Publishing in the Digital Era [Infographic]

Everything’s changed in the Digital Age, and that includes publishing, as this infographic points out.

When past generations read paper books, magazines and newspapers, it looks like reading will gradually shift to electronic devices.


The most favored devices will be Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle reader. The electronic publishing market is expected to grow 15-20 percent by 2015. Five percent of all books sold today are e-books. Most buyers are affluent males in their 20s and 30s. The biggest markets are Korea, the U.S. and France.

Although the e-book market is expected to grow in the next few years, there are still a few major barriers to adoption. The biggest hurdle is that a lot of people, myself included, are reluctant to give up “the paper experience.” For one thing, it’s hard to impress people by reading “Infinite Jest,” with  1,079 pages (including footnotes) on a thin e-reader. Paper books also don’t need batteries to run, and if you spill coffee on one, you’re usually only out for at most 20 bucks, unless it’s a college textbook. The other barriers include the cost of devices, and the fact that looking at screens for a long time can be uncomfortable.

How will newspapers and magazines fare under the shift from paper to digital? I don’t have to tell you how much money the newspapers are hemorrhaging as their readers abandon them for electronic media. But there is a ray of light in these statistics. Among the people who still actually pay money for their news, 43 percent are willing to pay for local news, and 36 percent are willing to pay for investigative reporting, which has been one of old media’s greatest strengths. Only 7 percent are willing to pay for classified ads, which has been one of the newspaper industry’s biggest moneymakers before Craigslist came along. Still, 89 percent of people only read the free versions of online newspapers.

It seems that everyone will have to adapt to the new changes in the industry or face extinction. Device makers will have to figure out how to make reading a more pleasant experience, comparable with or even surpassing paper, and publishers will have to adjust their businesses in order to make money selling bits instead of dead trees.

If you liked this, check out our other infographics of The Internet of Things, the evolution of the long-distance relationship and who uses video chat.