Jul 11, 2006

Battles for the future of Literature

Define a book.

  1. Is it that paper thingy we hold in our hand full of printed words, which does not need any batteries.
  2. Or is it a sum of an author's output compiled into a structure for an audience.

Think carefully, because the ground beneath the literary world is undergoing a major shift.

Outside the Media/Publishing/Librarian world, not many realize the battles being fought in for the future of the book. Who will be the major publishers of the future? What is the best format for books to be published - digital text or printed or audio? Who controls the experience when books are sold/retailed or sampled-before-selling? Who catalogs these books? Who reviews and rates these books? Finally, who reads them?

Also, one could also wonder how the Nobel Prize for Literature is defined 20 years from now.

Though large publishers (like Random House, Penguin, McGrawHill, Wiley, O'Reilly) and book shop owners and Online retailers (such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble) and Online search providers (like Google, Microsoft, Project Gutenberg) and Ebook pioneers (like Gemstar, Rollable display, Sony Reader) are all competing for this space (note that there is usually an overlap). The future at this stage is still unclear.

There are only two sets of people who really hold the answers - one of them are the authors and the other more significant is You. You, the User, the Reader, the Customer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

True..but I belong to a genre of people who still like to sift through the pages of a book,digitisation is the unavoidable and necessary future, which in a way, will make book owners "The Treasurers".