Posted tagged ‘ebook’

Some Cheese for that Whine… Newspapers (Part 1): Changing Distribution

February 28, 2009

dog-newspaper-21I recently finished a series of “Some cheese for that whine” on the book industry. Now, it’s time to turn our focus to an arguably more doomed industry: the newspaper industry. There are a lot of major issues facing the news world today, and competing with the internet is among the most demanding.

The image of a young boy with a baseball cap, riding a bike with a satchel of newspapers is a pretty American image – but the movement toward digital media may mean no more newspaper boys, and no more having fido fetch the paper (though who gets to tell them they’re fired?)

Newspapers have been threatened before. They were said to be doomed with the birth of radio… and again with the birth of TV. However, this time is different.

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Can’t we all just be friends?

February 2, 2009

As a advocate of digital media, I wanted to stand up for ebooks and digital magazines. Before you think I’m unloyal to print products, I don’t necessarily think they need to compete – I think they can serve different needs in our everyday lives, and that there is a place for both digital and print products. I think like so many other things, new technology and the printed word are at opposite ends of a pendulum, and right now it is swinging toward digital, but eventually it will settle in the middle.

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The Book Industry is NOT the music industry.

November 11, 2008

I’m getting tired of people saying that the book industry has the advantage of seeing what happened when the music industry went digital, or that the book industry is going the way of the music industry because of the digital revolution. The two are not really so alike. Yes, both are/were threatened by their impeding digitalization. But that’s just about where the similarities end.

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Print in a Digital World

August 4, 2008

Sony’s eBook reader and Amazon’s Kindle are evidence that the publishing industry sees the need to convert to digital. However, what are the newspaper and magazine industries doing to adapt?

Well, according to The International Herald Tribune, newspaper publishers in France are testing a new device – Read & Go – it comes in a black rectangular box with a screen half the size of a sheet of copy paper and links to several French newspapers, with black on gray type mimicking ink on newsprint.

There are two problems I see with this – although I think it is a HUGE step in the right direction. We had someone in to talk to our Financial Aspects of Publishing Class last fall from a major paper and we discussed this possibility. However, he said it would never go over with advertisers because they want the same size ads, and essentially this is cutting down their ad size. It is also worth noting that the Kindle already allows downloads of 19 newspapers from around the world (and will soon be available in non-US markets). Unlike the Kindle, the Read & Go includes ads, but the article doesn’t mention how advertisers will take the size change. It is assumed they will be added to the electronic version without eliminating them from the print, and the Read & Go is still in the testing phase, so they may not know yet.

The second problem I see with this is people like newspapers because they are flexible. You can fold them up and toss them in your bag – you don’t have to worry if you leave them on the train; etc. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m very much in favor of newspapers going digital. I just think that it probably won’t go mainstream unless either they develop a large (so ads aren’t resized) digital paper that can be folded without breaking its screen or a major newspaper publisher provides their subscribers with a copy each, that automatically updates whichever papers the person subscribes to. Or both.

The advantage should, say, the New York Times adopt this method, is that subscribers could leave it in their bag – they would still get it delivered to their device; they wouldn’t miss a day’s paper because they were traveling or out-of-town. The disadvantage is they wouldn’t be able to clip out articles – although that would provide a new reason to post the article archives on the web, and might even drive up archive sales.

Even Esquire is adopting E-ink; their new anniversary cover, for their September issue reportedly will flash “the 21st century begins now.” This seems to indicate that magazines too will eventually push into the new technology.