Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Way of the Publishing Dodo

Reclaimed By Nature
There are those who say the printed word will go the way of the Dodo; that books will end up like vinyl albums, cassettes and VHS tapes. I think ebooks will continue to evolve in the digital sphere but we will keep printed books as our perpetual back-up system.

Perhaps that's just my sci-fi/urban fantasy-loving mind fictionalizing the future of an industry I love but I truly see an immediate future where both digital assets and printed resources are available for all. Will this mean a decrease in the production of printed material? Yes, but not their complete eradication. At least, not in this decade.

I suppose this picture is what most people see when they hear about the evolution of the publishing industry. I've never been a supporter of that mentality though. Digital is where I believe we are headed, but print is far from annihilation. For every supporter of the digital evolution I come across, I find one fervent advocate for traditional print publishing. The fight between what the best method of publication is will likely to continue for several years but neither side is really "right" or "wrong". The preferred method of content delivery for one person can be vastly different from another. For example, I prefer to purchase my eBooks via my Kindle app and get very frustrated when the book I want is not available on the Kindle. While I don't mind going to the publisher's website, purchasing the PDF and uploading it to my iBooks app on my iPad, I like how the books "look" on the Kindle. Fonts and formatting are a huge part of the enjoyment of the book for me. I know others who only purchase their eBooks directly from the publisher website. Different strokes for different folks. But I suppose that's a topic for another day.