Saturday, February 02, 2019

Saturday Morning Musings - Return of Print

On the way home from lunch, I bought a copy of the Australian. I was barely a quarter of the way through before I left the bus.

Each morning I scan the news across across half a dozen outlets. I can do that in half an hour. I have decided to start buying print papers again.

At Christmas, I went book shopping as I do. My main bookshop was totally crowded. In that shopping center another bookshop has opened. At Eastgardens Pagewood a bookshop has opened. It's not very good, but it's the first for several years.

Globally and in Australia, Buzzfeed is retrenching staff.  In Northern NSW,  Fairfax Regional Media has introduced pay walls on main papers allowing you to access just three stories a month. I am not paid for my history columns, but I did have access to the e-edition of the paper. Then the paper began running my stories in the on-line edition, usually appearing well before the Wednesday Express Extra, the print version for my columns and often on the on-line front page. Then as part of the changes, I lost access to the e-edition and could not access my stories on-line

The limit is three on story access is three. I publish four and also want to check what I have published so I am rather stuffed. I complained to my editor, but there appears to be nothing he can do. He cannot even give me personal on-line access even though a subscription was part of the original deal. He also said that out-of -towners who wanted to read the columns would be okay because they could access three columns without charge.

This view suffers from two problems. Out-of-towners like to read more than three stories when they visit and, in any case, they can't read all my stories because there are more than three in a month. So I can't really promote the columns in the paper. That has to wait until they are on-line on my history blog.

Perhaps the most important problem in all this is the Fairfax pay rule has turned much of Northern NSW, my broader New England, into a news' black-hole so far as those living outside New England are concerned. Note that the News' papers brought from APN also have pay walls.We have an entire area of Australia that has largely become a news black-hole not just for those living outside the area but also for those within who live outside or are interested in more than their immediate area. And that's most.

I will return to this issue later. For the moment, I want to come back to my headline.

The question of on-line v print is not an either or, but one of balance and promotion. In this mix, print is coming back. let me give an example. D E Stevenson's books appeal to a niche. When we just had print, they dropped out of publication. Now, most are back in e-editions that can justify small runs. But as e-publishing has grown, so has print publishing for those who like the physical product. The totality of e and print means that almost all of her books are, once again, available to readers.



Sue said...

I still love DES and every so often I have a re reading marathon. Never tire of her books.

While I read news online on my Ipad, I also have one newspaper delivered(used to have 2)and enjoy the total experience of a newspaper such as doing word games,crosswords and reading all the local news in one place - all of these things are possible on line, but not as pleasurable.


Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Sue. That's an interesting comment. Like it that you sill like DE!

I think that you are right on the papers. My problem is one of time, I fear. i must overcome that and support print!

Anonymous said...

Slightly off-topic ('twas ever thus :) but the longevity of paper compared to electronic recording has always fascinated me.

For instance, the other day reading some of Winton's comments, I noticed he uses Google+ to post - and I'm pretty sure that we are now just months away from G+ being withdrawn by Google, with the result in Blogger that all his comments will disappear from this blog?

Apart from simply being a shame, this will make some comment threads quite incoherent for those, like me, who like to occasionally revisit old posts on Jim's blog.

And this is quite aside from Winton's own very extensive postings which appear to be held entirely within G+ - or maybe I'm misinterpreting. (Would be interested to know if Winton has been advised of this?)


Anonymous said...

Did some searching:

- in particular, note the 4th last paragraph.


Jim Belshaw said...

You highlight a very real problem, kvd. The Google+ closure has suddenly appeared as a warning on the control page of my various blogs. I knew that it was closing, but did not know that it might lead to loss of content on my sites. I don't seem to have lost any comments, but I simply don't know.

I first came across what I think of as the technology problem many years ago.They had microfilmed records to save costs, but then found it difficult to maintain the film because of cost. Later, changing technology made it difficult to actually read some of this stuff. This feeds, of course, into the way changes to hardware and software make so much stuff later unreadable unless you are prepared to spend a fortune.

And then the internet! I will stop here because I feel a post coming on!

2 tanners said...

When we had only paper there were many storage disasters. Now we have the internet, and the possibility of easy cheap backup, maybe the information loss will actually be lower?

Backup = 3:2:1 (3 digital copies, made up of two in physical (including digital) storage, and one in the cloud).

Jim Belshaw said...

You may be right, 2t. fire and flood have had a devastating effect. Longer term survival has always been a lottery