Publishing -Electronic and Paper based
Publishing has changed forever in the 21st Century.
Print Media (Magazines, Books, Newspapers) no longer has the dominance it once had. With the coming of computers, and in particular the internet, it is now possible for virtually anyone to publish their own electronic publication. Even printed publications are easier and cheaper to publish than in the past, using a computer to write and compile pages, and either a computer printer (for small print runs) or a commercial; printer (for larger print runs) to produce the hard copy.
Book and Magazine publishers have suffered since the late 1990's as these changes have provided increasing competition. Large Print Media publishers are unlikely to disappear though, for several reasons.
Commercially viable Publishing involves a range of skills, and it is rare to find individuals who can do the lot. Producing the work is only part of the job. Marketing and physically moving a publication from publisher to consumer are huge tasks requiring a great deal of expertise.
Self publishing can be viable provided you have a reliable market for what you publish. A large part of success in publishing is to be able to sell adequate numbers of the publication; and this is most commonly where self publishers fail.
If you have a large clientele already buying something else from you; it may be OK to self publish; but if not, you should do a lot of work to establish a distribution network before spending money on editing, layout and printing.
Electronic publishing involves producing a publication as an electronically recorded product. Rather than producing something printed on paper, the publication is viewed on a screen, usually a computer screen but also possibly a television monitor or other VDU (video display unit).
Electronically publications are most commonly produced on a removable storage device (such as a CD-Rom, Zip Disk or DVD), published on a web site (on the Internet), or sent to the consumer by email (again on the Internet).
Advantages of Electronic Publishing
There are several important advantages of electronic publishing:
- Lower production costs. This is the biggest advantage! Publishing on the Internet involves very minimal cost in reproducing material for distribution. Even copying onto a CD or DVD can be a far cheaper proposition than printing on paper, particularly if there are lots of coloured illustrations to be included.
- Increased possibilities. It is possible to include sections of video (real life or animations) in a publication, along with sections of text and illustrations.
- Transportability. The product is much easier to transport from one location to another, and that greatly increases the market potential. Whereas books are heavy (ie. it takes time and money to send a copy any great distance), an electronic publication can be delivered from a computer to the other side of the world in a few minutes, if not less.
- An important new publishing trend. The trend is towards increased electronic publishing. Even if it does not work for you now, it is the biggest growth area in publishing, and it is likely that current experience may give today’s electronic publishers an advantage in the future.
Disadvantages of Electronic Publishing
Many people still do not own a computer or even know how to use a computer, hence cannot readily access an electronic publication. Among those that are computer literate, many still don’t have the mind set that is conducive to this form of publishing (ie. though they might have the computer and the ability to use it, they might not yet have used it to access a particular type of publication).
Another problem is that advertising on the Internet can be an unknown quantity. Advertisers may be more reluctant to pay for advertising on the Internet compared to printed media.
Finally, many people still prefer to read printed publications. Reading on screen can be tiring and time consuming; the key to overcoming people’s reluctance to read on-screen publications is to design interesting and user-friendly documents.
ACS Conduct a series of Courses in Publishing.