Pub Date : 2009
Countries : US
Industry : Services
- Annie Proulx, American Journalist and author
- Boris Kachka, Journalist, New York
- Peter Crawshaw, Co-founder & Director, Lovereading.co.uk
The publishing industry is undergoing transformation and is into blues with the proliferation of
broadband. By the turn of 1990s, e-books entered the market as consumers by large started preferring
them over the traditional printed books. Adding to the woes of the publishing industry, in the first
decade of the 21st century, new devices for reading known as e-readers entered the markets
threatening the survival of the publishing industry.
Impact of Technology: e-Readers vs Publishing Industry
Publishing industry has been thriving on three major inventions - writing, paper and printing.4 Even before writings, in the 4th millennium BC, during the era of the Sumerians, knowledge was
disseminated through word of mouth. Most of the learning happened through memorisation. Gradually,
knowledge was preserved in writings, but was not passed on to the common man. The writings were
only confined to fix religious formulations or secure codes of law, genealogies and other socially
Dating back to the era of Assyrian and Babylonian kingdoms, writings were engraved on clay and stone tablets. However, it is believed that back in 600 BC, scrolls made of papyrus5 were used to make books. Also, these papyrus rolls are considered as the direct antecedents of paper, bearing a similar resemblance with the latter. In 213 BC, Chinese produced books using strips of wood or bamboo bound together with cords. Later, books were produced using materials such as codex6 , vellum and parchment7 . In the 2nd century CE8 , the Chinese invented paper, which became a viable alternative to vellum and parchment to make books. Multiple copies of books were produced by manual writing, until the concept of printing evolved.
1]Levy Steven,"The Future of Reading", http://www.newsweek.com/id/70983, November 26th 2007
2]Kachka Boris, "The End, http://nymag.com/news/media/50279/, September 14th 2008
3]Crawshaw Peter, "Beautiful, perfect, supreme chunk of paper", http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7619303.stm, September 17th 2008
4]"History of publishing", http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/482597/publishing#
5]Paper made from the papyrus plant by cutting it in strips and pressing it flat; used by ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
6]Constructed from folded leaves bound together on one side - either the right or the left, depending on the direction of writing.
7]Used interchangeably since the Middle Ages, both parchment and vellum were prepared using animal hides (though Vellum is a finer quality material).
8]Common Era (CE) is the calendar system commonly used in the Western world to number the year part of a date. The year numbers are the same as those used for Anno Domini (AD).