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What’s The Future Of Publishing?

Few topics are quite as polarizing as the future of publishing. On one side, you have your diehard print fans who assure us the medium will be around eternally, on the other, the digital fanboys who can’t understand why print media still exists and are certain it’s on the way out. As for the real future of publishing, it probably lies somewhere in the middle.

It’s no secret that Amazon, eReaders, and tablets have been redefining the way we consume our content and causing massive disruptions in the publishing industry. However, while the trend of increased focus on digital publishing will continue, books like Harry Potter and more recently The Hunger Games or A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), show us that print media is far from dead, it just needs some accompaniment.  

To help gain a better understanding of the debate, we asked a group of industry experts…

What’s The Future Of Publishing?

Here’s what they had to say…

Jain Karan, Founder & CEO of Magfirst

“With the transition into the digital world becoming more prominent by the day, the world of publishing has been affected by technology too. Traditional print publishing is slowly finding itself turning obsolete with the rise of digital book publishing. Soon, printed books will attain the status of collector’s items for the visually interactive race that we are turning into. Digital publishing has already made a huge impact on publishing.

With the entry of eBook readers like Amazon’s Kindle, the digital transition of the publishing sector has been a lot smoother than expected. The growth of digital publishing has given authors the option of bringing out independent works with the help of big companies like Amazon, Apple and Google. Digitally, the world of publishing will soon bring reading, writing and literacy to the tips of everyone’s fingers, giving people a chance to become their own publishers.”


Tanya Hall, CEO of Greenleaf Book Group

“In 10-15 years, the biggest change in book publishing will be the continued expansion of publishers’ direct-to-consumer programs. Publishers continue to face a shifting retail landscape as Amazon takes increasing market share and bookstores evolve into “entertainment” stores with more non-book merchandise.

Publishers will create value by curating exceptional genre content sold directly to the consumer. The next generation of book buyers were brought up on series like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games and have a deep affection for books, both digital and print. They will continue to prove the cynics, who squawk about the inevitable death of print, to be dead wrong.”


James Nuttall, Content Specialist for Dreambooth

“When news desks that once had 20 members of staff are reduced to one full-time member, and some of the biggest national newspapers are ceasing to print physical copies and going totally online, it’s tragic to state that the end can’t be far away for traditional publishing.

Print publishing may be extinct in 10 years, but this does not mean publishing is dead – far from it. SEO and quality content will become more important than ever thanks to digital publishing. As a result, this means that quality journalism and unique articles will be more vital than ever; search engines penalise lazy and sloppy content, branding it as spam, so for publishers to thrive in the ever-evolving world of digital content, they will need to provide content of only the very highest calibre.

There will always be news. There will always be people wanting to be informed. Therefore, there will always be a need for people to write and publish content.”


Jackie Graziano , Vice President, Marketing at MediaMax Network

“The fate of publishing is still undetermined. Upon the rise of digital, folks jumped on the bandwagon and declared print media as dead. Well, guess what? I don’t think print media will ever be dead. What I do think will happen (and is happening now) is that media properties will become brands.

Not a magazine, not a website, not an app. But, an experience, an influence, and a community. The media will continue to be accessible in many channels, allowing access at any time, any day.

Brands and marketers will continue to align with these brand experiences to speak directly to the user, consumer, or decision maker. One thing I know for sure… publishers will need to remain focused on the content & experience and deliver value, not just another cool distribution channel. Brands that fail to do so, do so at their peril.”


Kevin Dunn , Vice President Digital Media at MSP-C

“The future of publishing in all its myriad forms is now and forever inextricably linked to continuing advancements in technology and delivery platforms. Enabling readers to curate and consume content when/where/how they want to is inexorable. Personalization will be paramount. That’s the demand and the expectation right now. The instantaneous fulfillment of any immediate need – reviews for the best sushi in Osaka, who played centerfield for the Mets in ’69 or an in-depth article on whether America is having a constitutional crisis is now how we roll.

What of publishing two, five, 10 and yikes – 15 years from now? Weigh the consumer disappointment of the state of artificial intelligence today (Siri, Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc.). Our fervent wish is that it should be resolved in the very near future where unbridled technological expectations, limitless access and interests of the moment seamlessly provide informational immediacy and enrichment.

The example is relevant when publishers consider the velocity and voracious demands consumers expect when interacting with content. Combine that with their accelerated desire for trusted, relevant, high-quality, vital content that is there to enrich their life. Publishing and publishers of all sizes, verticals and disciplines will be at the center of it all.”


Laura Hoffman, Marketing Executive at Mutual Materials Company

“Ten plus years into the future of broadband media publishing, content stories and the art of journalism will be intertwined with machine learning, automated technologies and personal mobile device technology. The matrix of possibility for researching, compiling, publishing and delivering content will lead to less of the direct human experience element and more of the encyclopedia mentality. But will end consumers even notice when they consume that article, video, podcast, etc.? Likely not.
Another potential future of publishing is that it moves away from mainstream standalone as an industry and breaks into smaller pieces to become a service department within companies under the umbrella of corporate communications or marketing communications. Publishing becomes a formal, standard department or resource spread across a company as part of corporate, beyond today’s more comment view of this as a strategy/tactic within marketing, currently referred to as Content Marketing.”

About the author

Nick Hastreiter

I write about the future of business. I approach this by interviewing founders, CEO's, and other game changers to share their vision for the future of their industry.

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