After a decade of worrying about the Internet, after the collapse of its print advertising base, still only 12 percent of newspaper ad revenue came from online. (And, of course, a much tinier slice of circulation revenue.)
Or, perhaps most galling of all: Even after a decade-plus of eBay and Craigslist and Match.com and the rest, online revenue is barely half as big as classified ad revenue, the one line item most folks gave up for dead years ago.
Compare those depressing numbers with those of another industry undergoing digital disruption: the book industry. New numbers from the Association of American Publishers reported that ebook net sales jumped by 115 percent in January, year over year from 2010. At $69.9 million, January ebook net sales were greater than adult hardcovers ($49.1 million) and approaching adult paperbacks ($83.6 million). Newspapers just don’t have any new digital revenue streams producing in the ballpark of that rate of growth — in part because their monopoly power has been disrupted more than that of their peer industries.