PDF In-Depth

The Tablet: What it means for publishing

How to prepare for the tablet economy


Here's my advice to my publishing and periodical clients who've asked for a road map to the forthcoming tablet economy.

  • Announce "tablet editions" in your near future. Over time, publishers should expect and plan for these editions to take over from existing print-based distribution.
  • Start believing that by 2015 or so, younger consumers will own tablets (whatever they are called) more-or-less as they own cell-phones today. Print readership in a wide range of categories will probably fall by 40-60% or more in the same or similar timeframe. Better start moving.
  • Recalibrate the print advertising model for "electronic page" advertising. The tablet means the return of page-oriented layout; the page qua page is back! PDF, of course, is the perfect platform technology, and publishers have known PDF for years. Time to wake up to what PDF files can do.
  • Hire and retain the best graphic design folks. Don't worry so much about the multimedia and wizz-bang. Get the good old fashioned basics right first, add the movies once you've re-learned the basics.

Periodical and book publishers aren't the only ones interested in the tablet. Businesses have been wondering about the alleged paperless office for a while, but letting go of the printed page isn't easy or obvious in many cases. Could tablets be the solution? More about that in an article to follow Apple's announcement of the iPad (or whatever they call it) on January 27.

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