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Monday, 5 November 2012

The Relationship Between the Internet, Technology and Books


by 

Sara Dawkins 

The addition of the internet and technology into the world of books has been a strange one. On the one hand you are able to bring multiple books with you wherever you go with minimal bulk thanks to e-readers and tablets. You can access any book anywhere with a few clicks of a button due to the prevalence of the internet. And buying books has become as easy as just clicking “purchase” and waiting a mere 10 seconds for it to download. However as beneficial as this relationship may seem there are some worrisome downsides to this burgeoning relationship.

  1. E-Books are everywhere. You can go to just about any website these days and they likely will have a link where you can download their e-book, whether it’s a free download or being sold for a nominal price. This doesn’t mean that the book is good by any means, but that hasn’t stopped people from downloading them at alarming rates. Most e-readers also have a section of cheap or free e-books that you can download that are being sold for next to nothing just so the author can get a little name recognition, not because the book is actually good. The novelty and value of a book being something worthwhile is wearing thin with e-books being so readily available.
  2. Anyone can be an author. Everyone is an author these days. Bloggers who have never had any formal training in writing or editing are approached for book deals on a regular basis because of large followings, politicians have books out, and any actor or actress who qualifies as a celebrity can write a book, all without any type of background in writing. This poses a problem for those people who are actually trained in writing because it doesn’t take much to be considered worthy of being a published author anymore, and actually picking an author from the talent pool is becoming overrated, with the focus instead being on who can sell books based on name recognition.
  3. Writing is a by-product of publishing. The internet has produced a mindset of “publish now, publish first!” in regard to any and all avenues of writing. Because of this new mindset the focus has shifted from who wrote something of quality on a particular subject to who wrote about the topic fastest and got it published first. This has caused writing to become a by-product of publishing, instead of being the focal point of getting something published. As a result, a shocking number of poorly edited material is being published, with spelling errors, grammatical inconsistencies and storylines that don’t flow becoming acceptable and even normal. 
  4. Editing is a lost art. When it comes to self-publishing, a lot of aspects of traditional publishing are lost. The author is largely responsible for the editing and proof-reading of the material and, in an effort to produce content quickly, a lot of editing and proof-reading is skipped.However, since it’s unlikely that any professional editor will look over the book before it’s published, poor editing doesn’t seem to matter, which means that low-quality books are becoming a regular, expected occurrence. 
Now that the relationship between the internet, technology, and books has been formed it’s unlikely that we’ll ever revert back to the days of high quality print publishing and hard copy books, newspapers, and magazines. But hopefully, over time, the novelty of being able to allow anyone to be an author will wear off, and we’ll start to put some stock in the type of material that we’re reading, focusing on high quality instead of ready availability. 

Sara Dawkins is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of http://www.nannypro.com/.
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