Image by d!zzy via Flickr While most people are curious about and looking forward to seeing Apple's iPad launch in March, we bet some people are not as excited. That would be publishers. Presently, when readers subscribe to a digital version of their favorite newspaper, it is the newspaper publisher that gets the revenue while their cost of distribution is virtually zero. With the iPad, it is more complicated. By reading periodicals on the device, not only are users going to give money to the newspapers, but also to Apple. It appears that thirty percent of the revenue would be go to Apple, with what is left going to the publisher. It makes sense for book publishing, but for a newspaper, whose subscriptions must be renewed every year, it is a bitter pill to


Moreover, by subscribing to digital newspapers via the Apple interface, consumers are not sharing their data directly with the publishers, which is a loss for the publishing industry. By analyzing their readers' data, journalists and publishers can better know who their readership is and what it wants.

If Apple keeps the consumer database, or sells it, this could quickly be an issue, not only for publishers but also for consumers.

Even if it might change the publishing business and be a loss for newspaper publishers, it is not enough to discourage them since a lot of magazines, like GQ, Wired or Vanity Fair, plan to release an iPad edition. It could be a Pandora's Box for all future devices and developer/publisher negotiations.

These two points are being discussed, but it seems like it would be an unequal fight since Apple has already made agreements with the book publishing industry and is ready to launch the iPad with an iBook in it.

By Marie-Axelle Pernot