ecause every publication I have ever been associated withwas produced with computers, I have spent my entire careerwondering i we would always be publishing with ink andpaper. Unlike most publishing proessionals o my generation, I wasnever bonded to the idea o chewing up pulp. Although I have notimerames in mind or going totally digital with
, I could end up making this decision beore I retire withthe last o the baby boomers. “We’ll do print as long as it makessense” is the mantra espoused by many in today’s publishing indus-try. For many, it’s no longer about
digital will becomedominant over traditional print.Five months prior to this writing, we began phasing out our online.pd edition o
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in avor o the high-reso-lution Adobe Flash digital ormat. So ar, wehave cultivated additional online readers equalto about 15 percent o our print distribution,and this total continues to increase over time.Tis impressed me because current platormsor “ip-page” magazines require readers tonavigate and zoom through vertically designedmagazine pages on their horizontal computerscreens. Despite this and other limitations inusing conventional computers as portable read-ing devices, a core segment o computer usersare choosing to read digital publications. In act,some publishers are producing horizontally de-signed versions o their print publications oreasy viewing on conventional computer displayscreens. And this is just the beginning.
Print Publishers Largely Divided onthe Impact of Digital Publishing
I recently participated in an online discussion with publishingproessionals rom around the United States on their experienceswith digital publishing. Te general consensus is digital will play asignicant role in our uture, but how much impact it will have or i it will at some point eliminate print is hotly debated.First, even though signicant reader gains have been made be-cause these readers are coming rom the World Wide Web it is di-cult to qualiy them to know i they are relevant to a particularpublication’s print display advertisers. In act, the “paper deenders”point out there is no collected data indicating print advertisers willbuy more because a publication is available online as a digital ip-magazine. I personally take this observation with a grain o salt be-cause print publishers made similar justications or ignoring theimpact o the Internet. Tey were stunned when entire classes o traditional display advertising migrated online and stayed there.
Digital Publishing Makes Magazines Greener!
By David Whitehead
Forward-thinking publishers understand the obvious potential orthis technology to catch on in a big way. Tere are also premiumpublication platorms that do track the ull range o reader statis-tics. ZMags, a Boston-based company, asserts that publishers areusing their advanced platorm to qualiy readers, earn revenue andknow the cost/revenue ratios o the digital magazines in relation tothe numbers o online readers.
Te Next echnology Wave Poisedto Rock Print Publishing
What’s urther troubled traditional publishers already coping withthe worst crisis to hit our industry in decades is a new technologythat could make digital ormats the dominant publication media inthe not-too-distant uture.A new gadget hit technology consumers witha whisper while creating lively debate in theprint publishing community. It’s an e-bookreader called the Amazon Kindle. Marketedby Amazon.com, this device at rst glancelooks like a simple gizmo donning a small ver-tical screen with a typing keypad below it anda ew simple navigation buttons on the sides.I’ve seen ashier calculators, but like the un-assuming iPod, this device packs tremendouspower that will undoubtedly have a transor-mative impact on print publishers.What has drawn the ire o our industry pa-per pushers is its screen technology. Ratherthan using a traditional Liquid Crystal Dis-play (LCD) screen, it uses a new electropho-retic technology delivering print-sharp screenresolution that does not require battery-consuming backlighting.Conventional LCD screens are assembled mostly by hand throughan expensive bulk manuacturing process that must be conductedin a sterile environment. In act, the limitations o LCD technologyhave somewhat stymied the evolution o personal computers andother electronic devices. At least it has until now.Te newer generation screen displays will roll o the productionlines with a process similar to printing. Tey will be much cheaperto produce, lighter, can run or about a week on a battery charge, andare seen clearly without glare in bright sunlight. Advanced versionso new-generation screen technology are expected to be thin andexible. Imagine a magazine-sized screen that can be rolled up likea scroll and tucked away in your pocket. Some people are alreadycalling this “electric paper.” Sprint recently started an ad campaign toprep cell phone users or the paper-liberating devices to come.
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