As a student and prospective writer, I have been quite interested in the leaps of technology that have revolutionized the publishing industry in recent years. Because of this, I am interested in doing my project on the influx of this technology, particularly the advent of digital readers such as the Kindle and Nook, and the resulting free or extremely low-cost books available online. From my current perspective, there seem to be two camps of people who have opinions on digital readers and texts – those that view these technologies as simpler, greener ways to continue a much-loved pastime, and those that are concerned about the effect this simplification can have on authors and publishers.
With all of this in mind, I would like to center my project on three main questions:
1) How has the publishing process been altered by the arrival of digital readers and text?
2) Can traditional publishers stand up to the increasing power of sites like Amazon as distributors of books, or will we see a decline of the “middle man?”
3) What are the consequences for authors whose work are now more easily accessible, and is sold at extremely low or no cost?
This project will be centered upon the interaction between media mandates, conditions, and practices that we have been discussing so far this semester. I will begin by discussing the intentions and goals of the publishing industry as a necessary source for authors to present their work, and then move in to the conditions faced by publishers – particularly, the technological category with the digitization of books. The practices of the industry will be included in my project as a hugely important way that publishers are being re-worked as a result of the technological advances in this area. I foresee this moving towards an interesting discussion on regulation – will regulation eventually be necessary to protect the creative work of authors? This project will combine many intersections within the media industry that we have been discussing, and I am excited to see where it goes.