Okay, not a thousand, more along the lines of three really good ways to die in print. The world has gone digital and there is nothing we can do to stop it, but embrace it. Print isn’t dead, but it’s not “healthy” either. As the print world seems to have hit its peak, the digital market is bigger than ever. We can blame ourselves for wanting the next big technological device or we can blame the companies that push them on us like the drug kingpins of the digital world that they are, either way, we have to accept that the digital world isn’t going anywhere. So, what makes digital publishing better than print? Is it cheaper? Is it all about looking cool in front of your friends? Or are we as consumers to blame for the decline in print publishing?
- Cheaper. Yes. Why? Because there is no need for the middleman or as we know them, print companies. When printing is out of the way, the cost of making a book goes down, and if the cost of making a product goes down then the price does the same; simple economics. And when big-named internet companies, Amazon, selling both side-by-side offer an e-book version for $3 or less, it’s a no-brainer what readers are going to pick. E-books may have made up only 18% of U.S. books sales in 2012, but the numbers are surely going to double by this time next year.
- Cool. Maybe. From iPads to laptops, the world is digital. Last November a reported 83%-88% of the world’s newspapers and books were offered in some version of digital format. When everyone in the world has a bookshelf in his or her hands, there is no real reason to visit a bookstore, and that’s the sad reality of the state we’re currently occupying. And when your best friends have the latest iPhone, it only makes sense to buy one as well because no one likes to be the odd one out in a world of digitally-captivated citizens.
- What? Us. Yes. We affect the print world and we are subsequently killing it. Why? Because even though only 40% of the U.S. read digitally last year, all of them shared those books electronically with friends and family doubling or even tripling the readership. Is it fair? Probably not, but that is the who we are in today’s society. It is believed that sharing books electronically is illegal, but if you pay for the book and lend it to someone else, is that still illegal? According to a survey, 42% of people who publish books electronically believe it is acceptable to share or copy the content without permission. (By the way, that’s stealing.)
What do I think? It’s simple. I believe in publishing any way you can, but print will always be my favorite because there is nothing like holding a cold hardcover novel in my hands. Digital may be cheaper, it may be the recent trend, and my best friend may read six books on her kindle app a week, but when it comes to publishing; I think I want to leave it in the hands of the very capable print companies. Plus, I would hate to see Benjamin Franklin’s hard work at the printing press in the 1800’s go to waste because digital is so much ‘cooler.’