E-Book Is Forecast to Transform Traditional Publishing Industry

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), October 12, 2000 | Go to article overview

E-Book Is Forecast to Transform Traditional Publishing Industry


Hyun Hae-jean, a 23-year-old college student in Seoul, is a detective story buff. However, the story she reading is not in the form of paper.She even didn't buy the book in the neighboring bookstore.

She enjoys the electronic books, or e-books, by downloading them from the Internet. Instead of turning over the page with her finger, she simply clicks the ``next page'' button on the screen.

``A decade ago, people usually thought that using a pen and paper is the natural way to write rather than utilizing word-processing software. These days, however, most people prefer to write using their personal computer,'' she said. ``Similar to this trend, people will prefer to read e-books rather than paper books in the not so distant future.''

She also mentioned that with the fast growing speed of microprocessors, we may eventually have to adapt all aspects of our lives to these technological advances.

In fact, the rapidly evolving Internet technology is part of everyday life for hundreds of millions of people already and it is now changing print media such as books, newspaper and magazines.

The electronic books are digitalized publications which are generally downloadable through the Internet and viewable on digital devices such as desktops, notebooks, Internet television and handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs).

They not only offer consumers stories but also multimedia services including story-related images and soundtracks.In addition, e-books have a variety of consumer-oriented features.

For example, when a reader who is reading a book on the Vietnam War has a question about the cause and effect of the War, he or she may just click on the word ``Vietnam War'' in the story and the e-book will instantly connect the user to related information on the Web.

Future advances in Internet technology will enable users to directly find key information using the instant search function, with images,sound and motion pictures.

Some e-book software developers have already presented new related technology. For instance, a recently unleashed e-book player can read out the story with music and sound effects.

However, the paperless book seems far away yet.

The electronic books do not allow a reader the physical satisfaction of turning each page or reading in bed.

An industry analyst said that the e-book so far has not been able to replace the status of the paper book. Nonetheless, digital publications are likely likely to quickly gain popularity among the younger `Net' generation (the 13 to 25-year-old Internet consumers).

Most members of this young generation read books in order to obtain information, in contrast to older consumers, whose main motivation is to enjoy and feel a story. Taking into consideration the young generation's reading patterns and habits, digital stories with dynamic interactive screen characteristics seem to have a brighter future than relatively passive paper-based text.

``Once e-books have the same advantages as normal paper, they will be able to substitute for paper books,'' said Lee Kang-in, chief executive officer of yes24.

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