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What 3 Industries Is The Apple iPad Threatening To Decimate?

iPad Decimating changing publishing online video games industriesThe iPad has just been released for sale on Friday and current estimates put the first days sales at 120,000 according to a report by Techcrunch.

So what industries will be impacted and possibly changed forever by this new apple hardware platform? 

The three most at risk with tens of billions of dollars at stake are

  • Computer Gaming both Online and Offline
  • Online and Offline Publishing
  • Online and Offline Video

The current global sales volumes for these industries are

  • Computer Gaming:  $20.2 Billion in the USA alone in 2009 according to CDRInfo with estimated Global sales of $57 Billion
  • Publishing:  Worldwide revenue in 2009 was estimated at $130 – $150 Billion with eBook sales estimated at $9 Billion by 2013
  • Video: By 2013 home video sales are projected to be $59 Billion

So let’s have a closer look at the publishing industry and the likely projected impact to this industry that is worth in excess of $100 Billion globally.

Scott Steinberg, publisher and lead technology analyst at Digital Trends, who is also an author of three books and his site receives over 40 million unique visitors every month says.

“But while it may not completely reinvent the rules of digital publishing in 2010, I have no doubt that within 18-24 months, you’ll begin to see the iPad have a major impact on the way both publishing houses and casual readers look at the digital publishing space, which the gadget should provide a major boon in coming years.”

The reality is that it is not only the online sector that will be transformed but also the offline games, video and publishing industries, as anything that can be published offline is going online as  the ability to upload easily onto the big copying machine called the internet  at faster and faster speeds with decreasing friction through higher speed broadband both fixed and wireless will continue unabated.  The other part of the puzzle regarding the threat to these industries is not just the usability, design and attraction of the hardware device but Apple’s iTunes and Apps store for its Internet and and iPhone users. So the ease of these cloud sites and the new iBooks site will transform the publishing industry. Scott goes on to say.

“Just as importantly, iBooks looks to provide a simple, elegant and intuitive means of browsing, purchasing and enjoying digital content, making the experience of flipping through favorite novels or publications in virtual format much more of an engaging and organic experience than you’d find on current eReaders”

iBooks Apple changing publishing decimate industries video online gaming

The Retail Muse says.

“Publishers are on the bandwagon, and ready to embrace Job’s new product. The five largest publishers, including McGraw Hill and Simon and Schuster, are ready to provide content to the new device”.

So to get some perspective on what the impact will be on the publishing industry we need to have a look at what has happened in the music industry since the introduction of Apple’s iTunes.

iTunes was introduced in 2003, since that time these are some of the milestones.

  • iTunes sold 25 million digital tracks its first year in 2003
  • By 2006, sales had reached 1 billion
  • Apple’s iPod, the leading MP3 device reached 220 million in sales by November, 2009 – or 73 percent of the total digital music-player market
  • Apple sold its 10 billionth song on February 24 , 2010 via iTunes

So what has been the impact to the offline industry in that physical sales represented 80 percent of all music sales in 2007

  • In 2010 they represent 64 percent ( a drop of 20% in just 3 years)
  • Digital sales increased 80 percent in the same time period
  • Bricks and mortar record stores are closing in record numbers

If you take the impact of the offline music industry as an indicator of what will happen to the publishing industry over the next couple of years we could see more than $20 Billion dollars wiped off the book publishing industry’s annual sales figures. Will that happen? The game is on and the industry’s business model is under threat.

The upside is that the unforseen benefits to the planet is that the ability to distribute books electronically will  minimize the environmental impact due to reduced emissions in transporting goods and less trees having to be cut down to produce the paper.

So how long will the offline book industry last?… 20 years..30 years?  Will the printed book become a souvenir or a special limited edition?

What do you think?

Note: In future posts we will take a closer look at how the iPad could challenge the computing gaming industry and Video industry.

Steinberg is also an author of three books and his site receives over 40 million unique visitors every month. Needless to say, he knows a thing or two about technology.
Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Brian

    You’re looking at this negatively. The uPas might just save the publishing industry. It’s the content, not the printing press that is the key asset. If you’re the newspaper printers union, this is a threat. But if you are a tree in Canada, the Amazon or an ancient Indonesian rain forest, you might be thankful. By the way: did you know that the clear cutting of hardwood forests accounts for 2/3 of all carbon released into the atmosphere?

    Any major technological shift will put someone out of business. Remember typesetters? DTP put an end to that. Sadly, there will always be unintended consequences. But for this to happen, there must be benefits that far outweigh the inertia against changing at all. Someday, you will look back and realize that the iPad brought many positive changes to the world.

    Thanks for centuries of service, Mr. Guttenberg.

  • Decimate? The iPad may just breath some life into the publishing industry. If a $5 cover price magazine can mail me a subscription for $12, how much would their profit increase if they charged me even $10 for an electronic copy? I’d prefer it as I could have a stack of magazines in one device (same as the ereader appeal) and be able to search for any article or word within an article in a year’s worth of issues.
    Books? Print on demand and now eBooks have created a new market and the ability to offer niche material to a select audience.
    I see the iPad as being a wealth creator, not quite as you see it. But of course, time will tell.

  • I want to add the effect of ipad on books/comics

    The I-Pad is about as big as a book and/or comic so you don’t have to do all that stuff. With the added bonus I don’t have to line up boxes and boxes of comics throughout my house. I could give a f*ck about collecting comics I’m just interested in the stories. It’s not meant to be a competition either. And when I plan to travel I don’t have to carry a backbreaking load of books along with me and keep up with them. I’m not defending the I-Pad itself – I’m talking about anything the same size, shape, etc. that just doing that will be fine but so far there is nothing like that outside of the I-pad – not that I’m getting it anyway – but it’s a great idea. The shape and size of the I-Pad alone makes it better for reading than a laptop or Kindle – simple as that. No – it’s not the same thing as reading a real book/comic but you can carry a lot more “books/comics” on it than you can carry physically – which is a win.

  • gurvinder – If I read it right, the Marvel deal is $60/yr. Period. Not per title? I used to be a big comic fan, but they overtook my house. This is the cost of about 1-2 issues/mo and will attract new revenue. People who, like you or me, don’t care anymore for the physical book. This is pure upside (to Marvel) in my opinion. Want to bet DC will soon follow, as will the little guys?

    • Besides, Marvel makes money on Movies not Books. More fans = more box office receipts.

  • Nicolas Luco

    With iAd Apple transforms the ad industry into a hardware dependent one.

  • Decimate? hardly likely
    Shake? maybe!

  • Carrie

    Call me old fashion, but while at home I still prefer a book ( something about the feel and smell). While traveling of course the I-Pad is much more convienent. In my opinon I think the combo of both is ideal.

  • Ed

    I am old enough to remember when people thought television would eliminate all of the radios in this country. But instead, the role of radio changed and today there are more radios per household than there have ever been. TV and radio have evolved to fill different roles. I don’t know what the future of publishing will look like. But I suspect that printed books will continue to find a role. Digital distribution has tremendous advantages, but people are not likely to toss out the family Bible because it is available on their I-Pad.

  • Houshgntian

    I would also like to add education, especially vocatinal and training  insitutions.