The future of print media

The recent closing of Lambda Rising Bookstore in DC doesn’t reflect  “gay market” problems as much as the issue of independent bookstores all across the country going out of business because of Amazon.  The owner also was at or past retirement age.  Gay publications are just another niche market now and readily available anywhere.  The Washington Blade newspaper failed because of corporate mismanagement (not the local paper) and the transition to online publication that is affecting all newspapers.

I have recently subscribed to the new weekly edition of Christian Science Monitor.  It is now a color print magazine rather than a daily newspaper and of course also has an online presence.  Part of my rationale was a consideration of possibly trying to write for them.  They were the only ones to respond to my queries promoting my article on Chicago architecture.  It was rejected (or ignored) everywhere else, and the N&O features editor didn’t even bother with a response.

The publishing industry is changing radically.  If you read Editor & Publisher, Publishers Weekly, and Folio, you would note that from their reporting.  What is even more disconcerting is the proliferation of “content mills” which literally generate thousands of articles for their web sites and pay their “so-called” writers pennies.  Of course, they get crap and publish it.  Whether anyone reads it I don’t know, but they must be making a profit off it.

Anyone can become a “publisher” now so the “establishment press” and the New York lock on the market is passé. The Amazon Kindle versus the Barnes & Noble Nook is just one example of significant changes using WWW2.  I don’t predict the disappearance of print, but it will be different in how it’s produced, marketed, and distributed.  The Writer’s Weekly ezine confesses that all of the print-on-demand book publishers use the same physical printing operation; it’s just the front-end that’s different.  Our local store, Quail Ridge Books, has survived with a loyal customer base and being on the tour circuit so they get the big names and well as the lesser known authors.

I live with my iPhone, but I still buy books and subscribe to magazines.  Of course, I’m different from the younger generation who don’t even watch TV. They “exist” only online.  They aren’t concerned about the rest of the world that isn’t directly relevant to their needs.

I finally plowed through the 700-page Social Media Bible and learned about the vast expanse of new communications tools that have evolved in the past 5 years, and there will be more to come.  The “information age” is still evolving, and who knows where “virtual reality” may go?  The folks who will get rich will be the ones who will know how to monetize it.


1 Comment

Filed under marketing, Op-Ed, writing

One response to “The future of print media

  1. Great blog! You are absolutely right… The technology is here to stay and really empowers us all! Thank you for mentioning my book!
    – Lon Safko