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Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Death of Print, Predictably, Sooner than We Think

"Book Sellers, defend your lonely forts!" - John Updike, 2006.

Newspapers, except possibly the Wall Street Journal, are not the only organizations facing the same fate as buggy whip manufacturers.

"By the end of 2012, digital books will be 20% to 25% of unit sales, and that's on the conservative side," predicts Mike Shatzkin, chief executive of the Idea Logical Co., publishing consultants. "Add in another 25% of units sold online, and roughly half of all unit sales will be on the Internet."

In his book, "the cult of the amateur", Andrew Keen reflects on the demise of the record store - blaming the internet.

Keen pines about record stores like the Tower Records that spanned three blocks in New York's Greenwich Village or his beloved record store at the corner of Bay and Columbus in San Fransisco. How, ultimately, change came to this world of hidden imports, ad hoc concerts, U2 and Madonna sightings.

Like the music store, book stores, the brick and mortar type, are doomed.

What has all this got to do with Managed Print Services?

If you are seriously asking, leave right now, and never come back to this blog again.

A New Business Model -

This year, publishers agreed to implement an "agency model" for digitally distributed content. The publisher receives 70%, e- book sellers 30%, of the digital price.

Seems publisher can read the writing on the wall - change is a necessity for survival.

The Gorilla in the room, Apple, is poised to rule the publishing channel as it already does the music channel with iTunes.

Consider Barnes and Noble -

In mid-March, Barnes & Noble's named a new CEO.

This new CEO is a veteran of the digital world and is seen as a change agent shaking things up, hiring from e-commerce and technology companies.

His talk track includes the phrase, B&N is "as much a technology company as we are a retail company."

Change or die.

Newspapers are dying, books are changing, retail is evolving - Is it any wonder our little industry, MPS, is considered a $60 Billion market?

Consumers are demanding easier, more portable mechanisms allowing them to read/acquire information and entertainment.

These consumers not only own iPads, DROIDs and netbooks - they have jobs; they work in offices, they interface with paper every day.

How long will it be before they expect to receive the company newsletter, financials, invoices, statements, medical records, mortgage documents, kid's report cards, DMV documents, tax filings, credit card and utility bills, and the latest King novel, etc. on their iPad/Slate/Droid/Kindle?

Change is. This may be "new" to you, to me, to us. But this isn't anything we started, the fire's been burning since the world's been turning, we're just the latest to enjoy.

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