E-books: Histories, trajectories, futures

Michael M. Widdersheim, Jun 04, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"Commercial e-books are a product of history that resulted from concerted efforts by the publishing industry to control products and customers," writes Michael M. Widdersheim. "The book publishing industry sought to find a way to reduce production and shipping costs, avoid overproduction, reduce storage costs, increase revenue, maintain scarcity, and lower risk." And they have been largely successful, prevented from monopolizing the industry only by e-book vendors, such as Amazon. But they still have their niche: "E-books will likely continue to intersect with the education industry, whose interest in the student surveillance economy calls for control and prediction — exactly what that the data-capturing potential of e-books offers."

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