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Kudos to The Awl for two fairly recent charts featuring publishing statistics from the past decade. The images are too tall to just recopy in a single post here, but click through to check them out. This trend data, sourced from the Magazine Publishers of America and Audit Bureau of Circulations, respectively, is very interesting, but I’m particularly fond of how they’ve crafted the charts – in a tall, blog-friendly format rather than on a standard wide frame:
I came across this interesting little essay the other day, and it’s been on my mind ever since. As much as we talk about paying for “content” when we buy books, music, and movies, we’ve really just paying for the medium. Books are priced based on the number of pages and whether they are hardcover or paperback. Not the quality of the writing. The most critically acclaimed film at the theater doesn’t cost more to see than the least.
In this new, digital world, we’re beginning to move beyond this. Record companies have been pushing for more tiers of pricing on iTunes. Some television shows are free on Hulu. Some only show on premium cable and DVD. Once you eliminate the physical product, distinctions between perceived quality are able to be made.
It’s no longer about supply, demand, and the price of paper. It’s about quality and creativity.
Anyway. This article is worth reading.
I’ve read a fair share of articles gleefully reporting the decline and anticipated death of print media, especially newspapers. As a newspaper reader I’ll be the first to admit that many news organizations have dropped the ball and while chasing profits, essentially gutted their institutions. I gave up on our local in the past year because it essentially cut all of the local, relevant sections and writing and became an aggregator for news wires and abridged New York Times.
While many locals have failed in their mission, the New York Times continues (in my mind) to stand out for its quality journalism and editorial content. I know many of the counter arguments involve the wide availability of publishing, multiple sources, etc. However, my concern is that without third-party editorial staffs and investments in journalism in faraway places you lose important stories that deserve to see the light of day. Otherwise, I foresee a vacuum where we have citizen journalism on one side and tabloid/television news on the other.
I’m closely watching the Times and it’s consideration of plans for charging for online content. I hope they’re able to develop a plan that will allow the paper to be profitable and continue to publish. We should not be celebrating the death of newspapers as a medium, but instead cheering them to meet the challenges of the future.
I’ve come across a few websites lately that attempt to pull together blog content in a more traditional, yet still online, format. Ranging from HP’s Tabbloid (daily or weekly e-mails in a ready to print form) to Individurls (newsprint-style columns of the latest articles), these sites aspire to do more than the typical RSS reader.
Lately I’ve been watching another site, The Printed Blog. Today the New York Times called it the Penny Saver for the internet. Essentially, the Printed Blog is attempting to refresh printed newspapers by producing local and customized content. While an interesting experiment, with portable internet devices becoming more and more powerful and Wi-Fi spreading, one has to wonder if this is an idea with a limited shelf-life.
Personally, I’m still a fan of the printed word and I’m interested to see how it pans out. In many ways this site seems to correct some of the mistakes in traditional news printing but also takes on the risks and flaws of the blogosphere.