What is digital publishing? You may think of it as Ebooks, or maybe blogs, but you’d be surprised as to the forms digital media, and digital publishing, can take. Digital publishing started with the Internet, but since then, it has grown substantially and has evolved into a force that has taken on conventional publishing.

What does digital and media mean?

When talking about something digital, we are discussing something that involves computers. That could mean anything from the Internet to the latest game you played on your smartphone to the response to a question you just asked Siri. All of these are possible because of digital technology. Without a computer — even a microchip in your iPhone qualifies — you wouldn’t be able to have that technology directly at your fingertips.
Media is something that we, as humans, use to communicate with. Media can be paper and includes magazines, newspapers, books, and documents. But it can also include artwork, and so canvases, stone, clay, and metal can become media when they convey ideas. Broadcasts of television and radio shows, movies, news, music, and other information occur within the broadcast medium, thus making broadcasts a form of media.

Digital media and digital publishing explained

When you combine the two words “Digital” and “Media,” you then see that digital media is media that uses computers to convey the ideas. Since publishing is the act of providing the digital media to the public, we can assume that digital publishing is the act to provide media to the public via computers. This means that any information published on the web, in Ezines, on blogs, for Ereaders, or as games are all part of digital media and the companies that provide them are digital publishing.

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Examples of digital publishing

In this way, we can see that Amazon.com’s Ereader, Kindle, and their publishing platform, KDP, are part of digital publishing. People create games and apps and have them published in the Google Play Store. Musicians record their music into MP3 files and upload them to iTunes which will digitally publish their music and make it available to iPods, iPhones, and other players. When you listen to Pandora, Spotify, or any other music service, you take advantage of their distribution network which is a form of digital publishing. When you look at digital images created in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop, you see the artwork that has been digitally published.

Uniqueness of the digital model compared to more conventional forms of publishing

Naturally, the medium of digital publishing is different than conventional forms of publishing, but that isn’t where the differences end. In digital publishing ebooks, you aren’t restricted by the length of the work as you would in conventional publishing. Conventional novels can be anywhere from 50,000 words to more than 300,000 words but seldom go above or below those numbers because of the cost of printing. Ebooks, however, can be any length the author feels is appropriate.

In newspapers and magazines, the concern is about how many inches the article can be in order to fit in advertisers. In Ezines, while the stories may be short simply because the audience may not read all of it, they are not constrained by the overall length of the medium. The same can be said for music and videos released on the Internet.

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At the same time, publication time has been slashed to almost nothing. Publishers no longer have to wait for production lag times. Because of this, digital media can be published quickly, usually with no more delay than one or two days once the production editing is completed.

In this way, digital publishing has surpassed conventional publishing and continues to expand and grow.

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