One thing that I found interesting in the articles we have read so far is the idea that, because the world of digital publishing and multimedia is so new, the industry is in a constant state of flux and there is no telling which way it will go.
Reid and Albanese’s article discussed the evolution of the e-book industry, and the many ways companies have attempted to expand their capabilities in order to keep consumers interested. In this article, they mention that one area of innovation for e-books is browsing: “the pleasure of the bookstore experience has not been reinvented for the Web or screen” (2). This reminds me of the discussion we had in class about the way e-books have hit a sales plateau of sorts. We came to the conclusion that e-books do not make any significant improvement on regular books save their portability. I found this idea of creating the bookstore experience in digital form interesting because, to me, it seems like e-book companies are simply trying to transfer print to digital rather than expand the technology to do something truly new.
Going off of that, I think to a certain extent the innovations in digital publishing are pioneered by people who are not as established, like publishing companies. As Kress discusses in his article, digital publishing and the Internet offers a greater degree of globalization and the integration of different ideas and methods of communications into different societies and cultures around the world (5). This greater degree of globalization allows many people who do not normally have influence in the publishing world to affect it, and I think a lot of the true innovation that is happening within digital publishing comes from them.
While many publishing companies struggle to capitalize on new technology and offer products and services that consumers actually make use of, people who are not as established in publishing gain attention and followers on social media in unprecedented ways. These days, there are a number of popular authors, such as Cassandra Clare, who originally gained followings as fanfiction writers—a kind of writing that creates a community around a central work or cast of characters, something far more interactive than the original work itself. In addition, video games (or ‘visual novels’) created by smaller studios make use of technology that enhance the experience in unexpected ways, such as Doki Doki Literature Club, a horror game that tells its story partly through computer glitches and breaking the fourth wall. Overall, I think what interests me the most about digital publishing is the idea that it is more open to those who would not easily break into traditional print publishing, and that it gives a wider range of options for telling a story.
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Albanese, Andrew Richard and Calvin Reid. “What Does 2016 Hold for Digital Publishing?” Publishers Weekly, 1 Jan. 2016.
Kress, Gunther. Multimodality. Routledge, 2010.