8 May 2013
E-Reader and its Effects on Reading and Publishing
Bookmaking and reading has been an art practiced for hundreds of years. Only in the most recent years has the method of communicating written information changed. The advancement of technology has helped modernize one of the most rudimentary forms of communication. E-mail was one of the first methods of exchanging information on a media other than pen and paper. From that point onwards, there has been a type of Cambrian explosion in the world of media and information technology. Revolutionary new technologies invented by some of the most innovative companies to have ever existed have changed what was ...view middle of the document...
After hundreds of years, Johannes Gutenberg invented the first book printing press in order to increase the rate at which information was printed and communicated to the public.
With the invention of the printing press, book production increased and the cost of each book decreased. It is arguable that the quality of writing decreased as well because it was much easier to commission the writing of a book, but the quality decrease in negligible. Literacy rates increased with the production of books because they were much more widely available to the general, working-class public. Mass produced books also created jobs in many new fields, including communications and journalism. Books have improved our knowledge of ourselves and ancestors though accurate recordkeeping. The ideas that are recorded in books are kept for centuries, while the hundreds of great ideas that are voiced are forgotten in a wisp of time. After Johannes Gutenberg’s main invention of the printing press, there have been many changes to the process of bookmaking, but none of them have been so significant as to change the core of book writing and publishing industry.
To capitalize on the book industry, technology firms needed to produce a revolutionary new product that challenged the very existence of books. They did this by creating a ‘better’ book in the form of a backlit screen that displays text to the reader. This is not revolutionary technology on its own because it is just a handheld laptop or a larger sized cell phone. The revolutionary technology is the ability for anyone to write and publish a book without paying the premium costs that are required by publishing companies. By intertwining the publishing and distribution aspects of bookmaking, the companies created a new market for potential authors to explore. This method of publishing books is cheaper than going though a publisher for both the author and the publisher. The author can also explore self-publishing, which maximizes profits but can damage the media presence of his or her works. Finally, publishing through electronic media reduces the environmental damage involved in making a book, which includes the commercial forest cutting for paper and the chemical ink, which can be a deadly pollutant.
E-reader producers and writers hoped that the ease of purchasing a new book in the comfort of your own home would make consumers read more and their predictions have come true. Research done by Harris Interactive states that, “Half of both e-Reader users (50%) and non-users (51%) say they read the same amount as they did six months ago” (Harris Interactive). However, the people who have cut down reading are more likely to be those reading books, not e-readers. But when it comes to those who have increased how much they read, “over one-third of e-Reader users (36%) say they are reading more compared to just 16% of non-users” (Harris Interactive). This is understandable because a book is not nearly as convenient as...