The iPad Is A Distraction

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Just being there doesn’t mean publishers are there at all. How they are there is what matters. Publishers must not be distracted by the ability to iterate magazines into a digital space and they must not be distracted by the iPad. Rather, they must ask, what is the likely form and function of content going to be 10 years from today and what is the true potential of locatable, social, personalized and discoverable magazine experiences?

via The Media Online.

There Are 8 Comments On This Article.

  1. The insertion of “iPad” (rather than “tablet”) into the headline is probably justifiable by the fact that it’s the most popular tablet by a long chalk, but it does lay the author open to accusations of bias, attention-seeking or, even worse, shallow discourse.

    As for the text beneath the headline, the latter accusation can be justifiably laid when the author asks an unanswerable question about the direction of reading forms. Sadly, I remember past answers, of which microfiche is arguably the most prominent. If you remember it, microfiche (really just specialist photographic film in card or roll form) was the answer to bulging library shelves, and so it was. It wasn’t, however, the answer to reader satisfaction, except for researchers who had to trawl through thousands of pages of manuscript, otherwise, to get what they needed. As an aside, how much easier has electronic media made the researcher’s task?

    As for the comment about electronic media being transient, reflect instead on the longevity of millions of copies of a publication sitting on hard-drives, optical discs of various sorts, and other media, versus millions (probably more likely, thousands) of slowly decaying paper books. It takes less time to erase an electronic book than to burn a paper one, but the electronic one can be reproduced far quicker than a paper one can be printed.

    I love paper books as much as practically anyone, but I don’t think railing against an emerging reading form serves the cause of retaining traditional forms, any more than deliberately asking us to predict the future of those emerging forms.

    • The ‘digital’ revolution has brought with it other problems especially from what I gather, from Google’s point of view. The massive content generated by endless YouTube etc. uploads, is all kept stored on tape. Buildings won’t be big enough to keep the stuff; looking ahead they’ll need to purchase a state.

      • That’s a fair point to make, too, although it assumes the latest iteration of digital storage (the so-called “cloud”, which is really just a front end to a bunch of servers) will be the preferred future means of file-keeping, and that the advance of storage technology won’t be able to stay ahead of that. The limit is probably at the quantum level, and there’s a way to go before we get to that, but even today I read that sodium chloride can be used to make hard drives significantly denser, so the physical size and energy requirement of these drives still has room for improvement, let alone what’s happening with solid-state.

  2. Good point, at one time or another we have all been guilty of preparing to fight the “last war.” None of us can predict what the future will be. Each of us as creative individuals must be proactive and direct the shape of the future.

    RMAA tried to force the world to conform to their pre-digital model. Apple looked at NAPSTER, etc. and created a new model – a different reality for music/video distribution based on the market forces that were plainly evident to any who would choose to see.

  3. For publishers the best option is to experiment. One will not succeed by standing apart from this, engagement is necessary to understand these new forms. But its not easy because technology is developing continually and so is the consumer.

    It might be that the concept of ‘publisher’ is just about redundant in this new era. The question might be to ask what kinds of mediation are relevant in the future, rather than how an old form might adapt. We don’t drive horseless carriages any more, so perhaps in future we won’t shoot for ‘electronic magazines’

    I think beautiful printed art books, and beautiful iPad apps have more of a future than some models of publishing.