When the Internet launched back in 1989, people started sharing information in exciting new ways. Entire industries were launched, old ones were reworked, and the face of business communication changed forever. Fast forward 20 years and it’s still the same story, but on a much more epic scale. The Internet has single-handedly destroyed the traditional working world. Yet it’s also spawned entire industries ripe for disruption and innovation. Enter digital publishing.
Much like the industry itself, publishing has changed over time as new technologies continue to spur innovation. Today, turnkey solutions are infiltrating every industry imaginable and helping businesses gain valuable market share. Statista reports that U.S. e-publishing revenue peaked at 7.19 billion dollars in 2016 and is expected to reach 8.88 billion by 2022.
Digital publishing means different things to different people. And that, unfortunately, can leave lots of us very, very confused.
Don’t fret. We’re here to help you make sense of it all.
Digital publishing. What is it?
Let’s break it down first. “Digital” refers to any online media available on electronic devices, including laptops and pads. “Publishing” as defined by Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, involves “bring[ing] printed works (as books) before the public usually for sale.” Put two and two together and digital publishing gets a whole lot easier to understand. It means using online technology to digitize print material and disseminate it through electronic devices.
E-publishers are experts at their craft, creating editorial content and distributing it online to:
Reach mobile and global audiences
Collect important market research data
Print vs. digital publishing: the pros and cons
For business models rooted in tradition/print, transitioning to a digital format can disrupt production, marketing, and distribution processes. That’s good and bad news, so it’s important to know the the opportunities and risks inherent to each medium. Let’s start with print.
Print publishing pros
1. Traditional publishers can enlist the help of agents-- industrious fellows who fight hard to ensure you and your work get noticed. The best ones land book deals, negotiate contracts, and mentor authors to further their writing careers. In short, they’re pretty darn helpful.
“Helping publishers really makes me happy,” says this agent.
2. Bookstore distribution is a lot easier. Bookstores, libraries, and other brick-and-mortar outlets can house your books for thousands of customers to admire. And the best part? Technology isn’t required. That’s pretty great.
3. People are more focused when reading print magazines. We all know how distracting the Internet is, after all...
Print publishing cons
1. Traditional publishing requires paper and printing. Online doesn’t. Naturally, paper and printing costs are much higher with the former.
2. Time isn’t always at your side. It can take an entire year for a book to ever see the light of day. Writing, editing, and printing can extend the wait even further. Print means a lot of patience!
3. Finalized text on paper is exactly that: finalized. There’s no turning back and you can’t change or update anything once your content is published.
Digital publishing pros
1. Businesses of every size are already publishing digital content. Web publishing curtails production and marketing costs, extends your reach into new markets, and ultimately drives more sales.
2. Practically any business in any industry can publish digital content and profit from it. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
3. The Internet’s incredibly accessible. That means digital content like newspapers can be updated and distributed to the public at anytime.
4. Online publishers have a much easier time editing content. Typos, incorrect dates, or outdated information call all be fixed by updating files on the Web.
5. Everything’s on your terms. You decide what and when to publish. Are you a control freak? Great, because digital publishing gives you complete power over your content. You’re the artist and the Internet is your brush.
6. There’s a higher chance of online content going viral. People view your content → they like it → they start sharing it on social media and other digital channels instantly.
7. Web content is engaging and interactive. Media such as videos, music, and photos can be embedded into online catalogs, for example.
Digital publishing cons
1. Self-publishers today are still shrugging off the DIY (or “Do It Yourself”) stigma. For veterans of the industry, having your work published by any of the “Big Five” publishing houses somehow legitimizes it. Contrarily, managing it all yourself doesn’t exactly qualify you as a professional who merits respect.
2. The learning curve can be steep. Digital publishers must familiarize themselves with writing, marketing, and distribution best practices. It’s a daunting task for newcomers, but all-inclusive digital publishing platforms can help.
Examples of digital publishing
Like us, e-publishing comes in many different shapes and forms. The article you’re reading right now is just one example. Other examples of digital publishing include:
The list goes on and on. It’s unsurprising, too, because digital publishing has seeped into every nook and cranny of our lives. Using a search engine to find the information you need, for example, is much more practical than spending hours ransacking a library. And many distinguished universities from around the world are now offering online courses.
Joomag: a leading provider of digital publishing solutions
It’s always nice to reflect on the good ol’ days, right? Well, did you know that Joomag originally started as a content creation platform exclusive to digital publishers? Of course, we’ve blossomed since then, but it’s good to look back every once in awhile and see how far you’ve come.
If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed since our founding back in 2009, it’s the amount of creative freedom we give our customers. There are no limits to our platform, and users are free to let their imaginations run wild with every piece of content they create. Joomag’s platform allows publishers to create gorgeous interactive html5 publications, distribute them across multiple channels, engage with audiences and measure publications performance with in-depth analytics reports.
Take a look at the the examples below, courtesy of our talented publishers, and you’ll see what we mean.