When is a Digitized, Enhanced, Video-enabled Book No Longer a Book?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka


By Edward Nawotka

In today’s lead story, digital first publisher Eoin Purcell argues that e-books are, essentially, a cul-de-sac — a dead end. He writes:

…the industry, despite notable and impressive exceptions, is still avoiding the inevitable accommodation and embrace of the internet AS THE PLATFORM. As a body, we are ignoring the implications of digital change and seeking short and medium-term patches at the expense of long-term success. We need to prepare for a smaller print industry (in terms of titles, publishers and staff) and a bigger digital industry — one that will exist in a multiplicity of forms beyond the e-book.

If this is true, then it suggests and an alternative — Vooks (video/books) maybe? Elaborately linked Web sites (those already exist)? “Live Books” (more on that in a forthcoming edition of Publishing Perspectives)? Individual chapters sold piecemeal? Certainly that is already being experimented with now.

So, the question remains, when is a book no longer, well, a book?

Let us know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter using #ppdiscuss.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.