Monday, December 3, 2012

Investigation 3: eReaders & Digital Books

The digitization of books has revolutionized the publishing industry significantly. Music and movies are no longer the only main form of media that has been converted to digital production. Due to recent technological advances such as the Kindle, Nook, and iPad, books and readable texts are now up to speed and finally in the same boat. The main appealing aspect of this technology lies within the convenience of it all. Through these progressive devices, readers can now buy texts online; download them straight to their device-- literally available at their fingertips. According to a new study by the Pew Internet Project, 21 percent of adults have read an e-book in the past year. When reviewing the demographics, it seems to be that mainly adults with children over the age of 18 use ebooks. The convenience of having such texts allows for a greater amount of book consumption according to the Pew Internet Project's statistics.

While the digitization of books provides a general increase in reading, it also "poses a general problem for the publishing industry" according to Tammi Guthrie's article,  The New Pirates: Book Digitization and the Future of PublishingTraditional book publishing includes production costs, increasing the overall price of the book. The tangible item its self have a price value that the ebook lacks. Ebooks are lower priced because there is no production cost involved in the process of transferring this portable content that they're selling. No production cost could eventually eliminate the business completely. Though this implies that regular books will one day become uncommon, which is unlikely. Printed books will always remain a classic medium of reading. The tangible aspect allows for readers to keep them, store them, cherish them, take notes in them, resell them, ect. This will never grow old, regardless of how convenient e-texts will grow to become. According to this blog, "the text is the important thing, not the medium."

JeffreyA. Trachtenberg's article, "Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-Books," he discusses how author's would once struggle to have their work published by top publishing houses. This digital revolution has disrupted the economic model of the book industry completely by generating much less income for publishers. According to publishers and agents, fewer literary authors will be able to support themselves as e-books win acceptance. Some feel that ebooks rob readers of their freedom in a way as well. In this article, Richard Stallman claims that, "with software, either the users control the program (making such software Libre or Free) or the program controls its users (non-Libre)." He promotes printed books due to the negative aspects of ebooks such as piracy and the unreliability of certain devices.

Ebooks and online reads have a plethora of benefitting aspects and attributes that can help us increase our content consumption through a new use of convenience and technological advances. While the convenience may be appealing, the revolution of this digitization suggests a detrimental future for the publishing industry. Though printed books may never become obsolete, the economic affect of the rise of ebooks are negative for authors and publishers-- overall hurting the economic model of the industry.

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