Another New Era in Publishing

The history of the publishing industry is a fascinating subject. With the invention of the printing press in 1440 and its subsequent adoption throughout Europe, ideas could spread faster and farther than they ever could before. Nearly two centuries later, somebody took this idea and applied it to the current events of the times, inventing what would later become known as a "newspaper."

For most of the 20th century, people were still relying on newspapers, books, and magazines for information. In the late 1990s though, something called the "internet" (you might've heard of it) came along and gave people another tool to spread their ideas: the blog. Blogs have become a wonderful resource for all sorts of information. They can be about current events, the happenings in someone's personal life, reviews of products, helpful information on any number of subjects known to man, archives of history, and much more. These are incredibly powerful tools.

We've even found that a miniature form of blogging (i.e. Twitter) can still be enormously useful, especially because even someone in a 3rd-world country whose only access to technology is a dumbphone from the 90s can still use it. Never in history has it been easier to make your voice heard across the globe.

And now, we've entered another phase of idea-sharing that involves both content curation and self-publishing. As for curation, I'm not talking about people who call themselves curators just because they run linkblogs. I'm talking about a few specific projects that have been unveiled in the last several months (like Evening Edition, The Brief, NextDraft, and Circa) who are making a point of taking long-form news articles and/or other topics, and condensing them into more digestible form for readers who want to keep updated on current events but may not have the time to read long articles from multiple resources constantly.

With self-publishing, we have projects like The Magazine and the Read & Trust Magazine, which are monthly publications that require a small fee from the reader. Rather than curating content from elsewhere, they contain collections of articles submitted every month by a group of paid writers.

Sounds like any other magazine subscription, right? But there's a BIG difference: these projects are organized and published by individuals (in this case, Marco Arment and Aaron Mahnke, respectively) rather than entire media companies or news outlets. The internet, and tools such as Newsstand, have given people the opportunity to become their own publishers and make decent money without having to work under someone else's editorial vision, all from the comfort of their home.

I'm excited about what people are accomplishing on their own in the world of publishing, and hope to see more efforts like these in the future.