The Future of Reading

by Rachel Baker on March 9, 2010

There’s an interesting article in this month’s Fortune Magazine titled “The Future of Reading.”  At times it seems more of an advertisement for Apple’s IPad, however, I think its possible the IPad is used as the newest piece of technology that is supposed to be better than anything else as of yet (because its Apple?).  That said, this article has still got some interesting ideas on the future of publishing in regards to magazines, books and newspapers; and the challenges the industry faces in regards to revenue-generating models and the technology possibilities and limitations on the content generators (journalists, writers).

Here are some snippets:

Book publishers, having been tortured by Amazon’s attempts to cut them out, are now running into Apple’s embrace and will soon be hawking their e-books on the iPad, which CEO Jobs unveiled in late January.

Apple’s announcement — the product will be available in late March — already seems to be helping the book business: Apple has said it will let publishers set the price of electronic books for the iPad, something Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) has refused to do for Kindle books. Now Amazon appears to be reconsidering its pricing policy.

Josh Quittner throughout the article seeks to answer the following questions:

  • Question 1: Will anyone be willing to pay for content delivered to a tablet when they can get information for free on the web?
  • Question 2: But aren’t tablets just a better way to browse the web?
  • Question 3: Reading? Reading is dead.
  • Question 4: How will tablet-based ads work better than the web?
  • Question 5: Can traditional publishing companies reorganize and move fast enough to embrace and serve new platforms?

In the middle of the article is a link for what “10 media and tech luminaries think” about the future of print.  These thoughts come from people such as Kurt Anderson (Novelist and public radio host),  Publisher, Jimmy Wales (Founder, Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia), Paul LeClerc (President and CEO, New York Public Library), Kevin Rose (Founder, Digg), Matt Mullenweg (Founding developer, WordPress).

Jeannette Walls (Author, The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses) said in her interview:

For those of us who produce words and have ownership over those words, there’s a big question about how we stay in business, but I believe that will work itself out. For those who love access to information and trading information, these new outlets and devices are great. More people than ever will have efficient access to the written word.

I still can’t help but wonder how long before you can only get new books in digital format only.  I suspect from the author’s point of view, publishing in e-book format only will be a much less expensive venture than it is to print in book format.  I do not know how this will translate into revenue for the publishing houses, but I certainly think it will be interesting to see how the book publishing industry stands up to the challenge.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Amazon Wish ListEvernoteFlipboardInstapaperNewsVineSpringpadWordPressTypePad PostStumbleUponLiveJournalPocketRedditShare

Previous post:

Next post: