By Ousama Saki
By Ousama Saki
Agadir – It may be argued that technology has always offered us a way forward. Digital technology—which resulted partially from the advent of the World Wide Web and partially from the computerization of information—has denoted our movement towards the Information Age, which is currently transforming our lives at a rapid pace. The consequences of the Information Age have occurred in different areas, including the publishing industry, which has recently gone electronic. Being non-print and web-based, electronic publishing (e-publishing) has become a profitable, low-risk online business that almost every publisher and writer does or longs for. By saying this, I am by no means implying that e-publishing is overtaking print publishing. Rather, I write this article with the aim of presenting some of the pros of e-publishing.
Technology has made e-reading easier and conceivably much more effective than traditional reading. One may argue that paper books allow readers to highlight key points, write comments in the margins, underline information that requires further investigation, and carry a book or two to read on a train. But all these things can now be done with electronic devices: e-readers can also highlight sentences, write notes and comments, carry literally hundreds of books in one device, copy and paste quotes from one text to another, zoom in to see a bigger font, click on a word to obtain its meanings and usage from an electronic dictionary, and much more. Besides all these advantages, people see many merits to going electronic.
There are many bona fide reasons why virtually all journals and magazines in this day and age have established—or are seeking to establish—electronic versions. This longed-for “parallel publishing” (publishing in both online and print) is grounded in cogent commercial and economic reasons. Because publications by unknown, first-time authors and/or rarely read topics may not bring in quick profits or generate interest, publishers therefore prefer to have such works at first published only online. Additionally, unlike paper publications, which can at times be difficult to distribute, e-publications can easily reach a sizeable worldwide audience. E-publishing, as a result, is quicker in distributing, not as expensive, and puts an end to geographical limitations.
Furthermore, e-publications allow for a substantial degree of interactivity. While it is difficult and takes longer to react to something in print, e-publishing permits authors to respond immediately. The reader would not have the opportunity to praise, criticize, or even leave a comment on this very article if it were not electronic. In the e-publishing industry, the reader is no longer regarded as a passive consumer of knowledge; he or she can also be a provider of authoritative information. This unavoidable online interactivity breaks the outmoded author-reader relationship.
As for writers, there was a time when they had to spend years hunting for a publisher. With the advent of e-publishing, however, it has become much easier for them to get published. Now, writers no longer have to go through the hassle of finding a publisher—they don’t even need to engage a literary agent anymore. With less effort and less disappointing refusals, they can get themselves published online more easily compared to the days of yore. Their works, consequently, may make meaningful contributions to the build-up of a digital archive and will not take but a tiny space in an e-journal or mag.
The last idea I would like to add to the virtues of e-publishing is from an eco-warrior’s standpoint. Millions of trees are chopped down annually to cater to print readership. Surely, fewer paper books mean less harm to the global environment.
Having said all that, it is undeniable that there will always be bookworms who love to buy books, flick through their pages, and regularly dust their bookcases. But, with the course of time, will there be fewer print readers and more e-readers? Will we bid farewell to print publishing and unreservedly welcome e-publishing? Will our home libraries be just mere objects of decoration in our homes? Only time will tell.
*Ousama Saki is an English teacher. He holds a master’s degree in Comparative Studies from Ibn Zohr University, Agadir. In 2014, he traveled to the USA to study at Indiana University School of Education as part of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program. His research interests include literacy in ELT, creative writing and cultural studies.
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission