Monday, December 3, 2012

Digital Books: A New Balance

     The world of media should be understood as something that constantly evolves to meet expectations that developing conditions create. Digitization has made a splash into the smooth waters of traditional publishing and has since caused quite a ripple effect. Nowadays you can't look left or right without seeing that snobby guy on his iPad or that hipster girl at the coffee shop with her Kindle. Companies such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon are all adapting to the digital era by investing in personal and practical products like these tablet-type products

     Does this mean that the world will make a sudden shift from paper to digital? Not yet, however the audience for e-Readers will only increase in coming years. The publishing industry has truly been re-formed due to this new platform of technology, yet e-books haven't served as a single lifeline for any of the major publishing companies. The developing demographic of e-Readers simply functions as an alternate opportunity for delivering content -- besides the internet, mobile, and print. For many people within the publishing industry, e-books are simply viewed "as a promising alternative distribution channel -- and one for which they might actually get paid". The numbers have indeed strongly suggested that digital books offer a huge profit for these companies in the near future.

     In July 2010, online giant announced that the sales of e-books for its Kindle surpassed sales of hardcover books, saying it sold a whopping 140 e-books for every 100 hardcover books. Another publishing power has profited from the future investment of digital e-books despite the financial risks and concerns that come with competing against Apple's powerhouse iPad. Barnes & Noble predicts the sales of e-books rising from around $250 million in 2010 to over $2 billion in 2015. The increase in demand for e-books is re-shaping the publishing industry and creating a new market for our digital pioneers to explore. Colleges and businesses are institutions that are soon predicted to help integrate the younger generations with this new technology. University of Missouri's program director for digital publishing Roger Fidler stated he"wouldn't be surprised to see schools require e-readers at some point," he says-particularly if they can replace heavy textbooks. This concept would help draw in younger demographics to e-readers; while the common Kindle operator is around 40.

     The spectrum of digital and printed books seems to be more balanced than ever before. Interestingly enough e-book readers remain dedicated consumers of print books as well, with 58% of e-book owners stating that they were reading print as well as digital books simultaneously. So for those of you who are worried about losing traditional book styles, take a chill pill. The resurrection of digital e-books has given more agency to the consumer by introducing a new medium. Out of many individuals that were asked it was easy to see how these mediums were preferred according to specific situations.

     One can clearly observe how the process of digitization can affect an industry either for better or for worse. The development of e-Readers does not mean the end of anything. Written books will always be around, however digital copies also provide consumers with advantages such as easy access, simpler storage, and mobility. The question here is not whether or not printed books will survive in today's digitized world. It is instead important to look at book publishing from an updated perspective and observe how these mediums will coexist with one another on an equal spectrum.

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