Most of us have received phone books, advertisements, and many other paper-printed products that we have simply thrown away. The cost associated with the process of lithography, and the relative availability of wood resources for making paper made this a viable economic solution to target customers for many years. However, the tide has turned decidedly against this practice, as lithographic processes have become more expensive as regulation has increased regarding ecological issues, and pulp resources have become further constricted. However, these restrictions have no lead to the demise of advertising, but rather the refining of techniques to target specific customer groups using personal information. Now, advertising and products in general, can be targeted to an audience using sophisticated methods of value-added information to target customers and potential buyers, while eliminating the overhead and waste associated with traditional print processes.
As the quality of digital publishing has been increased, so the technologies associated with them have also been enhanced to support this need. New advancements in programming and coding, such as the use of flash banners and XML-driven text has created a trend of sophistication in the digital publishing market that could never have reached had printed products retained the economic advantage. This quality increase has also lead to a demand for it on the side of the consumer, which has produced mass competition to produce good digital publishing. The advancement of CSS and XML languages can be directly tied to this new form of digital publishing, primarily through advertising-driven campaigns.
One of the most important aspects of digital publishing is its relatively low impact on the environment, especially in regard to its predecessor, printed documents. The need to cut trees, extract pulp through abrasive chemical processes, the use of corrosive and poisonous inks and their drying units, and the general waste associated with printed materials that have been discarded have been almost completely eliminated. Today, the disposal of materials is a matter of deletion, thanks to digital publishing. As with the higher quality standard that we just discussed in the previous paragraph, this need for green solutions is demanded not only by commercial interests, but also by the consumer, as well.
Digital publishing has also enabled the opening of the internet to new and creative niches, which were not possible just a few years ago. The massive success of blogging and social networking sites can be directly linked to the digital publishing industry. In regard to printed materials, most consumers still like to hold a book in their hands, and of course, this has not been eliminated. The difference with digital publishing, is that the book can be either displayed using new magnetic ink displays, or can be printed in an on-demand fashion, where one customer receives one book, eliminating further the waste from long print runs.