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iPad challenges traditional publishing economics

Tony Bradley | March 11, 2010
The Apple iPad has forced publishers to reconsider pricing and revenue models

Fair enough. Publishers should continue to factor those things in to the overhead associated with the digital distribution of their publications. The point stands that materials, and logistics make up a significant portion of the cost of a book, magazine, or newspaper, and that the online economics are entirely different.

There is also an economy of scale to consider. When a publisher prints and distributes a book, it publishes a finite number of copies which it makes available from a finite number of retail establishments. Digital distribution has no such constraints.

It remains to be seen if the iPad will be the savior of print media. The thing is, the iPad will probably do just fine regardless of what happens to print media. However, the reverse is not necessarily true.

Traditional media--whether books, magazines, newspapers, music, or movies--still need to grasp the digital landscape, and the changes that it brings for the economic models they have built their businesses on for decades. Somewhere out there is a revenue structure that creates a win-win-win for the publishers, the platforms (like the iPad and the Kindle), and the customers.

Tony Bradley is co-author of Unified Communications for Dummies. 


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