The Future Of Publishing Blog by Thad McIlroy

Computer Hardware and the Future of Publishing

The future of publishing is determined in part by the hardware that’s available (and, of course, by the software, which I consider separately). A basic example: color image editing on a personal computer was not realistic until the first color monitors became both widely available and affordable,  in the late 1980s. Another example: the failure of the early ebook industry was seen as in part because there were no e-readers available that were both comfortable to use as well as affordable. The first version of the Amazon Kindle retailed for $399. Apparently that was affordable. (Today’s entry point price for an Amazon e-reader is under $100, about 23% of the first Kindle pricing.)

By comparison, the first iPhone released in 2007 retailed for $499. The base price for 2019’s iPhone 11 is $699 — it’s an enormous achievement for a vendor to increase the price of its hardware over a dozen-year window.