Are e-readers the much needed lifeline for publishing?

Print subscriptions for newspapers and magazines are declining around the world, with the exception of Asia, so much so that some publications are going entirely digital to keep afloat. At the same time, most of us are getting digital content on the web for free. So how, as a publisher, do you make money other than through advertising? Particularly in a recession like this, when ad revenues are in a downward trend.

However, when it comes to electronic readers, subscribers are willing to pay for the luxury of digital content on the move in a comfortable format. But, there's been criticism of Kindle, Amazon's electronic reader, that publishers see too little of the revenue, have too little control or can't include ads easily. Now there's talk of competitors to Kindle, with the likes of Apple associated with possibly launching a device in this market. With increasing numbers of e-readers (especially with advertising space), this may well be what the publishing industry needs – revenues from digital content they have greater control over. Will this see a reversal of publishers' fortunes? Can e-readers do for publishing what the iPod has done for digital music?

Photo credit: juhansonin (via Flickr/Creative Commons)

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