The End of Books?

PUBLISHED ON 4/11/2012 ON STUDENT VIEW

Is this the end of books? Are books dead – can authors survive?

The digital revolution will bring the end of paper books eventually.

The e-books and e-publishing industry will change the writing profession. It will cut off the era of creativity. The writers that offer up their work will be given next to nothing in return. Writing as a full-time profession will change and no longer exist.

It seems misleading and ambiguous for someone to say books will no longer exist. Although across the years, everything is always reinventing itself. Back in 1939 they said that Penguin paperbacks would destroy the printing industry or that DVD’s would destroy the cinema industry.

E-books and texts have been available for some time in particular public domain titles, but recently there has been a change that has seen e-books marketed and obtainable commercially. E-books allow users to carry a number of different titles with them at once, building a personal library.  Although software and hardware developments are regularly changing to keep up with e-Book technological demands, as well as the consumer demands.

Brewster Kahle is a digital librarian who has suggested the concept of a free digital library. Kahle expanded on media convergence with regards to e-books, believing that society is on the cusp of accessing every book that has ever been published for free. The widespread knowledge will be readily available to all individuals at a simple click of a button.

Implications of such digital libraries technologies are what will it mean when individuals will have access to information everywhere, it removes the bounds of access, and introduces a cascading set of issues being trust, ownership, communication, human relationships and socio-technical association.

The role of publishers and libraries will also change majorly. Through the introduction of digital libraries the roles of publishers and libraries will differ. There has always been an existent relationship between publishers and libraries. Libraries have been one of the most frequent customers of publishing companies. Through it remains unclear if the introduction of digital libraries will affect such relationships.

The main function a publisher serves is to manufacture physical artifacts and ship those artifacts around. With the way digital libraries will function, there will no longer be the need for publishers. Publishers act as the intermediary, whereas the Internet has now replaced that job.

Libraries and publishers are facing realities for which policy-makers, authors and the consuming public must contend. The creators of digital libraries must believe that such a technology will have continuing and new value to society.

Although some of the challenges that may emerge will be the issue of the Intellectual Property Act and the Hybrid library system. If author’s works are placed online who will then own the works and if so will licensing fees come into creation? The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2003 was an act created to amend the legislation relating to intellectual property, and for related purposes.

The new-age digital library can also give authors who aren’t associated with publishers a chance to get their work published. There is a myth that in order to get published, authors need a publisher. With the growing popularity of e-Books, people are able to able to automatically get the authors work directly. Publishers print books. Authors sell books. Authors simply need to be put into an online catalogue and be listed in a few places to generate interest, enough to sell books. Authors could be listed in a digital library database or catalogue to generate their circulation numbers.

I am still one to go to the library and borrow a book. The physical act of reading a book, not scrolling through pages on a tiny screen is enjoyable. I understand that there are both benefits and negative effects that the e-book breakthrough will have on the industry. Although it can’t be said what will happen in the future. Will writer’s be able to live on a full-time writing wage? Will the writing industry be affected or strengthened?

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