Navigating the Digital Landscape: The Society of New Communications Research's Senior Fellow Danny O. Snow on the Impact of New Digital Formats and Technologies on Publishing
Extra: In your opinion, how will the future of e-books impact the future of print books?
Snow: The importance of e-books is growing. But as predicted in “The Myth of the Paperless Office” (Harper and Sellen, MIT Press, 2001), it’s unlikely that e-books will supplant tree books anytime soon. Instead, watch for a gradual migration from print to digital formats, most likely on open-platform, multi-purpose devices rather than dedicated e-book readers. POD is the bridge technology in the interim, combining many of the benefits of digital distribution with the comfort and economy of print for readers. Everyday people still prefer “real” books, and according to a recent report from the National Endowment for the Arts, titled “Reading on the Rise,” the audience for “literary” material is growing rather than shrinking, with 112 million readers in the United States alone. These factors suggest that foresighted publishers will position themselves for increasing digital distribution in the future, while finding better ways to reach readers in print in today’s market.