Monday, May 04, 2009

The Next Big Thing—

I have devoted several blog posts to technology, especially eBooks and devices which read them, because I really do believe that is the future of publishing. Around the country, newspaper subscriptions are falling, indeed in some cases, plummeting. A variety of factors have contributed to the demise of newspapers, but the bottom line is that they have an old-fashioned business model, and without substantial change, they will not survive.

Reasons for the change from print to electronic publications vary, but instant access, portability, and a vast array of products are all cited as aspects which are beginning to lure consumers away from bricks and mortar book sellers.

Amazon.com has stepped up the transition with its reader, the Kindle, and ebook vendor Fictionwise was purchased by Barnes and Noble recently. During my holiday shopping late last year, I was in a Books a Million, and one of their sales people was circulating through the store, showing off the Sony reader and handing out flyers.

Newspapers are going through a great deal of change; the Atlanta Journal Constitution sent their ultra-liberal editorial director to Washington, DC, and downsized the paper. Other newspapers with a large market have consolidated or disappeared altogether. Some local papers are doing better, due to a lack of competition, but just being small and local does not mean instant success.

Conversely, a number of smaller book publishers who specialized in eBooks have also folded, as larger publishers have embraced epublishing.

Like most transitions, this one won't happen overnight. Electronic publishing does continue to experience revenue growth, in a time when recession has struck so many industries. Avid readers should keep abreast of developments in electronic publishing, because print media is gradually fading away.

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