Someone really high up on the “food chain” of Publishing once told me that it won’t be long before the Publishing Industry that we know of will soon become a strange new world, and what’s more, we will love the journey as well as the makeover!
But I was just a teenager back then, and I dismissed his words. It wasn’t until I started my classes at the publishing school when I realized the sanctity of what he had meant. The Publishing Industry is indeed undergoing a change, evolving, experimenting, growing, taking in new trends and technologies to reveal a side we didn’t anticipate. It’s a rather hyped concept that the Publishing Industry is dying, this industry that has been around for centuries can’t die overnight, or die at all. But what’s really happening is that we are embracing it in a whole new form, without even realizing it. The Publishing Industry isn’t dying, it’s simply evolving int something much larger than just paperbacks and physical bookstores, it’s growing from an industry with boundaries into a vast ocean of infinite possibilities and prospects.
While it was unthinkable two decades ago to move around with more than 2-3 books while you were travelling, now you have the option to take an entire library with you wherever you go. The introduction of new platforms brought about a drastic change in a sleepy industry that has seen very little change other than the evolution of printing technologies and paper. The change of platform has induced a shocking change in the traditional infrastructure, and now everyone out there is seeking new ways to make the reading experience not only a delightful one, but a technology-friendly, cost-effective system without compromising on the quality of reading.
When what to publish remains a debatable issue as always, where to publish and how to publish have become playgrounds. Today, publishers have the option to release a book on the digital platform and still get enough readers to boost the sales along with the traditional printing on paper. There is a growing demand for eBooks, thanks to the advent of eReaders. The digital platform comes with too many advantages in this time and day than ever before. This new child in the block doesn’t require space for the published material, thus eliminating the concept of a warehouse; doesn’t need the establishment of a printing press, and doesn’t require a traditional distribution channel for the books that must be sold. The publisher doesn’t need to worry about anything other than the technology required to get a perfectly designed, edited and finished eBook out there. The mode of distribution has gone from physical to purely electronic, and for the better.
Today, a book is more about playing with the content, and an eBook only opens up more options. eBook enhancements such as multimedia content (audio and video) make the material more dynamic. Although embedded media files are only supported by a handful of systems such as the 2nd Gen Kindle Fire, Apple iBooks, Fire HD tabs, and Barnes & Noble Nook tablets, but the demand for a versatile eReader is growing, and more systems will have the facilities soon, in the times to come.
When you give an audience a new platform to explore, expectations come with it. It’s essential to be aware of the latest trends in visual designing. A visually attractive and engaging look will get the attention of readers more than just engaging content. Like I said, content is another issue altogether. If you are a publisher who is willing to trade in the waters of digital industry, be a design-oriented publisher, go for high-end finished visuals because that’s going to take your company a long way.
Digital publishing not only gives the readers a much more global experience when reading because now they have content that they can share, bookmark, make digital notes and add a personalized touch to it in ways that they could never do with a physical book. Data analysis, digital designing, IT and visual designing have become integral parts of this new thriving industry and all we need to do is come up with more adaptive hardware that can support the features a modern reader wants.
Traditional publishing is undergoing major changes, the sales of books dropping from $5.2billion to 5 billion in a span of 4 years (2008-2012) while the eBook market increased from $64million to $3billion. Since the eBooks are priced much lower than physical books, the profit margins are something to look out for. That’s the boom in publishing the experts visioned about. With most major newspapers taking on a digital face in the last few years across the world, the demand for physical copies of newspapers slowly decreasing, the changes in the publishing world was bound to be the next thing.
So the next time someone tells you that Traditional publishing is a dying industry, make sure you introduce them to its little brother – the brand new world of Digital publishing!