Writing, Reading and Publishing in the Virtual Media Age

Monday, January 12, 2009
With the state of the economy having some newspaper companies tightening their reigns as well as the transition to more and more of us being online, what do you think will happen with print format publishing? What do you think will be the near future? Amazon.com has its Kindle and there are other formats with which readers can download chapters or books much like has happened with MP3 files of music and audio clips. Do you think these still-expensive e-books will force the phasing out of books? If so, how long will it take and will this happen worldwide or only in the areas where global markets support the technology?

Likewise, one could consider these same questions with newspapers, journals, and magazines. Do you think in the near future we will only be able to read these in online format? If so, will they be exclusively by subscription or will texts be free for us to access? These latter questions come from the talk online about how even the large newspapers like the NY Times are losing circulation (for some additional commentary: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/09/inew-york-timesi-demise-r_n_156608.html).

Would you as a reader support these possible changes or cling for the maintenance of the hybrid approach we have currently? As a writer, which would you prefer? Would you want your articles transcending national or regional boundaries by being online, or would you rather have more exclusivity to your published work?

Personally, I am on the fence. I have written in support of keeping professional newsletters and journals in dual format so non-U.S. readers or Americans doing research abroad still had access to a "virtual library," but also, have hardcopies too. However, I'm really reluctant to read longer works beyond a few newspapers or doctoral dissertations on my computer screen, much less something as small as a Kindle type screen. Then again, I took years before phasing into the hybrid world of film-loading and digital cameras, and portable CD players and MP3 players, and will likely eventually adjust or be forced to adjust to the 21st century way of business. What do you all have opinion-wise to say? What do you picture the libraries and publishing realms of the future being?


Joanne said...

I think part of reading is tactile, so there will be resistance to phasing out of books/papers. Who doesn't like to linger over a page, dogear the corner, settle in an easy chair beneath a lamp with a book? There is a comfort to it. I'd like to see a happy compromise blending technology and books. It's a tough call though. An article I wrote for a newspaper also appeared in their online version, and then was picked up and reprinted online by Canadian and European publications. Without technology, as a writer I'd lose that benefit.

A said...

I love having articles on-line in a digital form, but I just cannot imagine reading books or longer pieces in a digital form. My husband talked about getting me one of the Sony Digital Book readers for my subway commute, but I convinced him against it. I love having the physical book in my hand, being able to actually turn the pages. The reader would be lighter to carry, but I'll be a hard one to convince on trading in books.

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