What IS the future of print publishing?

Sitting watching my sons play at a local McDonald’s PlayPlace I came across this post regarding the magazine industry. While I don’t have a crystal ball on this industry, I find one of the conclusions drawn in Gizmodo’s article to be well… less than fair? (not sure if that is actually the word I want to use, but I cannot come up with another one…)

A large part of the problem? Apple’s refusal to offer anything resembling a traditional subscription service, instead forcing readers to buy each issue individually. Whether it’s this inconvenience, lackluster content, general reader ennui, or some malignant swirl of the three is unclear. But Apple sure isn’t giving mags the help they could.

What "help" should Apple (a device manufacturer) provide to a separate industry? If anything they have a symbiotic relationship. If the device does not have desirable content, no one will buy it. Regardless if the content is there, if it is a struggle to use a device, no one will buy it… To simplify the publishing industries issues down to it is Apple’s fault is very disingenuous in the least.

The publishing industry has been struggling for years, while the iPad has been around for less than a year. Additionally, digital devices like the iPad, kindle, nook, and more have really provided a possible horizon for an industry in collapse to sail into… IF they choose to. Many have written, asking the question, “Will the iPad save magazines? Or save publishing? and many feel that “device” is not the savior of an industry…

If you click through the links here, you will see that I reference newspapers, magazine, and book publishing… All are have issues, and the problem isn’t delivery tool, it is their business model and practices. However, it takes a herculean effort to change any institution especially one more than a hundred years old… Let me ask this question: When you think about purchasing books, what are the top 3 companies / places that come to mind? Was one of them Amazon? It took Jeff Bezos over a decade to get Amazon profitable…

The original business model was simply to be a middle man (website) linking a reader to a company, store, or publisher so a purchase could be made… Sounds simple. Build a great website and like buyer and seller together then take a small cut off the top. However, when Amazon began to execute successfully and those links were made, the sellers fell down on distribution… But, the buyers didn’t care who the actual seller was, it was “Amazon” who they felt “sold” them the book, and who they wanted to hold accountable… Jeff had two choices, folded up shop or take responsibility for the entire process… Amazon spent years redefining itself, building out a world class distribution and warehouse facilities. Almost 15 years later, Amazon is where most people go for almost ANY product they are looking to purchase. Even if it is only to get a baseline idea for local price comparison… While this comparison gets a little shaky on the basis of a single company versus an industry, The facts are very similar. Change and adapt or die. The publishing industry needs pioneers and visionaries like Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch and to look in mirror and ask themselves: What are we willing going to do to survive in a mobile world?

While I am sure negotiations are on going regarding subscription services through iTunes (capable to reach the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) are still undergoing, as well as some other cloud based surprises when Apple’s new data centre comes online in January. However, with the advent of in-app purchases, there are avenues for publishers to provide a better interim solution… But, and it is a big BUT the publishing industry needs to re-think it’s position, paradigm, and business model as opposed to ignoring the changes in the world or attempting to maintain the status quo…

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Crystal Point Dr,Crystal Lake,United States

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One thought on “What IS the future of print publishing?

  1. Pingback: eBooks: How to Free and Consolidate your Digital Library « VanishingPoint

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