So one of the topics I am very much interested in is the evolution of media and information technology. One of the budding areas that we are watching grow into its toddler, if not teenage, years, is the ebook. To keep the metaphor going, it really is only a matter of time before our teenager starts experimenting in order to figure out what they really are. But first lets talk about where stories, in the form of books, have been going.
The popular e-readers of today are trying desperately to copy books. This is because books have an established niche of readership that keeps them afloat financially that has been steadily declining since the invention of video. Declining but not being erased. Actually since the internet became popular, we’ve seen an increase in the amount that people read daily, thanks to email and websites.
The internet gave birth to what I’ll call the first evolution of story, that being the jump to self published internet fiction, which you can find all over the internet in audio and written form if you try. Serialized web novels are popular these days, along with terabytes of fan fiction and much more. But this evolution doesn’t hold up economically for most authors, at least not until recently. There has been another slower evolution, the eBook.
[feed]More on the site, including a peek at a possible evolution beyond eBooks.[/feed]The adoption of the ebook by mass media publishers has been slow. The digital framework for ebooks has been around for almost half a decade but it has only gotten popular with specialized mobile computing decides such as the Kindle, Sony eReader, Nook, and the iPad. This is because it is a huge commercial venture for large companies who have a lot of to risk and like all big companies, they waited to see if smaller companies could stay float using ebooks before diving in themselves and taking over. See my other article about how some are succeeding at taking over or at least shoving people out.
But now the big companies are throwing in, with other newer companies taking bites out of the industry. I read an article somewhere, which I sadly can not find, that compared the ebook market to the paperback market back when hardback books were the only mass-produced books. The large-scale paperback market was actually founded by magazine companies, rather than the big publishers of the time, until the big publishers saw how profitable it was, and moved in to get a slice of the pie.
But unlike paperbacks, ebooks have more potential to do more than just copy books. Hence why I feel that ebooks are actually in their toddler years. They’re growing popular and they’re taking shape, but they could be more. Let me show you one of things they could be:
Let me introduce to you the Vook.
Now I am not saying that the above is the pinnacle of what an eBook could be. Actually it is not even something I am interested in buying, except for perhaps those guide books, where video, audio, and text combined together would make an amazing resource, I feel. But for fiction? Not really.
But what about books that come embedded with their own music depending upon the page or scene you are reading? What kind of mixed media or new media could be developed using digital technologies with written text.
I doubt a pure text story will ever been fully squashed out as long as written language is a staple of modern societies around the world but I am very much looking forward to seeing what kind of media could be created by the advancement of cheap mobile technology.
What do you think the media of tomorrow will be like?