies and employs around 360 people at two locations: Berne and Wallisellen in the canton of Zurich. The family-owned company is managed in the sixth generation by brothers Dr. Rudolf Stämpfli and Peter Stämpfli.
  • Stämpfli Verlag AG publishes – in addition to a broad range of print products covering all relevant areas of law (large commentaries, monographs, textbooks, journals and various book series) – digital legal information at www.recht.ch. The second mainstay of Stämpfli Verlag comprises a non-fiction program dedicated to the subject areas of society, biography, art, Bern, mobility and corporate publishing.
  • Stämpfli Kommunikation is a communications agency, Internet agency, IT systems integrator, printing specialist and publishing service provider. Specialists from Stämpfli accompany their customers in the planning and creation of printed and electronic publications. Their core competencies lie in the conception and implementation of magazines, catalogs, annual reports, e-shops, websites, and mobile solutions, as well as in the programming and integration of publishing systems that enable customers to manage their content efficiently and in a media-neutral manner and to create publications themselves automatically.
  • Longstanding partner of Muller Martini: Stämpfli has relied on print finishing systems from Muller Martini for many years. Two Primera E160 Amrys and Prima Amrys saddle stitchers and a KM 610.A perfect binder are in use at the media company's Berne plant.