A potential client (who is in the beginning stages of a very interesting start up/expansion) has asked that I answer the Question of the Month here on the inter-webs.
Here is HyperInk’s Question of the Month, along with my answer.
We’re in the thick of publishing’s future now. What I mean is that we’ve gone beyond the “I think publishing is going to slide 100% to the ‘dark side’ (digital),” and are actually now on the downward slope of that- it’s already decided. The future of publishing is definitely digital … with a caveat.
That caveat is this: paper is not obsolete, and probably will not be in our lifetime. There are enough bibliophiles out there who will effectively balance that “slide.” I may be one of them. Those of us who adore books aren’t likely to ditch our well-worn copies of Neruda and Austen anytime soon. Heck, I just got the option of having the New York Times delivered to my small city in Michigan (finally!!). I’m excited for that print copy. I’ve been waiting. I’m not going back to my laptop Times for a while!
But thinking about these bibliophiles who will preserve the balance is a U.S.-centric opinion, isn’t it? Let’s take another step back and look globally. Let’s be honest about this. What percentage of the world’s population has true access to digital publishing? And I’m not even talking about fill-in-the-blank third world country. I’m talking about those populations who are not in the (?) 5% of first-world populations that can drop $79-$800 on an e-reader or laptop. I’m talking about your neighbor. Your colleague. Your co-worker, dear citizen. There is plenty of population world wide, and right here in the U.S. that will continue to garner their copy from print, and therefore ensure the balance of digital/print for at least 10 years to come.
Yes, the future of publishing is in this homeostasis between print and digital, and we’re lucky enough to be living in times which allow us to experience both.