The focus of this paper is on the benefits that may eventuate through new mechanisms of production and distribution. As we enter the twenty-first century, the nature of the book and the structure of the industry which produces it are undergoing radical transformation, as developments in information technology offer new mechanisms for production and distribution. Most of the discussion of these changes is conducted from the perspective of what has been lost through these changes.
This paper reviews the history of the book from the perspective of the disruptive effects of the changes in production technology and impact on the roles involved in production, distribution and reading of books. Darnton’s Communication Circuit is updated to predict future limiting factors and opportunities for participation.
The evolution of the book has seen successive categories of workers involved in book production supplanted by the adoption of new technology. The updated Darnton’s model suggests that the roles involved in the production and distribution of the book will, however, be supplanted in favour of authors and readers of the book in the future.
The predicted changes will alter the roles of authors and book users.
This paper suggests a novel approach to the discussion of the future of book publication and suggests future developments.
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