After two months of owning an iPad, I finally went to my local newsagent today and cancelled my daily newspaper.  I had delayed this partly because I had a subscription arrangement that made it more complicated, and partly for nostalgic reasons, I really enjoy  breakfast and my morning paper.  But the iPad will do the job just fine, and it is good to reduce our  paper consumption.   The newsagent seemed uninterested, despite the fact that we must have spent thousands of pounds with him over the 12 years we have lived here, and even the newspaper subscription department did not bother to ask me why I was cancelling the subscription.  Are they both resigned to their fate? And what is their fate?  The Guardian is developing a digital strategy, but the newsagent may find it harder to find a new niche or business model, as a Tesco Metro has recently opened near him.

Recently the newspapers  got lighter and lighter by the week as they carried less and less advertising.  A year or two ago the weekend editions would weigh down the paper boy so much that his father would drive him around his delivery round, and we would fill our recycling bin each week with old newspapers.

I will continue to read the Guardian for free, on either my iPad, or on my phone, and have taken out a subscription to the Ft.com  and still have made some savings that may enable the iPad to pay for itself.  I may find my political horizons broaden as I am exposed to more varied political perspectives, less tied to the media that I feel obliged to read because I have paid for it.   I won’t be rushing though to read the Huffington Post, as I still prefer reading content from professional writers, preferably ones who have been paid for their work (the Guardian’s Hadley Freeman should tread a bit lightly on this issue though, because I know the Guardian doesn’t pay everyone who writes for it either).

I hope I will spend the money I save wisely, and not fritter it on silly things as some  do, according to Zoe Adamovicz of Xyologic, the fastest growing revenue generator is the in-app purchase of “virtual goods” for games.

What does this mean for other  publishing sectors such as education?  I rather suspect that the transfer from print to digital may be just as dramatic, and that this will be equally tangible, as educational products get lighter and lighter until one day their customers make that switch to digital, possibly with similar emotions to mine today. Or perhaps not.  Let’s hope they share my respect for materials that have been written and edited by professionals, who have been rewarded for their skills.  Like me, they may diversify, and switch more easily between products and publishers, because switching will be a lot easier.