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Friday, May 2, 2014

Publishing Today is Multidimensional --- AND The Rise of the Shadow Publishing Industry

John R. Austin
Today, successful publishers are no longer one-dimensional, anchored in print and where the main challenge was finding (or creating for books) the information - they must curate that information and present it to the reader/s in the most desired and useful format/s; AND publishers are expected to know about print, digital, mobile, tablet and social media.

Multidimensional? Indeed. And the new publishers' backgrounds are not necessarily in the traditional journalism and publishing areas, but, rather, in the fine arts and drama fields - Can you believe that? Actually, I can - many in the visual and performing arts have great writing skills; coming from articulation talents in one form or the other.

Tonight I am addressing two different but related subjects because they do crossover in areas.

The shadow publishing industry that is popping up is simply the tech, mobile and device companies that are now publishing their own content to entertain and better brand utilizing technology that is better understood, at this point, by 'techies' and others outside the normal writing and publishing channels. Some are hiring experienced writers and editors to produce their content, but these writers/editors must be retrained to a degree --- and some writers/editors do not accept that degree --- depending on how much independence is lost.

It is a very interesting and intriguing (but more demanding) time to be in the publishing industry - as the following two resources will attest.

This by Cassidy Liz in The Daily Pennsylvanian:

In an increasingly digital publishing industry, alums innovate and compete

In 2012, some 600,000 digital subscriptions raised the New York Times' circulation by 40 percent

Key excerpts:

“The challenge before was finding the information. The value [in publishing] now is in curating that information and presenting it in a format that is useful and usable,” Luh said.

"Rachel Gogel, a 2009 College graduate who recently participated in a Penn Traditions’ panel on careers for liberal arts graduates, now serves as the creative director at The New York Times. Gogel, who has previously worked with Travel + Leisure and GQ, believes that the print industry is benefiting from the digital age, rather than dying."

"It is also harder than ever to find work in the publishing industry, she added. “I am where I am today as a result of freelancing, working hard and being open-minded about taking on all sorts of projects in order to build my portfolio,” she said. “Being in the publishing industry doesn’t mean what it used to — you’re expected to know about print, digital, mobile, tablet, social media. It’s no longer one-dimensional. Having a diverse range of experiences will set you apart.”" - Rachel Gogel

“I think people going into publishing hopefully have a very different idea than I did 10 years ago or someone else did 20 years ago,” Palmer said. “If you’re going to work at a traditional magazine now, you have to think about writing for a different media — how are you writing for the web, how are you thinking about the brand and social media?”

“You really do need to kind of brand yourself ... which is really one of the things that drove me away from publishing.” - Lindsey Palmer

Note from John: Yes, today all (successful) authors must 'brand' themselves on the Net and social media to become known and acquire fans who are loyal and want to buy and promote their works to others.

Continue reading here 

And this by D. B. Hebbard in Talking New Media: 

The intersection of publishing and consumer electronics

Key excerpts:

"The first earnings reports of the new year from the big tech companies came out this week (Google was last week) and despite some concern that sales growth would slow they showed that the sector is still strong. Apple, Amazon and Google all came in with solid revenue growth, while Microsoft came in soft, but promised better performance going forward --- In contrast, the publishing world continues, for the most part, to see falling sales. The NYT report was a bright spot, though even the Gray Lady provided guidance that seemed to caution investors – though hopefully they are pulling an Apple and setting themselves up for a “beat” next quarter".

"It is, of course, silly to compare tech with publishing, gadget makers with news makers. But today there is an intersection between the two thanks to mobile, tablets and digital advertising. The devices makers need to continue to broaden the market for their devices to provide publishers with a bigger market for eBooks and digital publications. At the same time, the two sectors compete for digital advertising. It is an odd dance that occurs."

"Unfortunately, while publishing is reliant on the device makers, the same is not as true for the device makers**. Sure, they sell subscriptions and merchandise that are produced by publishers; but more and more they are publishers themselves. Additionally, they are creating a whole new shadow publishing industry, one that I have watched grow up here at TNM these past three years." - D. B. Hebbard

"This new, shadow publishing industry produces digital magazines and eBooks, yet doesn’t see themselves as part of the traditional publishing industry – they don’t belong to the MPA and don’t even know it exists. Many of these digital publishers see the print guys and their new digital products as their competitors. Many digital magazine producers using MagCast or PressPad or even Adobe DPS do not have backgrounds in the publishing world – one reason why many of those inside the industry look at these products and are aghast at their design work --- Art Woo Magazine is probably a good example of this trend. The new magazine launched this week and is available exclusively for iOS and Android devices (the iOS version is live in the Apple Newsstand, the Google Play version will be soon). It is created using PressPad which limits the risk to only a few hundred dollars a month, though forces the magazine to appear under the vendor’s name and allows them to plaster their logo on the app’s icon."


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