The Future Of The Textbook Industry

2193 words - 9 pages

Merrian Webster defines Publishing as: “The business or profession of the commercial production and issuance of literature, information, musical scores or sometimes recordings, or art.” This essay will review publishing from its beginnings in the 16th century, describe how technology in the 21st century has disrupted the profession of publishing. This paper will also discuss where we are today and the trajectory of the industry for the next decade.
As publishing itself is a vast universe encompassing literary books, fiction, non-fiction books, newspapers, magazines, journals, periodicals, music, art, movie scripts, plays, software, blogs, etc. both in print and electronic. This essay will be limited to the discussion of literary books, fiction and non-fiction. We will not spend much time discussing the history of books, however it is proper to quickly mention that the history of books dates back about 5,000 years when ancient Egyptians would write on a plant that grew along the Nile River called Papyrus. Papyrus sheets were glued together to form a scroll. The Codex as a form of book can be dated back to the end of the first century but it gained popularity in the Christian community in the 3rd and 4th centuries . This format of books was more economical, as both sides of the writing material could be used, it was portable, searchable and easy to conceal. Manuscript books began to supplant scrolls in Antiquity. Until the late middle ages, the great majority of books were written in monasteries by scribes, who had high social status. For this reason, the great majority of books in the Western world are of religious content. The introduction of the printing press in 1455 was a disruptive technology that brought with it an explosion of knowledge that immensely benefited mankind. This ushered in the freedom of thought and the material prosperity that define the modern world. Yet another leap forward came in the 19th century when steam-powered printing presses became popular. These machines could print 1,100 sheets per hour. From the 15th to the 19th century not much changed except that conditions for freedom of the press were improved. Today, the majority of books are printed by offset lithography in which an image of the material to be printed is photographically or digitally transferred to a flexible metal plate .
The 21st century has brought numerous technological changes to the publishing industry. These changes include electronic books (eBooks), print on demand and accessibly publishing. E-books have been quickly growing in availability since 2002 . Google, Amazon and Sony have been leaders in working with publishers and libraries to digitize books. According to estimates from Google there are about 130,000,000 unique books in the world. So far they have scanned and digitized over 12,000,000 that are primarily out of print or no longer commercially available. Google has publicly stated a goal to scan and digitize all of them within this...

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