I think it’s safe to say that not a lot of people appreciate books anymore. With most of the world being more fixated on their computer screens, it’s amazing how publishing houses still rake in money. The solution? Make books and magazines digital of course! It’s really amazing how the first published books in human history were only made available to those who have the sufficient funds, not to mention social status, to avail of these then-considered luxury items. Now, it seems, books, magazines, newspapers, and all other print media can be had almost anywhere. Lately, however, the rise of mass media translated into more people favoring these new developments. Some people no longer turn to print for their daily dose of news; instead they opt for Yahoo! News or other online news-providing bodies. Others don’t bother reading entire novels and instead rely on film or television adaptations of certain works. Let’s face it, not a lot of people are into reading things on paper because of the subconscious association of it to tediousness. We may not realize it, but we already give printed materials a negative connotation and that is “work.” Given these examples, one might think print is a dying medium. Well, not exactly.
As we’ve learned from Sir Isaac Newton, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The shift towards digital media definitely made publishing houses rethink their strategies. Rather than spend more on promoting their printed products, they simply offered an alternative approach in ensuring that their target audiences will read their publications. They resolved this by introducing the idea of the e-book or electronic book, which of course we know as the digital counterparts of houses’ inked and bound predecessors. Of course, they didn’t stop at just books. E-zines or electronic magazines soon flourished, so did online versions of newspapers and academic journals. Some of the very evident benefits to having a paperless method of information sharing is the reduced waste. Paper is certainly a commodity that diminishes as fast as any rainforest from which its raw materials are sourced from. Second, it ensues the readership of its target stakeholders. That being said, it also makes it even more accessible to a broader audience since almost everyone has an internet connection nowadays. I’ve mentioned earlier that we tend to avoid literature on paper, digital versions of these seem less intimidating by virtue of the thickness of the collective binding of pages. In short, PDFs are a lot less frightening. This paved the way for social publishing sites like Scribd and Issuu.
Just to add, e-zines are also growing more and more popular. At first, books and newspapers were gaining steady readership online but now so do magazines. Apart from the mainstream magazines dominating the market, the internet has given smaller, independent magazine houses a medium in which they can promote their publication and achieve momentum in terms of getting subscribers and advocates. Among my favorites are Vanity Teen and 160g. As you may have guessed, these are fashion magazines. E-magazines Publications like these have very specific niche markets and I guess that given their considerably small (but growing) fan-bases, it won’t be long that they reach mainstream success because of the internet. The best part about it is that they don’t have to spend as much for paper as big-name publishers do.
P.S. Do check out Vanity Teen Issue 9, featuring a 20-page editorial featuring Francisco Lachowski, photographed by Marley Kate.