As it has been widely reported, the traditional publishing industry is dying in America. Small publications such as town newspapers and niche magazines were the first to go, but in recent years, even major newspapers have filed for bankruptcy, ceased publication and then closed down. In part, this trend is due to the current economic recession, which has led everyone to cut back on expenses that they don’t feel are necessary. Before the recession even began, however, publications were already struggling as people began to read their news online instead of in print. It’s unlikely that the publishing industry will ever be as big as it used to be or employ as many people as it used to, but thanks to the increasing availability of wireless internet, the publishing industry can find a new home online.Most newspapers and magazines have been offering content online for several years. Some publications require additional subscriptions in order to view all of the content that is available online, but many publications simply earn all of their revenue from online advertising. Somehow, publishers have been unable to earn as much money from online ads as they used to from print ads, but that is likely to change as more and more people read their news online. Wireless internet service is available nearly everywhere these days, and its increased availability has led to the proliferation of smartphones and laptops, which both enable users to get online. Whenever people have downtime during their days, many of them use their gadgets to read the news online, and those brief moments give publishers the opportunity to earn the advertising dollars they need.Although it seems unlikely that online publications will ever be able to earn as many advertising dollars as print publications did in the past, there are still numerous advantages to publishing things online. For one thing, expenses are much lower online than they are in print. If a publisher doesn’t have to literally print something on paper, then they can save a lot of money that would have been spent on the printing process. That savings gets passed onto readers, who no longer pay for magazines or papers, and since the content is now free to them and easy to reach with wireless internet access, readers will consume more writing than they would have before. Readers will visit the websites of newspapers and magazines more frequently than they would have bought publications in the past, and the increased traffic will push up the advertising revenue that publishers can earn.In addition to newspapers and magazines, book publishers have also been greatly affected by rapidly changing technologies. These days, fewer books are being physically printed on paper as people have begun to use electronic reading devices. E-readers connect to wireless internet networks and enable Americans to quickly download books wherever they are. Those devices continue to become much more popular as Wi-Fi speeds increase, and recently, fourth generation (4G) Wi-Fi service has been released. This new service is impressively four times faster than older Wi-Fi networks. For eBook publishers and customers, that helps the business as it is now four times faster for customers to select and download the next book they want to read.
If you want to see a traditional print publisher explode all you need to do is say “Print publishing is dead; it’s just old fashioned editors that are keeping it on a life support system!”I don’t actually believe print is dead, but its fun watching the reaction.Indeed online publishing should be a natural extension of traditional newsletter, newspaper and magazine publishing, but many of the publishers look at the web as it is persistent and unwanted veruca, which they can’t get rid of.And they never will be able to get rid of it!The web is here to stay and it will start eating more and more of the traditional publishers lunch…..and here are some of the reasons why.If you are a traditional print publisher please take note.
Low cost of delivery at a time when postage and physical distribution costs are rising
No typesetting and printing costs. Editors and contributors can add articles and comments directly to the website as they are written
Archives of content can easily be made available in a simple, searchable format, adding great value for subscribers. Print publication readers rarely archive old magazines and newsletter as they are difficult to search, so the value of the information is quickly lost
Ability to constantly update and refresh content. No need to be restricted by publication dates. These opens up new areas of content that would previously not been possible. E.g. breaking news, investment advice, etc.
Online membership administration can be completely automated, avoiding the need for costly manual processing of cheques, standing orders, direct debits, etc.
Members can interact with each other through online discussion forums; this interaction creates a sense of community and engenders greater loyalty
Global reach enables niche subject areas to become commercially viable at little extra cost
Content can be provided in multimedia formats including audio and video. Podcasts are becoming an important way of distributing information
Different membership offers can be easily tested, tracked and tweaked
The publisher can observe in real-time what areas of the site are most popular and use this market intelligence to continually improve the offering. Print publishers have no idea what articles subscribers read and value
A website is always on and always available wherever a reader is
The cost of marketing will be reduced as the search engines starting listing a site on the search results pages
New members get instant gratification. They can sign up and be reading the very latest information within minutes
To finish off with I will leave you with a quote from one of the most powerful and influential publishers in the world, Rupert Murdoch:”I believe we are at the dawn of a golden age of information – an empire of new knowledge. It is difficult – indeed dangerous – to underestimate the huge changes this revolution will bring to print media or the power of developing technologies to build and destroy companies””Companies that expect a glorious past in print to shield them from the forces of change driven by advancing technology will fail and fall.”