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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Publishing Not Evolving -- It's Going Away

Gone With The Wind ?
So says Clay Shirky, a professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU.

"Publishing is not a job anymore. It's a button. There's a button that says `publish,' and when you press it, it's done.'' This also attributed to professor Clay Shirky.

I love both of these statements :)

The publishing industry is definitely morphing into something totally unrecognizable, but into what?

I believe that all the big and little digital screens that more and more people are reading on are just a way station in a longer journey to some as yet undiscovered reading media.

Jason Magder, Canada.com, gives us a peek into a possible future state of (what used to be called) publishing:

What will become of publishing industry now that anyone can do it?

When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 15th century, it was a marvel of modern technology.

Publishing became a major industry, as books, newspapers and magazines were the primary means for ideas to be shared.

Today, publishing is in everyone's power: anyone can write their opinion on Facebook, start a blog, shoot a video or even put together an online newspaper - with instant access to a mass audience.

``Publishing is not evolving. Publishing is going away,'' argues Clay Shirky, a professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. ``Because the word `publishing' means a cadre of professionals who are taking on the incredible difficulty and complexity and expense of making something public. That's not a job anymore. That's a button. There's a button that says `publish,' and when you press it, it's done.''

With publishing gone, the post-publishing era means reading will be done on screens, from iPads to Kindles, smartphones and perhaps one day eyeglasses, with Google working on a prototype to bring the Net to your bifocals.

In this era, the dinosaurs of publishing - newspapers, magazines and books - have not yet figured out what role they will play.

That's why when the iPad came out two years ago, followed by a multitude of tablets, many hailed it as the shot in the arm newspapers needed. By creating their own applications, newspapers can once again do what they do best: create informational packages in an easy-to-read format. But with more resources being poured in to create iPad or Android tablet editions, will the new newspapers simply become apps? Can tablets alone save the industry?

Ken Doctor, a former executive with Knight Ridder newspapers, believes tablets can help newspapers make the transition away from ink and paper. Now an industry analyst, he said tablets have helped to bring about a shift in the mentalities of readers, making it acceptable to pay for news.

``Kind of by historical coincidence, the tablet came out at the same time newspapers started experimenting with paywalls,'' Doctor said.

He said many newspaper companies have been able to use their tablet editions as selling points for digital subscriptions, or print subscriptions that include digital access.

Read and learn more

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