Thursday, September 29, 2011

Consumer Response to the Digitization of Print

One of the more recent realms of production to join the media industry and to digitize is eBook technology is the printing industry. The development of technologies like the iPad, Nook, and Kindle has completely changed the entire print market. These tablets bring knowledge to the fingertips of the consumers: novels, textbooks, newspapers, and magazines. Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and Apple have developed their own niche market that appeals to many customers as an accessible and simple way to quickly obtain many print sources in one location. The accessibility, size, price, and wifi capabilities these tablets have are extremely appealing to modern consumers and overall public interest in a media source. The impact this industry has and will have on other industries and the public will change the way print work is released.

According to Anderson and 3 Three Party Model, the print industry is made up of three parties, the Publisher, the Author, and the Consumer. For my project I would like to focus on the consumer spectrum I feel exists in this industry. Because the eBook phenomenon is so new and innovative, I believe there are three different ways that the consumer is receiving and reacting to the new technology. First there is the advocate; the consumer who has completely given up the traditional ways to absorb print and believes in the eBook. Then there is the converted; those who at first were skeptical towards something like the Kindle but now see the advantages it carries. Finally the consumer who resists purchasing an eBook; those who cherish the idea of holding an actual book or print source. I am interested in looking at the way these large companies market each of the consumer groups. How do these companies target those who refuse to conform and keep their current subscribers?

I plan on starting with an overall background on the eBook industry and how it has affected other markets. I will do this through examining the positive and negative aspects the industry has had thus far. I will then look at what the digitization of books offers the consumer and what it lacks. Although my project will be centered on the audience, I will also need to look at how the large corporations distribute, use creativity, and advertise to their consumer base. I will examine all of these factors in looking at the mandates, goals of the digitization of print, and the practices of the media industry. The main overarching theory explored in my paper will be Technological Singularity and the idea that technology is advancing beyond what the human mind can comprehend. In this specific case, sources such as the iPad give the consumer the power and the ability to have everything in one source. As a consumer who does not own any form of a tablet, I am interested to investigate how large corporations advertise because I am in the target audience.


  1. This sounds like a really good topic, it really makes you wonder how much longer tangible print media will be around. A much more efficient system has been developed and it seems like somethings must die when that happens (VCR-DVD-BluRay, Records-Cassette Tapes-CDs-MP3s, etc.). I think it would be really interesting to look at the hit that print media (more specifically newspapers) took with the evolution of news on the Internet and compare that with the hit that is now taking place with the iPad, Kindle, and other handheld devices.

  2. Lisa, this sounds like a great research topic. As you mentioned eBook technology is a growing part of our society and may take away from the printing production. I think it would be interesting to look into how eBook technology may negatively affect the printing industry (occupational and economic loss).
    Similarly to you, I do not own any form of tablet and do not plan to any time soon. The only way I see myself owning a tablet is if the print production no longer exist. Do you think we as a society would ever get to that point? or is the Ebook technology a phase that we will pass by?
    Lastly, it would be interesting if you conducted surveys or interviews (Denison specific) about peoples thoughts on Ebook technology and its future in our society.

  3. Lisa, I really like the media industry you are choosing to focus on. After reading your summary I began to think about what it will mean for colleges and universities regarding textbooks. There are already teachers who are moving away from textbooks and only using articles from online. I would also be interested to see if libraries have experienced a decline in visitors or if there is something special about a library that will allow them to stay despite the move towards electronic books. Good luck with your research!