The Future of Magazines (and Books and Newspapers)

Time Inc. has been dazzling everyone with the Sport Illustrated demo they released a few weeks ago, giving people a taste for what their reading experience could become:

Bonnier R&D and BERG provide another view that feels more thoughtful and considered, versus the previous eye candy.

This There Is No Page Fold meme says the same thing that BERG is getting at (ie not everything need to be on the first screen and I think this design brief could influence the future of web development as well.

Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt wrote a great post in response to the SI video and laid out six conclusions for what these developments mean for book publishing:

  1. The line between newspapers, magazines, and books is about to become blurred.
  2. Publishers will need to envision multimedia content from the beginning.
  3. Consumer expectations are going to skyrocket.
  4. The cost of producing digital books will get more expensive.
  5. Digital content creation and distribution will become our primary focus.
  6. People will be reading more than ever.

Logos CEO Bob Pritchett wrote a wonderful response to Hyatt’s piece laying out what his company has done as media converges in digital space. He ends the post by asking publishers about the competencies they currently have (and what they are really going to need):

  • Graphic design is a core competency in-house, not an outsourced project.
  • I have unrestricted global rights to the content I publish.
  • I employ an Information Architect.
  • My content is always designed for use in multiple media or formats.
  • Everything we own or license is thoroughly indexed and stored in a database.
  • I employ an Interaction Designer.
  • Software development is a core competency in-house.
  • I have an experienced digital publishing partner, not a project-based contractor.

Pritchett has always been very forward looking.I strongly recommend his presentation on methods his uses to price digital products. I originally saw him present it at O’Reilly Tools of Change a few years ago and has yet to see anyone adopt a similar approach.

New technologies. New competencies. New pricing methodologies. New business models.

2010 is going to be awesome.

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