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Struggling Newspaper and Publishing Biz; Apple Bucks Trend

20 October 2009 One Comment

The newspaper and publishing businesses are dying.  In my opinion, you might not see print newspapers at all in 10 to 15 years.  The New York Times announced that they are cutting 8% of their work force.  This is another sign of many in recent years that the Times is all but healthy.  The Times isn’t the only newspaper struggling; several have gone bankrupt and more are in trouble.  This trend is likely to continue as more and more people get their news and content online.

Another similar but different industry, the publishing business is having some interesting developments.  While the e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle most likely are having an impact on book sales, there were news this week that Amazon, Wal-Mart and even Target are all slashing prices big time on major books coming out in the coming months.

For example, you can get Sarah Palin’s anticipated book, Going Rogue, for $9.00 on Amazon.  While I wasn’t planning on buying the book, I’m actually considering it now since it’s pretty cheap.  Other books such as Grisham’s upcoming novel are also going to have the discounted rate.  I assume this is an attempt to get traffic and profit on other items sold, but this cannot be good for a retailer like Barnes & Noble who sell ONLY books.  If this is a trend that continues, it’s sure to have an impact on publishing.

Apple’s Earnings Grow 46%

In a story bucking the overall retail trend, Apple destroyed earnings this quarter with record iPhone and Mac sales.  Revenues and profits grew big time.  What an amazing story.

But, Kevin, don’t you always say that the consumer is dying?  Yes, I do.  I attribute the insane numbers to two things.  One, Apple has a superior product mix and they will outperform other retailers and electronic manufacturers.  Second, I attribute big earnings this past quarter to the rise in the stock market.  When asset prices (stock prices) rise, people feel richer and more wealthy and they’re more likely to spend.  While I have reservations (big ones) on the economy, the numbers from this quarter don’t lie.  Where we go from here will be interesting to watch.

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