Technological innovations have been a part of modern-day society. Its impact on the publishing industry has also been noteworthy. Today this industry is using the internet to publish several articles, newspapers, books, journals, and magazine that has several advantages compared to paper-based documents. This paper analyses if modern technology, such as the internet ever replaces the book or the written word as the main source of information. Though modern technology cannot completely remove the written word or the books, in the future the internet may take over (Driscoll n.pag 2007). No one can deny the fact that with the traditional printed publications there is a good feeling of paper in the hands. Even though the number of advantages is comparatively high with the online publication, paper publications will continue to be the choice of many (PressPublisher.com n.pag; About.com n.pag).
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Once technology increases, and consumers’ desire to access electronically published articles over paper increases, maybe then paper publishing can take a second seat to electronic. A revolution in the publishing industry is catching up as a result of technological innovations particularly information technology and the Internet. It is essential to formulate strategies to provide the reader with a good source of information and there is a need for filtering the unwanted junks materials from being published.
Pros and Cons of Online and Print Publications
If we look at the advantages of electronic publication it can be said that documents published online are delivered with a powerful system to quickly search through them without much difficulty. As a result, the reader gets specific information in less time. The specific search tools help the users to skip to particular sections. For example, the reader can jump to references or graphics and from there to the relevant section in the body of the text. The authors or the editors can include corrections without much difficulty. Additionally, it is also possible to update the information in journals and books at regular intervals. Articles published in online journals can overcome some of the problems innate to print publication. For example, the limitation on the number of pages forced by the increasing cost of paper and postage, and the time consumed for publishing can be easily overcome by online publication (Ackerman and Simonaitis, 1997). It is also possible that references of a particular journal or article can be linked using the hyperlinking facility to abstracting services, from where the source abstracts or full texts of cited papers can be obtained. In other words, it is much simpler to trace back the source of information (Smith et al. n.pag).
Some of the additional advantages of online publications are that customers who subscribe to newspapers or online journals can get access anywhere in the world, thus avoiding carrying it while traveling. Online publication is an eco-friendly option as a good mode to save paper. These innovations have proven to be good for the advancement of the scientific community in a more ecological way. Even though most people recognize the need to save energy and recycle waste, it is difficult to make them act individually and change their habits (Björk n.pag, 2004).
There are a few disadvantages of web publications. For instance, traditional print sources undergo an extensive publication process which includes editing and article review. Additionally, the process has fact-checkers, multiple reviewers, and editors to guarantee the quality of the publication. Paper-based books and articles can easily be carried, fairly lightweight, accepted, and abundant with sufficient distribution (Preece n.pag). On the other hand, it is quite easy for anyone with a computer and access to the Internet to publish a website or electronic document. It is a fact that most web documents do not have good editors, fact-checkers, or other types of reviewers. For a print source, it is important to highlight the qualifications of an author and only qualified authors are likely to have their manuscripts accepted for publication. In a web publication even if the author and purpose of a website can be determined, the qualifications of the author are not mandatory to be published (Driscoll n.pag, 2007).
There are still individuals who lack computer knowledge and for them, print media would be of great use. Besides in many parts of the third world countries people are still struggling for basic requirements such as food, water, shelter, electricity, etc. Therefore, in these places, people cannot afford to have personal computers and internet connections. They can only access the printed newspapers and books which is economical for them. Electronic publishing might be the next best thing since the printing press, but it might not be very good business to throw out the paper publishing equipment yet.
Another important point that needs to be considered is that electronic publishing requires the readers to have computer and internet access and additional operating systems and programs to download, view, and print. Whereas with the paper publishing industry, a company needs to only transport the newspapers, books, or magazines to market for the consumer to purchase, the consumer just needs to locate and purchase, no other equipment needed. Locating or accessing documents has proven to be very easy on the internet today as the information is only a few clicks away (Smith et al. n.pag). If publishing companies convert to electronic publishing as their primary product over paper publishing, I feel they would not reach as many consumers as they currently are reaching, at least not until internet access in homes reaches the level of televisions or phones within homes.
In conclusion, the benefits of web publication overprint include its lower production cost, removing the shipping and mailing costs, and also other time and manpower-consuming aspects (PressPublisher.com n.pag). It is especially true as even in the underdeveloped world where the internet and other technologies have not reached, it is only the print media that dominates. Therefore, presently the print media would continue to dominate at least in the underdeveloped parts of the world. In the future, it is possible that with the help of modern technology, the print media may diminish or lose its importance, but it is not possible to completely avoid it.
- About.com Advantages of Publishing on Paper Rather than on The Web.
- Ackerman, L.V. and Simonaitis, A. Beyond Paper Images: Radiology on the Web The Journal of Electronic Publishing (1997) Vol 3, Issue 1. Web.
- Björk, B. Open access to scientific publications – an analysis of the barriers to change? Information Research, Vol. 9 No. 2, 2004. Web.
- Driscoll, D.L., Evaluating Print vs. Internet Sources. (2006).The Writing Lab & OWL at Purdue University and Purdue University. Web.
- Preece, R. What’s with E-Publishing? Publisher, BooksForABuck.Com. Web.
- PressPublisher.com Print vs. Online.
- Smith, W. et al. Preserving Access to Web Publications National Library of Australia (1997)