Scientific american mind dating in a digital world
There's considerable speculation about how digital books may restructure the balance of power between authors and publishers, largely based on Stephen King's experiments, but little mass-media discussion of how digital books are really likely to change the world for the consumer or for society as a whole.What's really happening is much more complex than the emergence of a new kind of consumer electronics device, or a new marketing channel for books enabled by these appliances.Authors are also exploring digital books as a new means of reaching audiences, and one that may rearrange the economics of book publishing.With vast publicity, Stephen King gave away a novella called "Riding the Bullet" for downloading, and subsequently offered installments of a novel called The Plant for paid downloading based on an honor system.This generated enough revenue for King to produce a number of installments before placing the project on indefinite hiatus.
Much of the discussion seems to be about whether, and if so when, e-books will replace traditional print-on-paper books, and a great deal of the debate is infused with sentimental appeals to reading on the beach or in the bath, the joys of finely printed books, and of browsing in good bookstores.With the convergence of different types of content into a common digital bit-stream, developments in industries such as music are establishing precedents that may define our view of digital books.At the same time we find scholars exploring the ways in which the digital medium can enhance the traditional communication functions of the printed work, moving far beyond literal translations of the pages of printed books into the digital world.The argument is a masterpiece of technological manifest destiny.
Adobe has similar capabilities in their Acrobat and Ebook Reader products.
This paper examines competing visions for the future of the book in the digital environment, with particular attention to questions about the social implications of controls over intellectual property, such as continuity of cultural memory.