Like many other people this Christmas, I unwrapped a Kindle.
According to tentative analyst estimates, over one million people received an iPad or Kindle on Christmas Day this year. However, the increasing popularity of such devices has been said to contribute to the already wavering sales of printed newspapers.
News organisations, with knowledge of this trend, have attempted to adapt to the changing nature that people consume news. For example, newspaper publishers this year broke a
tradition that dates back to 1912, when The Sunday Times, for the first time in its 190 year history, produced an online version of its newspaper on Christmas Day.
As well as online editions on Christmas Day, many other news organisations produced online versions of newspapers on Boxing Day in order to showcase their work and give new iPad and kindle owners something to read. Traditionally a very quiet period for newspaper publishers has now become a particularly busy period.
Obviously, a major impact of these extremely popular devices is that it has massively increased digital readership of online newspapers. For example, The Daily Mail now has 5 million unique visitors to its online website, in comparison to its printed sale of just 2 million.
Ten years ago, The Daily Mirror sold more than 2.5 million newspapers a day; today its readership is down 55%, to just over 1.1 million readers. In the last year alone, we’ve seen printed sales decline for daily broadsheets by 10% and by 5% for daily tabloids, the Guardian has reported.
However, whether or not these devices are contributing to a further decline, I am very uncertain. Like I suspect a lot of other people, I will be using my Kindle purely for reading novels, more of a practicality for reading whilst travelling, than a new way of consuming news.
Whether the newspaper industry will succeed with tablet growth I believe will entirely depend on whether people will pay as much to subscribe on a tablet as they do when purchasing a print newspaper. Although I consume a lot of news online, I personally prefer to read print versions of newspapers, irrespective of the costs, and I believe that it is this that will keep the printed newspaper industry from completely dying….just.