October 8, 2012

Infographic illustrates publishing’s demise, er, evolution


Ferris Bueller said it best: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Hence the infographic below, which illustrates the rapid and momentous changes to publishing over the years.

Created by Search News Media, the infographic traces publishing’s evolution, from the 1400s when Gutenberg debuted his printing press, all the way through the golden age of newspapers and up to today, when every and any piece of content can be published via the Web nearly instantaneously and distributed internationally.

The infographic also illustrates how traditional publishing, in large part due to the wildfire-like spread of digital publishing, has removed many of the barriers preventing would-be publishers from entering the marketplace, making it possible for most anyone to become (or at least try to become) a publisher in the modern day.

Granted, the graphic focuses more on content and digital publishing than publishing of the book industry variety, but what’s important to recognize is that more and more, as digital platforms and business models become ubiquitous, what applies in a digital-only realm most likely applies to an industry whose production includes content creation and marketing, even if the bread and butter is still earned from publishing physical books.

Regardless, I would still like to see a book-publishing specific infographic that highlights everything from the emergence of The Tale of Genji to mass market paperbacks to ebooks. But who knows how it ends?

Until then …





Kevin Murphy is the digital media marketing manager of Melville House.