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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Christian Science Monitor to end print edition

According to an article in The New York Times, after a century in publication, The Christian Science Monitor will be the first national newspaper to discontinue its weekday print edition and move to online only in April 2009. John Yemma, The Monitor’s editor explains, “We have the luxury – the opportunity – of making a leap that most newspapers will have to make in the next five years.”

This development provides another signal that digital forms of reading are gaining ground and other newspapers are sure to track The Monitor’s success as they determine the future of their publications. Last year, in an interview with Arthur Sulzberger, owner, chairman, and publisher of The New York Times, he suggested that they too could move to online only in five years. Sulzberger said, "I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care either.” Sulzberger later clarified his statement by saying, “So let me clear the air on this issue. It is my heartfelt view that newspapers will be around—in print—for a long time. But I also believe that we must be prepared for that judgment to be wrong. My five-year timeframe is about being ready to support our news, advertising and other critical operations on digital revenue alone ...whenever that time comes."

The change to online only versions of newspapers could disappoint faithful subscribers but as John Yemma explains the transition is inevitable, “Longtime readers love coffee and a newspaper. So do I, there’s nothing like it. But everyone, sooner or later, is going to have to make the transition, and that’s recognized.” The same can probably be said of textbooks and course materials. If the shift to digital is inevitable and if it begins to have an impact within the next 3-5 years, will your store be ready for the transition?

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