Publishing and Disruptive technology

The second session of LAPIS was very informative, we discussed Printing/Reading/Books: From the knowledge to the sharing economy. However, I will focus on what I was most drawn to during the lecture.

What is publishing now? Years ago book publication was solely the responsibility of publishing houses. Where the manuscript goes through a process such as proof reading and editing etc. the typeset and the cover design was selected and then it was printed and distributed to the various book stores around the world. The ‘then’ process may now be thought of, as a slow one when compared to the way in which distribution/dissemination of information is now done, thanks to ‘Disruptive technology/innovation.’

The term disruptive technology was coined by Clayton Christensen to describe /explain what happens when one new form of technology displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry.

Hence, according to John Feathers (2006) Publishing is a commercial activity of putting books into the public domain. Publishers decide what to publish and then cause it to be produced in a commercially viable form e.g. e-books, the product is then advertized and sold through a network of wholesalers and retailers.

Further, we discussed Marshall McLuchan’s quote that is quite relevant in today’s society ‘the medium is the message’ that appeared in his book ‘Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man’ which was published in 1946. McLuchan saw the medium as having a symbiotic relationship with its audiences since it was established that the medium influences how the message is perceived.

Clearly publishing has undergone many fundamental changes over the years, and as my classmate Dominic

states, ‘the publishing sector has severely been disrupted by the emergence and growth of internet-based technologies – notable examples include the development of self-publishing as a viable business model, the development of e-readers and the replacement of traditional encyclopedias and reference sources with free, sourced alternatives such as Wikipedia.’ …

Until next week!


Publishing in an ever-changing society

Libraries and Publishing in an Information Society is one of my second semester courses for MSc Library Science. The first session was more of an introduction of the course content and structure. The definition and how technology has affected the work of the traditional publisher was also explored, videos were shared to demonstrate how content and form differs. It was very interesting and it caused me to dig deeper into understanding how the technological advances would affect the print document or publishing in society. Environmentalist would be cheering if less books are printed for the sake of the tree but what about people living in countries where broadband internet is just a dream or may take another ten years before it reaches that part of the world and when it do, would the lower classes of people be able to afford the cost of broadband?…just a thought! The National Archives   gives a detail description of what publishing entails along with its processes and practices. Further, While looking for literature to expand my knowledge in the area of publishing I stumbled upon this video   which described academic publishing in the digital era in a very simplistic manner. For those of you who are thinking of throwing out those books in print format because you prefer the e-books kindly think of those less fortunate people who are longing to get their hands on a book and make a donation…please!