23 February 2014
End of the Gutenberg Age
An eBook is simply a digital book. Digital books can be read on almost any digital device in our technologically advanced society. Whether it be your laptop, tablet, kindle, or even cell phone. eBooks share many of the traditional features of printed books, such as cover, title pages, copyright page, tables of contents, chapters, and the words to fill those chapters. However for the past 564 years, the primary source of literary communication throughout the world has been printed books. Threw compositions of paper, bound in card stock, and stamped with liquid ink(The eBook Industry intext), we received our news, education, religions; even greetings and condolences. Now with an emerging new industry of the digital publication of large quantities of copyrighted information that can be communicated at lightening speeds with environmentally friendly methods shifting the economy away from paper and ink to backlights and batteries. The idea for digitalizied publication is not a new one. It began around World War II with the Gutenberg Project. The Gutenberg Project started digitizing texts in 1971, with Vannevar Bush, an American computer and science engineer and creator of the memex. The memex was created as a way for individuals to store and read increased amounts of literary information .For the past 43 years however, eBooks have not been widely embraced by the public. Individuals view eBooks as a solution for which there exists no problem. Others view them with suspicion and fear that they will displace "printed books" (The eBook Industry Takes Shapes Citation). While others such as book store owner, Andy Ross, who pointed out the bleak future of standing book stores, saying “there is going to be a tipping point where eBooks become the dominant medium, thus ending the 500 years of the Gutenberg Age”. Therefore accepting the fate of "printed books". This "tipping point" may be soon then later. Progress in the digital publishing industry can only move forward. In the United States the eBook accounted for 3% of the overall market in 2009. Come 2010 the eBook was at 7% of the United States overall market. With improving reading devices and the integration of online access to web based book stores with wide variety of material; the digital publication industry continues to grow in favor amoung the masses. Book store owners, such as Andy Ross, are going to have to rethink their bussiness plans. Traditional bookstores are at risk of extiction with the up incoming market for digital litature. With market studies at hand, its clear that idividuals are willing to make the transition from printed books to eBooks(Turning the Page The Future of eBooks citation). putting furture books sales at risk. Publishers are going to have to position themselves as content providers and not just the suppliers of physical books. Publishers will have to make the content available in multiple formats. Not limited to the paper and ink in the hard copy, but able to include audio, video, and games. This additional content will lead to substantial revenue increase with possibly lower production costs (Turning the page). The eBook has started a battle for dominance of this market between companies both large and small, leading to complex legal arrangments, and expansion in law firms specialized in the digital publication industry. However, eBooks will potentially find their greatest acceptance in the educational market. Modern day text books are unreasonably expensive and frequently revised. Imagine if a student could register at a university, download all of their course text for the semester, and have any revisions to the text instantly, and then electonically erased at the end of the semester. This would greatly reduce college expensises (eBook Trends). Not to mention chriopratic visits. Promoting enviromental sustainability with the dematerialisation of literature products, increased mobilty of a varity of information, and decreased consumer prices of copyrighted material; the eBook technology has, and will continue to reform the publication industry. It is safe to say the printed books are not going anywhere, but it seems that the eBook technology will be the winning reading preference among the masses in the near future; bringing an end to the Glutenberg age ironically with success of the Glutenberg project.
Grogg, Jill E., and Beth Ashmore. "Riding The Ebook Wave." Against The Grain 17.1 (2005): 41-49. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. Moberg, Åsa, Clara Borggren, and Göran Finnveden. "Books From An Environmental Perspective-Part 2: E-Books As An Alternative To Paper Books." International Journal Of Life Cycle Assessment 16.3 (2011): 238-246. Environment Complete. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. PR, Newswire. "Fast Company Publishes First Ebook: Hacking Hollywood." PR Newswire US 05 Aug. 2013: Regional Business News. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.