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We live in the age of the digital publisher. Not only do we live in the age of the digital publisher, but we live in the age where people are happily buying our digital content.

Consider this mammoth news release from Pew Research:

  • In a February 2012 survey, 21% of adults said they had read a e-book in the last year, compared to 17% who reported doing so in December.
  • The average reader of e-books says she has read 24 books (the mean number) in the past 12 months, compared with an average of 15 books by a non-e-book consumer.
  • There are four times more people reading e-books on a typical day now than was the case less than two years ago.
  • The majority of book readers prefer to buy rather than borrow. A majority of print readers (54%) and readers of e-books (61%) prefer to purchase their own copies of these books.

I would, by the way, encourage you to download and read the entire research paper (PDF format).

So, with this pile of very useful insights in hand, what does it mean? The short version is this: even the most local business can be a global business. That’s been a cliche for quite some time in Internet Marketing but not wholly true. The very act of putting up a web site automatically makes you globally available (if not findable in search), but being findable and browsable doesn’t mean you’re actually doing business and earning revenue on a global scale. You may get global visitors, but if you sell, say, pizza, your effective area of business is your delivery radius…

…until you become a publisher. When you become a publisher, you become a global business in the sense that you can generate revenue globally, even if your serviceable market area for your physical goods is highly restricted. The pizza shop that can only deliver in a 10 mile radius can put up a pizza recipe book in your eBookstore of choice and sell globally, and that’s what it means to be a truly global business.

This is the age of the digital publisher, and the ship is sailing now. It’s loaded with consumers and customers who are ready, willing, and eager to buy great quality content if you’ve got some and are willing to publish it. They don’t care whether you’re a tiny local pizza shop or a Fortune 10 company as long as you’ve got something worth reading.

The question is, are you standing on the dock watching it sail, or are you aboard?

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