Modes of Publishing – ARTS2090 – Justin O’Keefe

One particular debate on publishing that interests me is the seemingly intensifying battle between bloggers and traditional print news media. Two forms of publishing, one old, one new, each seeking to outlast the other as they compete for your readership. If you ask me, the bloggers have the upper hand in this battle. Like any new forms of media, they will eventually saturate the market, and all but a few traditional sources of print news media will disappear just like vinyl records.

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos blog, “a daily web blog with political analysis on US current events from a liberal perspective,” claims that contrary to popular belief, bloggers like himself do not want to see the demise of traditional print media such as newspapers like the New York Times, but they just want traditional media to do their jobs properly. “I think a lot of the decline in these traditional media outlets is because people

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos

have lost their faith that those publications don’t have ulterior motives or agendas. People like me, I have an agenda, and I’m very clear about it, but publications like the New York times are trying to be something better than that.” Moulitsas continues to argue that the implied credibility that publications like the NY Times as well as other traditional print media claim is dangerous.

I think the media and technology are one in the same. When technology changes, the media changes. This has always been the case. Look at the introduction of the television or the radio, both were enough to unsettle traditional print news media and cause a reaction, but not enough to completely dismantle it. I think the internet is the medium that will dismantle print media, however, it will be a long and slow process. Newspaper’s will not go down without a fight as some of the world’s richest people have invested interests in them. Take Gina Rinehart for example. After purchasing a large sum of Fairfax news in Australia,

Gina Rinehart

she has asked for a position on the board. Clearly, she wants her voice and opinions to be heard, but in a subtle, manipulative way. I think this is part of the reason people have lost so much faith in traditional print media, purely because they aren’t sure if it can be trusted anymore, and bloggers are able to provide a more personal engagement. Their motives, if any are generally clearly laid out for the audience, there is no facade of impartiality. Essentially, the internet and it’s ability to transform events through time and space by the second will prove the downfall of traditional print media.

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E-Readers – ARTS2090 – Blog – Justin O’Keefe

A creative illustration showing what authors and publishers believe to be the future of books

E-readers and tablet devices are dramatically changing the way we read books. Is there a future in printed books? I don’t think so. As blunt as I made that prediction sound, the idea of a world where books are rare commodities, much like record vinyls (expensive collector items) saddens me.

Only recently I used my mum’s Sony e-reader in my first attempt at readin an e-book: Anthony Horowitz’s take on Sherlock Holmes, The House of Silk. Although I was thoroughly enjoying the plot and Horowitz’s writing style, I felt as if the the e-reader somewhat prevented me from becoming completely immersed in the ‘book’. I missed turning the pages. I missed the feel of the book. I missed being able to admire the artwork of the front cover. All these little details led me to completely fogetting about the book entirely, having only read half of it. I haven’t purchased an e-book since.

For me, the cost, mobility and effortless nature of the e-reader doesn’t quiet outweigh the feel and the satisfaction of complete ownership of a  physical, traditional (I still find it odd refering to printed books as a traditional media) book.

Nonetheless, no-one can deny that the tablets and e-readers will revolutionise the publishing industry and deliver a breath of fresh air to the world of books, which has been somewhat stagnant in contrast to the world of exponential technological development in which we live and have grown accustom to.

Print publishers now need to completely re-think their approach to books. As Sachin Kamdar [] claims, “advances in media consumption technology for readers have been rapid, [and] the publisher side of web technology hasn’t kept up with the pace. Publishers have been running a marathon in a pair of shoes that are four sizes too small.”

If traditional publishers fail to adapt to the new world of e-books, they will die at the hands of companies like Amazon which have already blantanly launched their attack on the industy.   “Amazon could probably afford to lose $20 million/year in their publishing arm just to put the other publishers out of business. I think that’s what they’re trying to do–throw money around in an industry that doesn’t have any, until Amazon becomes not only the only place where you buy books, but the only place that publishes books, too.” [Sarah Lacy –]


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