In my last post, I made a bold claim. I said that the change currently taking place in publishing was the biggest change for the written word since Gutenberg invented the printing press. Of course, I was referring to e-publishing, but that begs the question. What exactly is e-publishing? Well the short answer is more like, what isn't e-publishing?
The Internet, the Great Enabler
Now many might argue that the Internet already re-invented the written word, and it'd be difficult not to acknowledge the dramatic impact the Internet has had on spreading the written word. However, I believe it would be premature to characterize that re-invention as complete. With out a doubt, the Internet will be the transmission vehicle that will enable the revolution of the written word, but one must recognize that the Internet is moot without a device to access it.
So it will be the combination of the Internet along with a plethora of Internet-enabled devices that will truly bring about the biggest advance in terms of access to the written word. It's perhaps academic to make that assertion within a country already rife with high levels of broadband access to the Internet, However, that would be naive to conclude, since most of the world has never even seen a computer, let alone experience the Internet.
Wireless telephones will lead the way through out the world to finally deliver Internet-enabled devices to the far corners of the world. For in some of those corners, they missed the entire wired communications revolution. For many countries, plain old telephone service was never profitable enough to warrant the infrastructure investment necessary to wire up the four corners of the world. Wireless telephony changed all of that. It allowed wireless carriers to extend the reach of the wireless signal into the farthest reaches of the world without having to expend large amounts of resources. For once the main cellular infrastructure is established within a developing nation, the additional cost to add new cells and expand the network, becomes increasingly small.
So What is E-Publishing
So more than blogs, more than electronic books, portable documents, or just plan web pages, E-Publishing will be the combination of a widespread Internet reaching all over the world to a variety of devices ranging from tablets, to laptops, to cellular telephones. Once all of these devices have access to electronic documents, then we will experience a renaissance in the written world. When we have bridged what many have termed as the digital divide, then the world's knowledge will spill out into the farthest reaches of the planet bringing the written word to more people than ever before in the history of human civilization.