Time Turns Pages into Screens

By on

Time. Why is the “lingering hegemony of print” so persistent? Time. How can e-books become more acceptable in popular or scholarly writing? Time.

It seems like a simple solution to a difficult problem (if you even consider the battle between print and digital formats to be a problem). The “lingering hegemony of print” is so persistent because we have only known print formats until recently. It will take several generations until digital formats become more dominant than print formats. Richtel and Miller write that e-reader and e-book ownership is already increasing exponentially every year. Perhaps in a few more generations, people will be wondering where all the print books went. I think the same solution applies to scholarly writing. It just takes time for people to realize the advantages of one format over the other or to address problems with each particular format. As older generations retire from academia, they take with them their notions on one format being superior to another format. Of course, the remaining scholars could inherent the notions of previous generations, but younger scholars would have been exposed to digital formats since childhood. Thus, they are more likely to accept new formats as the norm.

I also wanted to mention Tomasula’s book, TOC, because I think the use of the word ‘book’ is a misnomer. When books begin adding multimedia elements, they also begin to lose some of what Bob Stein believes to be essential about a book… control. I warily use the term interactive or multimedia when talking about a book because I want most of the control to remain with the reader about how they use or read the book. I prefer to think of new elements as ‘special features’ for books, while Tomasula’s project is an exciting and new genre/format/model altogether.