As the buzz around the new iPad launch continues, both traditional and online publishers are “caught between the gravitational pull of the legacy tradition and the need to chart a faster digital course.” That was a key finding in a recent Pew Research Center study on the state of the publishing industry.
That “pull” was highlighted by Paul Rossi, the Managing Director and Executive Vice President of the Americas for The Economist at a recent digital publishing conference. Asked by the moderator, “What keeps you up at night?” he answered, “What worries me is the flurry of excitement over an iPad giveaway and there are a pile of The Economist magazines outside on the table.”
But in the recent Pew Research Center study, the outlook of publishers is troubling. Executives were hesitant to risk change due to “cultural inertia,” which makes adapting quickly to new technology advancements difficult. “Some of those we talked to seem frustrated and even uncertain about how to proceed,” said Tom Rosenstiel, Director of the project. “But we also found signs that, if you can break out of old cultural patterns, there is another way.” The question is, are publishers ready to explore the new territory of tablets?