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While I just discussed that there does not need to be a winner in the e-books vs. print books battle, there is however a battle plan, or at least predicted trends for e-books.

Philip Ruppel, the president of publishing company McGraw-Hill Professional, presents his thoughts on the “5 E-Book Trends That Will Change the Future of Publishing.” While his position gives him a lot of understanding and background in the issue, I think it also gives him some obvious (and expected) biases. Regardless, the article has some fascinating points. I’ll discuss two:

  • “Enhanced E-Books Are Coming and Will Only Get Better”: Enhanced books, according to the article, include interactivity through videos, audio, assessments, and even books that adapt to what the reader has learned (or not learned). These enhancements are what make e-books their own media. Mostly e-books now are just the same “text” as the print books, simply in digital form. But, the digital platform allows so much more, and not utilizing the possibilities is a loss. A loss they are apparently working on. In the previously mentioned battle between print books and e-books, a big argument for e-book/digital texts (like hypertexts) is the richness that can be provided through additional media/multimedia. It is nice to see this is finally happening in our e-books. After all this idea has only be around since at least 1992 in Bolter’s Writing Space. It is about time publishers beyond Eastgate caught on!
  • “Publishers Will Be More Important Than Ever”: While I am a big fan of the consumer-as-produce model that is developing with so many people now creating media through blogs, podcasts, videos, and so much more, I agree with Ruppel that vetted and edited content is important. I’ll save my arguments for “everyone as an author” for other posts and my arguments against gatekeepers for other, and likely overlapping, posts. Even in a world where user-created content is valuable and readily assessable (and wonderful in so many ways), there is still a need for (and an even greater need for) places where we can go to find content that has been vetted in some way. While we may enjoy reading independent author’s self-published online texts, we also may want texts that we know have undergone a professional publishing process and know the experts in the publishing field have found these texts worthy of their time and energy. Sometimes we like wading through all the options and sometimes it is good to have the options narrowed to works deemed valuable by experts. Of course, the vetting process is changing too–in some cases it can just be user ratings on self-published texts or independent artists’ music. I value users ratings and experts’ judgments, and I’m glad I live in a world where both are possible and where I can read a text written out of love and self-published in some form online and I can pay for an e-book or print book that has passed the publishing process.

Those are just two of Ruppel’s trends. Check out the full article for the other three and his thoughts on these two.

Link & Source:
“5 E-Book Trends That Will Change the Future of Publishing” by Philip Ruppel on Mashable: Posted by Jennifer L. Bowie, Ph.D. on Monday, January 24th, 2011 at 10:37 am.

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