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Witness the Power of the iPad: Newseek to Kill Print Edition, Go Digital-Only in 2013

For a long time we’ve been heralding the death of the printed word. The advance of digital platforms for reading have made it seem all but impossible, and now, purveyors of that opinion have a huge corpse to point at—it’s Newsweek.

After being in print for a whopping 80 years (that means 1932), Newsweek will be one of the first mainstays in print to become all-digital. The digital publication will be called Newsweek Global, and Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown says there will be a single worldwide edition that is made available through digital sellers like Apple, Kindle, Zinio, and Nook.

The reason this change is happening now must have something to do with 39% of American claiming to get their news online. Brown and Newsweek state that digital has become the most efficient way for them to reach their readers—current and future, we assume, as tablet owners are projected to exceed 70 million before the end of 2012.

While Brown acknowledges the difficulty of saying goodbye to print and all its romance, she makes no mistake about the quality of the publication staying the same: “… This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism—that is as powerful as ever.” But the fact that she even needs to say so poses an interesting question about devices like the iPad and its Newsstand platform. Are they seen as less legitimate than print, and if so, how many Newsweeks will it take before the perspective shifts?

If you’re a current subscriber to Newsweek, your final print edition can be expected on December 31st. After that, you can be part of deciding whether there was any wisdom in this bold move by your decision to migrate to iPad or absolve yourself from Newsweek altogether.

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