January 14, 2012
There is no questioning the fact that eBooks and eReaders of all sorts are having a tremendous impact on the way that society views reading. Books are suddenly more portable and available than ever. Everything from businesses to classrooms is moving to recognize and, in some cases, even require eReaders. Even the way that the library works has changed to accommodate the lending of book in electronic format. Right now, you can simply scroll to the top of this page and click Online Resources, where you could borrow an e-book fromOverDrive. However, I think that some of the most drastic, lasting effects have yet to be seen.
For example, with the advent of eBooks and other electronic representations of print material, it is plausible to say that there has been a fundamental change in the way publication works – insofar that a book can never really go "out of print"? I think possibly so. The only question is whether there will be a perpetual offering of the electronic form or if providers will withdraw access to that once the print versions are no longer published.
For this matter, it is worth considering how these inventions affect the relationship between consumers and the publishing industry. Recently, I have come across a few authors that are now writing books exclusively for electronic release or authors that are publishing smaller novellas that are only available as eBooks. I suspect that more and more authors will be moving in this direction as the popularity of eReaders continues to rise. The providers, of course, are all for this. After all, it’s cheaper to publish a book electronically, and the use of an eReader ensures the loyalty and continued patronage of a user to the specific provider (e.g. Kindle users to Amazon and Nook users to Barnes and Noble).
Overall, I think that the advent of eBooks has more far-reaching implications, the extent of which will only be revealed with time. eBooks are changing the way that we read, learn, and purchase. The question is: how much?
Oak Grove Branch