At this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, which is occurring as we speak, the emerging product segments of e-readers and tablets appears to be getting a lot of attention. These are devices that are being designed to, among other things, electronically deliver our newspapers, books and magazines.
This past year saw a number of newspaper publishers either close their doors permanently or begin the transition from paper to delivery over the internet and, looking forward, to e-readers and tablets.
For the first time in the company’s history, Amazon sold more electronic copies of books for their Kindle product on Christmas day than they did physical books.
The magazine publishers are all, (many, anyway) scrambling to figure out how they’ll distribute their products going forward. Lately, some magazines I have subscriptions to look more like flyers than they do magazines. Pretty dire.
This is beginning to move VERY quickly. While all of this is still in the early stages of developing, and consumers will ultimately make the adoption rate decisions, it appears that the writing is on the wall. Newspapers, books and periodicals, as they’ve historically been presented and distributed, are probably going bye-bye over time.
Moving to the world of fine art photography, what might the prints of the future look like? Will fine art photographers setup stores on their websites where customers can order a picture(s) and then have it uploaded to their 50” OLED picture frame that hangs in their living room? Maybe print subscriptions from an artist(s) that automatically changes that picture, and others throughout a customer’s home, office etc. on a regular basis.
Personally, I enjoy making prints. I enjoy the challenge of trying to get better at it each time I print an image. I like holding them in my hands. I like beautiful paper. I like matting and framing them. I like the experience of viewing great prints from talented photographic artists.
I wonder how long it will be before making physical prints is a thing of the past. Interesting times, they are.