Lots of folks consistently ask themselves, what is the future of publishing? Is it print or digital? There are two answers to this question: a short one and a long one.
In this article, we are going to explore both answers to this question. As such, we will determine the future of publishing based on current trends.
The Short Answer
In short, the future of publishing will be both print and digital. The reason for this response is that it would be naïve to assume that print publishing will disappear altogether. Unless some kind of reasonable substitute to paper is invented, there will always be a place for print publishing.
In a manner of speaking, paper books and materials appeal to the romantic idea of holding a book in your hands and hearing the turning of crisp pages. For many folks, the idea of curling up with a good book is still very appealing. Thus, we should not expect print publishing to disappear any time soon.
Now, it should also be said that digital publishing has made books much more accessible. The transition of some books from print to digital has made it easier for folks to get their hands on them. This is especially true when books are not available in a specific country or language. Additionally, it is more practical to download a book rather than wait for it to be shipped to your address. Therefore, we can reasonably expect both print and digital to coexist in the short term.
The Long Answer
The long answer to this question revolves around demand and financials. On the whole, digital publishing is much cheaper than print publishing. Moreover, digital distribution is far more practical than traditional distribution. Mainly, the logistics of printing, selling, and delivering are far more cumbersome than digital distribution.
That being said, we can expect a greater shift toward digital publishing down the road. Since the logistics of digital publishing are much easier, we can reasonably expect the market to gravitate more toward this type of publishing.
Another important concern is the environment. For years, publishers have been criticized for their use of paper. With the world moving more and more toward environmentally friendly policies, it is reasonable to assume that paper books will become extinct at some point. Perhaps there might be some type of technology that could deliver the experience of print books without using paper. In the meantime, we can assume print books will continue to exist. However, they will gradually go out of style.
The fact is that print books are not going out of style just yet. There are plenty of reasons why print books continue to be popular. Current market trends show that paper books continue to sell albeit through digital channels. Therefore, mainstream publishers will need to address their customers’ most important needs insofar as ensuring the supply chain continues to deliver people’s favorite books without fear of significant disruption.