Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Publishers and Digital Content

Duncan Stewart, Director of Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT), Life Sciences and GreenTech for Deloitte Canada Research, has written an article for The Globe and Mail (a Canadian news site) titled Publishers of digital content face uphill battle; then proceeds to show the opposite in the body of the article!

At least he does so in this writers humble opinion.

Duncan begins by pointing out how the brick-and-mortar-ink-on-paper publishing industry has had a bad time due to digital innovation during the last few years (he is an ink-on-paper book fan)…Then, through relating his own very formidable reading habits while on a business trip for Deloitte in France, Belgium and Turkey, details how he reluctantly began reading much more accessable digital content.

Sounds like publishers of digital content just may be on the downhill side of any battle. He does touch on digital publishers’ dissatisfaction with some of the evolving digital distributors’ pricing models for subscriptions, etc…but, these kinks will all flush out with the oncoming deluge of more keen competition…Just growing pains.

The point is, digital publishing has arrived and is gobbling up market share.

Don’t get me wrong, I still feel that ink-on-paper books will always be with us…as will (mostly indy) bookstores…Just as one of many other players on the block and with totally revamped and more efficient distribution models (such as POD, more tech paper, etc).

Here then is Duncan Stewart’s fine piece, Publishers of digital content face uphill battle:    

The publishing industry has not been having fun in the last few years. Newspapers, magazines and books were hurt by competition from the Internet and the changes caused by consumers choosing digital content rather than traditional ink on paper. The industry has literally been decimated: roughly one in ten developed world publishers from 2006 isn’t even around any more.

With two of the world’s largest tech companies, Apple and Google, wooing them with new subscription pricing plans last week, one might think their business is about to get better.

One would be wrong, listening to the publishers’ comments in the press.

Before we get to that, let me share a story about my recent travels and reading habits. For the last two weeks I was giving a series of Predictions talks for Deloitte in France, Belgium and Turkey: trains, planes, and my suitcases were already close to 23 kilos! On only my third day, I finished the last book I had packed, and snagged the last Stieg Larsson book and David Mitchell’s latest, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet at Gagliani, a great English language bookstore in Paris.

By Turkey, I had finished those and English bookstores were not to be found. Although I am old fashioned and prefer paper books, my iPad was starting to look like the best, or at least the only, choice. In the mood for some trashy thrillers, I saw that Alistair Maclean’s entire oeuvre (if one can use that word about his novels) was available as eBooks.

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