It has been a long-rumored change coming to the mainstream print arena (and some smaller players have already gone this direction), but big news this week with Newsweek announcing it will cease to produce a print version of its publication starting in 2013.

While this plan is a great way to continue the tradition of compelling journalism and story telling that Newsweek has made its reputation on, it does raise the question if the average Newsweek reader accustomed to receiving a printed magazine will keep the relationship with the publication. From the article:

Currently, 39 percent of Americans say they get their news from an online source, according to a Pew Research Center study released last month. In our judgment, we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format. This was not the case just two years ago. It will increasingly be the case in the years ahead.

It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism—that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.

Given the above statistic that just 39% of Americans receive their news from an online source is this move by Newsweek premature?

Read the full announcement here.