Future of Print Takes Center Stage at Book Business Conference & Expo
Cole also delivered what he termed good news to publishers of all types. “Encouragingly, for the first time in the seven years we’ve been tracking people, [Internet users] are showing some willingness to pay for digital content,” he said. “For the first five years, people didn’t want to pay for any digital content. They thought everything ought to be free … now they’re beginning to understand they have to pay for digital content.”
Forces Affecting Today’s Publishers
A conference highlight on Tuesday was the keynote address, delivered by Google’s director of content partnerships, Jim Gerber. He began his presentation by pointing out three major forces affecting the publishing industry today: rapid development in technology, rapid proliferation of the Internet and rapidly changing consumer behavior.
Higher quantities of better, cheaper technology are available in today’s world, which is changing the ways consumers seek and acquire information. These rapid advancements are “creating a generation of digital natives as opposed to the digital immigrants that most of us are.”
Gerber went on to provide the crowded ballroom of several hundred publishing industry executives with an overview of Google’s publishing-related partnerships. He urged publishers to explore how to reach Internet audiences, whether via Google’s offerings or those of its competitors, and said that providing content for free online is increasing printed book sales for those books.
One of the highlights of his keynote address was his insight into the potential impact on mobile content by rapid technological advancements that are likely to take place in the very near future; if today an iPod can hold tens or twenties of thousands of songs, he said, then by 2012, it could hold a year’s worth of video, and by 2019, it could hold a lifetime of video. “I’m not saying this will happen, but it can,” said Gerber. BB
Matt Steinmetz is the publisher and brand director of Publishing Executive.