INTERNET BUZZ: Video Yearbooks replacing Traditional Books?

My “google alert” on yearbook blogs brought this post to my attention. It is written by the spouse of a nationally-award-winning adviser who argues the point that video yearbooks will replace traditional books eventually. It is very well written with some very valid points. You can read the entire post yourself at this link:

Here is a summary of some his main points:

  • Video yearbooks are free
  • Video yearbooks can be easily distributed
  • If you lose your video yearbook, you can easily obtain another one

Yes, all of those points are true. However, we have to look at whether a video yearbook can replace ALL of the benefits of a printed yearbook. Since I already explained my point about this in a previous post about Social Network Sites replacing yearbooks, I won’t go into detail again here. You can read the other post by clicking here.

But here are a couple of points I’d like to make in defense of the printed book vs. the video yearbook:

  • Everyone in the school is in a printed yearbook. It is not just about capturing highlights of certain events (as in a video yearbook). It’s a reference tool. Printed yearbooks list every student in every grade (and club… and team…). Can you imagine them trying to do that in video format? How boring would that be?
  • Video yearbooks do not allow behind the scenes coverage and commentary that printed books do (or at least well-written ones). Just like movies, video yearbooks can only capture what can be seen. That’s why I always prefer the book version over the movie version of the same book. The book always gives additional insight into the thoughts and characters of the story. A printed yearbook can do the same; although not every school takes advantage of this.
  • (As the author’s wife points out in his post,) Video yearbooks cannot be autographed. And if you ask most yearbook owners after they graduate, it’s the signatures and messages that are the most sentimental.

As I said in my other post, this kind of panic seems to arrise every time new technology is introduced. See below…


This article was printed in 1930, and I’m pretty sure notebooks are still around.


Video yearbooks can’t replace traditional yearbooks. They make great supplements, but they can’t replace them. However, are traditional yearbooks losing sales to video yearbooks? I have no real statistics, but I can guess that yes, they probably are. However, this is because students believe video yearbooks can replace traditional ones, and they are the consumer.

So does the yearbook industry have a problem? Yes. The solution? We need to convince students of the value of a printed yearbook. As a former English teacher, I know that this is just about as difficult as convincing them that the book is better than the movie. But if JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer can do it, so can we! (but without filling our books with witches and vampires)

Do you have an opinion? I’d love to hear it? Leave us a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *