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Some 250 association publishers have gathered here this week for the Society of National Association Publications’ annual conference. And while social media was clearly on the minds of many during the pre-conference workshop, the morning sessions today emphasized the advancement of print and digital editions.

According to Glenn Cook, American School Board Journal’s editor-in-chief, print will eventually become “the new vinyl.” Despite the evaporation of its paid circ model, which has cut into his publication’s market, “people still want long-form and crave the full body, tactile print experience,” Cook said.

While association publishers need to accept that print may evolve into a niche market, he said, it doesn’t mean they should stop producing print products. “They just need to be very targeted,” Cook said.

Cook later had a spirited debate with Smarter Media Sales president Josh Gordon about free versus paid content online. Gordon said publishers should “win the search engine war by aggregating content.” Cook recommended posting “a few paragraphs” for free online, then charge a fee for access to the entire story.

Tina Hay, editor of the Penn Stater, said association editors should assume readers are developing the same online reading habits for print. "Assume that when people pick up a magazine, they don’t intend to read it," she said. "Good points of entry,” like short headlines, decks and captions, “turn skimmers into readers."

Live SNAP conference highlights can be found at