Archive for October, 2010

Week 11 post

I have been put into a group for the final assignment: the Electronic Publishing Project -which is worth 30%.  I am completing this course entirely online, and have just come into contact with two of my group. Fortunately – one of them is a professional writing major and has been using Word Press for his own personal blog for the last year. Another appears to be a foreign student from Asia. I am still waiting on contact from our fourth member. We are currently altering our major projects to be published online – taking into account the course content from week 5 – it should only be 50 percent of the sze of the printed text, removing all unessecary words and sentences, using font type Verdana or Georgia, using less complex words, etc.


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‘Reading in a time of change’ and the future of the book

By Harley MacDonald S3157632

I have focused on the presenters- Marieke Hardy and Sherman Young

The presenter Marieke Hardy, is both a writer and reviewer, who discusses the new phenomenon of mobile books, also known as m-books. She herself has recently released her own book via mobile phone called ‘Vigilante Virgins’. M-books are new to Australia and she is interested to see if they will catch on here, as they are a ‘huge success’ in Japan. Marieke believes that some of the chapters in m-books are too short, and that this may hinder the adoption of this medium. She enjoys using new technology such as twitter and blogs, in order to find good authors. However, she feels that a person has to “swim through a river of shit to find one writer worth paying attention to”. (Reading in a time of change 2010)

I believe that new media technologies such as blogs and e-books have resulted in the ordinary citizen being given the opportunity to become journalists and authors. There is no need for writers to be qualified, experienced, or for their work to be accurate or relevant. The ‘barriers to entry’ to the writing profession have been demolished. Marieke believes that these new social media technologies, such as blogs and facebook, have also created a direct link between author and reader. However, Marieke also believes that it is important that an author’s work isn’t “watered down with over-saturation”. She believes that readers can follow the author on blogs and twitter for a ‘lighter experience’, and then go to the bookstore to purchase the author’s novel.

There are those that believe technology such as e-book and e-readers spell the death of the book as we know it, and there are those that embrace this new technology, and believe this technological revolution is for the better. Marieke believes that it is now possible to “have a foot in both camps without being a traitor to either.” (Reading in a time of change 2010)

The ‘death of the book’ has been announced so many times, people feel it is now necessary to debate it at least once a year. (Kindersly 2007) Amongst experts, there was a fear that people “would think that somehow or other we’re destroying Western civilization because we’re taking people away from books”, but experts believe that these new technologies are actually enhancing the use of books. (ABC 2010) Marieke is one of the proponents of e-books and m-books, however, at this stage in her life, she states that, “she doesn’t want to read ‘Robert Louis Stevenson’ on a mobile phone, doesn’t want to read a book on a ‘choc wedge’, and doesn’t want to finish the ‘Great Gatsby’ and see a cursor”. (Reading in a time of change 2010) She then wonders if that makes her a hypocrite. I personally believe that her attitude is slightly hypocritical.  She is writing and producing m-books designed to be read via mobile device, yet she herself doesn’t want to read via mobile device, in fact, she doesn’t want to read ‘classic’ works via m-device.

Will new technologies replace print based books? Some people have argued that online games have not stopped people from playing games in person, therefore online reading will never entirely replace printed books. (Kindersly 2007) I believe that the printed word will soon become a thing of the past, if Google, the company that provides the world’s most popular search engine, achieves its’ ambitious plan, to make all of the world’s books available online through Google Book Search. Marieke says she will continue to read books in their various guises, “as the world unfolds before me”. (Reading in a time of change 2010)

Sherman Young, an academic, a self-proclaimed gamer and former multimedia producer, believes that with regards to the future of the book there are two questions. Firstly, what type of reading technology will we be using in 15 years? And secondly, will we still be reading long-form text for information and entertainment?

As an expert in the field, and an author of the book titled ”The book is dead. Long live the book”, Sherman wholeheartedly embraces technology. In answer to his own question, he believes that in 15 years we will all be reading from ‘screens’. Currently, when it comes to ‘screens’, there are many on the market; including the Kindle, i-phones, the I-pad, and other forms and brands of e-readers.  The Kindle displays book pages using ‘electronic ink’, which is designed to resemble a hard copy book. (Copyright 2010) The I-pad is ‘backlit’, and has improved contrast, however there is a drawback, and that being it is susceptible to glare. (Copyright 2010)

Sherman observes that ‘screens’ are just like blank paper, and that today’s screens are just as good as paper. He also believes that in terms of the ‘sacred book’, we use rose-tinted glasses when we look at the past. For example, Sherman mentions that world renowned author Charles Dickens had most of his initial works published in serial form, and then were later reprinted in book form. Authors of today could use new mediums such as e-books to get recognition for their work, and then have their work published in a printed form.

Sherman is of the opinion that ‘the screen’ is coming, and that it will supersede print based books, and soon, we will all be reading from these screens, and that paper will be a thing of the past.

When the future arrives, fifteen years down the track, Sherman ponders the question: will we still be reading long form texts? Or will books die? (Reading in a time of change 2010) Marieke is of the opinion that fifteen years from now readers will probably be reading from mobile device.  Other experts agree that screens are the future of reading, but that we will have a ‘blended’ market for some time to come, producing both e-books and hard copy books. (Copyright 2010)  Sherman says “We are on the cusp, of a new natural order of things. I say: bring it on”. (Reading in a time of change 2010)

I believe that the popularity of new mobile devices, such as Kindles, i-phones, i-pods and the i-pad cannot be ignored, and if Google succeeds in its’ plans to digitize every book in the world, then the printed book will be a thing of the past. I believe that the vast majority of the population, mainly in first world countries, will adopt e-readers if Google succeeds, as all books that have been published, whether in the past or present will be available for quick and easy download, at  a minimal price. How can paper based books compete, when at the touch of a button, you can instantly download any book you desire, at the same or less cost as a published book? I agree that print based books will still be in use fifteen years from now, but these will diminish as the vast majority of the population will be reading from ‘the screen’.


ABC 2010, Rear Vision, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, viewed 10th August 2010, <http://www.abc.net.au/rn/rearvision/stories/2010/2797085.htm>

Copyright Agency Limited 2010, ‘Padded landing –Apple’s i-pad gives the digital revolution added momentum’, Copyright, viewed 10th August 2010, <http://www.copyright.com.au/Latest_News/Padded_landing_-_Apple%E2%80%99s_iPad_gives_the_digital_re.aspx>

Kindersly, T. 2007, ‘The death of the book, again’, Guardian,  Tuesday 17 April (Culture:books:blog), viewed 12st August 2010, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2007/apr/17/thedeathofthebookagain(Guardian)>

Reading in time of change, 2010, videorecording, Meanland, The Wheeler Centre, February 2010,  viewed 1st August 2010, <http://meanland.com.au/blog/post/a-more-comprehensive-yet-still-very-exciting-televisual-event/&gt;

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Weekly post week 10

Well things are going well with my major project which is on ‘Open Access in Academic Journal pubsishing’. Its the right length, and I have submitted it to Turnitin, and the results were reasonable. I am now doing some last minute proof-reading and editing- the assignment is due this Friday.  I found the Cite-u-like reference sharing to be useful – although it appears I may be the only student focusing on Open Acess. Overall, things are going well in this course, and I am waiting for the final project – the elctronic publishing project, where we shall be assigned into groups and given the task of presenting our major projects electronically; which should be challenging. This  week we looked at XML – extensible markup language, and how to seperate the structure of a document from the presentation.

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