Jeff Sparrow writes over at New Matilda of declining newspaper circulation and makes this startling point.
That is, while the web might have exacerbated declines in circulation, the trend was already apparent long before the internet came onto the scene. In Australia, for instance, newspapers reached their peak influence in the late 1970s or early 1980s, and their reach has been shrinking ever since.
When falling readership on paper coincides with a growing online or digital audience, the temptation is strong to directly link the two and cry 'paper killer!' For a media hell bent on framing any story as a duel to the death, the concept of correlation is just a party pooper.
The same trend can be found in books through a complicated mishmash of increasing book production, rising and falling sales depending on genre, falling sales overall, and the growth of digital publishing options. Some are linked, some are coincidental.
Which are which? We won't know until we sort through the data.