I don't want to post too much on ebooks, but reading this article made me re-realize how interesting I found the subject, and I had a few thoughts I hoped to get some reaction on.

Media Convergence is converging is a reactive loop with technology convergence. I think I can say that definitively. The iPhone already represents the music, phone, and laptop compilation. Camera-phones are ubiquitous. I think I can confidently say in 10 years we will be carrying fully functioning laptop-phone-camera-music devices which are our primary interface. You might say, we have this now, and we have had this discussion on the blog before. What I mean is that I think the majority of people won't own computers in addition. It will no longer be supplementary.

The question I am considering now is whether I can add a dash book to that list. My immediate inclination is yes. The technology already exists. Functionally it makes perfect sense, few mediums are as ripe for discrete portability.

The problem seems to be one of content. We live in an interesting age in which when given knowledge of consequences beforehand the implementation of material technology has to make financial sense for it to occur. Somebodies gotta make money, thats the premise of capitalism.

The digital age has confused this notion to no end. As the music industry has learned when a product moves from physical to digital materiality there is a complete dissolution of control. You think the publishing companies aren't watching the record industry and shitting their pants with fear?

This is not a clear-cut issue. There is obvious appeal for the complete elimination of a physical product. No more cd's, and no more paper, and that's a lot of money saved. Yet look at the music industry. People don't like to pay for things, and when something goes digital you never will have to.

I think this is even more frightening for the publishing industry.

Now here is where it gets really interesting. I could care less about the infrastructure and well-being of the publishing industry. That infrastructure does, however, absolutely structure the writing industry. Electronic publishing can be done basically for free and is the independent publishers dream.
Yet I fear the unknown.

Can the internet organize well-enough to retain a popular dissemination of valuable literature? I mean I can honestly say fuck major corporations, I don't care. However they are filled with humans who have spent a lifetime honing skills in deciding what it is I might like to read. I fear that a change in the industry will change the product inexorably. Probably it will happen no matter what. I disagree with the assertion of the story above. I think these forms will directly compete surprisingly soon.

Will publishing companies ever make the move to digitize work? Will ebook readers be developed if they don't? Will an independent publishing world develop in its place if ebook readers become ubiquitous? Will anyone be able to make money writing novels in a digitized world? If not, will the novel phase out of existence? Is it already?

Here is my postulation: The ebook reader is a farce. Look at the convergence of technology. The laptop, the iphone, these are ebook readers without the nifty screen technology. The medium that is so important to Mcluhan, and the materiality so important to Hayles are converging too. This already has meant a rise in self-publishing. Physical newspapers are on the way out. They survive however because they constantly create content, and repeat viewing is money in a digital world. Novels do not engender a repeat viewing, or an ad-based income. Novels make money because people pay for content. And no one pays for content on the internet.

Capitalistic stranglehold means to much. The ariticle is right for an unexamined reason. Ebook readers are empower the consumer, it is not a locak of interest by them which holds the digitalization of literature back, it is the producer. And the producer has no interest in abandoning paper. Independent publishing doesn't guarentee enough or any money to the author, and until it does will not overcome traditional publishing.

Sorry about the jumble of ideas, but I have a got a paper due tomorrow and am always able to convince myself not to start if I am doing other work.
I would love to hear some disagreement to this stream-of-consciousness reasoning, so that it can be refined.

i'd never thought much about the publishing industry and digitization before. it does seem that the book is on its way out. the long form doesn't work in the new advertising-based model. publishers are already having a really difficult time making a profit.