Publishing houses have established an industry to commoditized books. As with industries generally there is an incentive to grow revenue and market utilizing the installed base infrastructure. As that agenda persists it can obscure other methods to commoditize books.
On-demand photo books, self-publishing, and an expansion of display, or screen book, options and innovative book reading devices have emerged outside of established publishing houses. The publishers are moving to engage such new market opportunities utilizing their capital resources and industrial methods.
Interesting that the book, as such a venerable commodity, should move quickly to new markets and consumerist allures. This has occurred before in book history in correlation with improving literacy. There is now a possibility that the current surge of new book marketeering may be, contrariwise, exploiting some kind of trend toward illiteracy. This is indicated by a shift of product identity from message to medium commoditizing.
The shift is indicated by consumer behavior and industry response. Books are increasingly commoditized as inherently obsolete but verging on fulfillment with the advent of the next graphic technology, display device and self-authoring application. This marketing agenda, so proven generally, eclipses the core product and sells, instead, a treadmill of book services. Inherent in this shift is book disposability, constantly exchanging the present product for the next.
“The implications could be startling. If you were to pair one of these with an Espresso Book Machine, you could essentially duplicate an entire book at once in minutes from a standing start. Wouldn’t the medieval monks be jealous?”TeleRead
High-speed image capture from paper sources, and back again to paper, is an interesting sequence and very medieval; every copy has an exemplar. The high-speed imaging of the medieval copyist was bionic, but otherwise the same sequence.
As antiquarian is the motivation. Manuscript book copies were prompted by patron agendas. These were the fingers of an extensive anatomy of institutional agenda including pre-cursive universities. Open on-line courses, a next wave in university enterprise, also echo a medieval model.
Being old doesn’t make digital book transformations less new or the options between source and surrogate less relevant. The take home is the weird persistence of these transactions. There may be a premise hiding here in which books act as geologies of history.