Future of Publishing, Part 1: E-books and apps gain major steam in digital publishing push


The next couple of blog articles will focus on exploring a topic that is close to many people and which seems to be on many peoples’ minds in the industry of publishing.

We are in the middle of a great transition, regardless if it’s apparent to many on a day-to-day basis. Mobile designers and developers and fully aware of this, but these articles will attempt to recap some recent pivotal updates on this topic

The habits of reading published materials has shifted from readers regularly reading printed news and books to digital copies of the same publication. We constantly see Chicagoans waiting for trains or buses looking down at their mobile phones, or e-readers in order to pass the time as their transportation is late. It's obvious at times how popular these mobile devices are with people.

According to many sources, including the LA Times, Amazon.com announced that it sells more Kindle E-books than print books, and that number is steadily rising every day. The number is for every 100 books sold, 105 Kindle E-books are sold, according to the article. Besides Amazon.com, the entire E-book industry sales have tripled.

Amazon is bringing even more attention to the mobile reading and computing arena and making things even easier for this transition by recently releasing an Amazon appstore for Android mobile devices. This means that Amazon now sells digital books and apps from anywhere your mobile device has service, and you can even download the Kobo E-reading app among others. The possibilities in freedom of choice on E-readers seems endless, and with all these options for being able to buy, read and use E-books and apps anywhere, who wouldn't find the added convenience of digital everything attractive?

Many parts of the country still rely on published newspapers, but slowly but surely many are seeing the advantages of digital news and books over paper. For those who love traditional books, though, don't fear. It is probable that paper published books and newspapers will still continue to be around for several years alongside their digital print copy. Most probable is that both industries will probably supplement themselves, for those products which see is advantageous to have a print and digital copy supplement.

However, some traditionalists who feel complete nostalgia for printed books and papers may need to be convinced that digital reading will bring many good things to the table. So far, it may feel bad or wrong to see paper magazines and newspapers not being printed as much as previous years. If one sees only the bad things, like the closing of their favorite bookstores, and the closing or shrinking of their local newspaper, they are only seeing half the story, though.

Change can be difficult to embrace when major pieces of our culture transitions with major advancements in technology, but eventually it can and will be a positive thing for people to read a majority of publications on digital readers.

Think of the green movement, and how the plethora of newspapers and books currently printed en-mass will slowly decrease, saving trees and natural resources needed to get simply the daily news out the door every day. It's currently under question exactly how green current E-readers are, though there is little doubt that the technology companies will continue to pursue a greener quality to reduce waste.

Some things are also still in question on how well the E-book pricing plans are for consumers. The current prices seem high, especially when only a digital copy is just transferred. Though according to paidContent, some mid-size publishers, such as Tyndale, are experimenting with E-book pricing and sale deals for the Amazon Kindle. It's also questionable how much freedom over that digital copy a person might have with it after owning it without having to sign license.

There are many positives and some negatives to publishing changes happening now, so this is why it is so important for awareness and discussion on the digital publishing transition needs to be ongoing as it happens.

The digital transition also has opened the door to self-publishing. This allows great freedom for anyone to publish their books or applications with ease. Gone are the days of having to wait and be accepted by publishers in order to be published. Amazon.com is one such major service that has introduced plans for getting your works self-published. Take a look at their program details for further specific information on that.

The door is open for anyone to self-publish their own books, applications and games and send them to the online markets for sale. So what's holding you back? The next wave of publishing is upon us right now, and never before has it reached this level of freedom. Get to finishing that book now!

So as we've seen, there are many positive effects for this change. One big concern still remains for the book publishing industry, and that lies with the bookstores. More and more continue to close, it seems, daily.

However, one key point remains to be discussed. That many people often seek a physical, community setting in which to explore the newest cultural and past classical books. For many, this is the reason for reading in the first place: To learn more about humanity and to engage in conversation about the topics contained within the pages of those books. The books themselves represent a conversation that must take place within a society.

So then, what happens when, and if, all books become digital and no longer have a physical place and presence? What will happen if books as well as libraries have increasingly less and less need, to the point of closure for them as well? Will this even happen? The questions of the digital transition go on and on, but this can indeed be seen as a good thing. An advancement, a step forward for humanity's reading culture is in a popular season of discussions now.

Part Two of this exploration on the ongoing digital transition will continue with this idea of self-publishing, and will end with a look at possible solutions and an innovative idea that could possibly bring E-books and book selling business back to the physical bookstore spaces, along with some image renderings for a new Bookstore of the Future idea that can merge the digital and physical into one harmonious combination.

Be sure to read more soon here at "Media Tech Connection" for an explanation of this, and a continuation of this series in the next weeks. This is also an open, ongoing conversation so be sure to add your comments!

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