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- Books in the Electronic Mediations series
- Thoroughfare | The New Everyday
On the Existence of Digital Objects How and why digital objects are best theorized through relations. How to Talk about Videogames A fond look at the preposterous—and yet essential—pursuit of games criticism. A Geology of Media A sweeping new ecological take on technology. Reading Writing Interfaces From the Digital to the Bookbound Uncovers a lineage of writers and thinkers who have rebelled against the means of production. Nauman Reiterated What unifies the work of Bruce Nauman?
Comparative Textual Media Transforming the Humanities in the Postprint Era Proposes a new paradigm for the humanities by recognizing print as a medium within a comparative context. Summa Technologiae From the acclaimed author of the science fiction novel Solaris, a pre-Dawkins exposition of evolution as a blind and chaotic watchmaker. Digital Memory and the Archive Explores how media infrastructure, not content, shapes contemporary digital culture.
How to Do Things With Videogames A fresh look at computer games as a mature mass medium with unlimited potential for cultural transformation. Noise Channels Glitch and Error in Digital Culture Brings to light the critical role of noise and error in the creative potential of digital culture. Gameplay Mode War, Simulation, and Technoculture Understanding the military logics that created and continue to inform computer games.
Does Writing Have a Future? A prescient exploration of the fate of the book in the digital age. Into the Universe of Technical Images An examination of the promise and peril of digital communication technologies. Hypertext and the Female Imaginary Explores the use of hypertext in postmodern electronic and film media by women.
Screens Viewing Media Installation Art Investigates how viewers experience screen-based art in museums. Games of Empire Global Capitalism and Video Games Analyzes video games and their links with capitalism, militarism, and social control. Tactical Media The first book to focus exclusively on the tactics and goals of new media art activists.
Reticulations Jean-Luc Nancy and the Networks of the Political Revealing how networks reopen our understanding of political discourse today. Ex-foliations Reading Machines and the Upgrade Path A sophisticated consideration of technologies of reading in the digital age. Digitize This Book! Digitizing Race Visual Cultures of the Internet The implications of how we see and exhibit race and ethnicity online. Structures including streets and sidewalks delimit navigable terrain, anchoring the assemblage in space.
As constructs, they delineate designated paths as areas of movement. In order to preserve these qualities, the United States makes the obstruction of an intersection illegal. A greater discourse of law establishes the practices by which vehicles and pedestrians traverse urban space. These laws operate as a system of discipline upon and within the conscious minds of humans. Subjects perceive their relations with the external space by observing signals from devices, signs, and other commuters. Minor delinquency is tolerated within a threshold, which may fluctuate in regards to time and space.
Therefore, laws primarily function as guidelines. Subjects abide them whenever it is appropriate and convenient to do so, as stringent enforcement is a logistic impossibility. Thoroughfares permit the passage of bodies in spite of traffic. When a site fails to facilitate the forces of traffic, the bodies collide and form congestion. Since their destination is their goal not the thoroughfare , they will alter their path to avoid unnecessary delays. T he site of thoroughfare becomes an obstruction in this instance.
To maintain thoroughfare status, a site must ensure a consistent flow of objects, practices, and desires. Thoroughfares cultivate an atmosphere of stability conducive to the continuous flow of traffic. The variability of thoroughfares in both design and function defies any association with a static mold. A site of thoroughfare must possess the ability to adapt to its circumstance. All of its components operate concurrently and influence each other to create a smooth flow.
The image of circularity is imbued in smoothness through the constant cycle of people entering and exiting transit. The act of traversing the thoroughfare carries its own significance. However, thoroughfares are a far cry from the circularity-derived notions of perfection and uniformity. Aberrations in traffic coordination provide unique insight into the mechanics and failings that plague thoroughfares.
The pursuit of smoothness is a neverending struggle, and any lapse invites crippling congestion. We can explore ways to deliberately sabotage this endeavor, to determine its weaknesses and strengths. Such techniques may reveal the true efficacy of thoroughfare mechanics.
The following analysis serves to ratify the arguments and concepts established thus far. Thoroughfares are designed to allow traffic to move freely whilst avoiding congestion and collision. In some cases, roads even meet at an intersection divided by traffic lights. The lights signal oncoming traffic to go, slow down, and stop. The traffic lights dividing each intersection are also accompanied by street signs for drivers and pedestrians. These signs allow pedestrians to move freely across the intersection without disturbing the flow of traffic.
Citizens are expected to understand the meaning of the street signs and follow them accordingly. Surveillance cameras were added to encourage honesty and the strictest form of order, obedience. Often, the cameras placed at intersections are positioned at angles designed to identify the drivers of vehicles and vehicle license plate numbers.
This form of identification not only ensures obedience, but also acts as a disciplining guide to manage citizens, deter defiant acts and encourage law-abiding behaviors. The government insists that the laws and surveillance are in place to prevent chaos and ensure safety; however, a closer look at this system of movement reveals that the order to thoroughfares is imposed to ensure a constant flow of traffic more than anything else.
The roads, constitutive of thoroughfares lead to restaurants, business, and other roads that lead to other restaurants and businesses -- which is no accident. The order and flow of thoroughfares are needed to maintain order. Thoroughfares aid the cyclical nature of consumerism and population management.
Without the flow of traffic, consumers would not be able to move freely from one business establishment to the next. The flow of traffic also allows travelers to arrive at areas of administration where attendance is recorded. Notice, all of these destinations aim to record the presence of the traveler. By contrast, the music industry has only been able to attack copying of compact discs, not the dissemination of knowledge about how to copy them or how they are encoded. These systems will combine hardware and software technologies to control the ability to duplicate and distribute digital music.
The details are complex and still under development, and there are a number of competing approaches. Further, there are real questions about how robust these systems will be against circumvention. But the outline is becoming clear using SDMI here as a shorthand for whatever schemes the industry adopts for a protection system : future music content will include data that SDMI-compliant players will recognize. And SDMI devices will refuse to duplicate digital music carrying these markings under some circumstances, and refuse to play files with these markings under other circumstances when they think that the file is an unauthorized copy.
The effective use of a piece of music can be bound to a specific device that's authorized to play it. Consumers acquire content to be played only on a specific device and the system enforces this.
This technology is reasonably easy to produce and reasonably difficult to circumvent, as long as all of the duplication and playing is on consumer electronic products that have specially designed features to enforce the policies, as long as the music moves within a closed system of devices that follow the rules laid down by the content industries.
The hard parts, technically, come when the system tries to accommodate and protect "legacy" unprotected content taken off the existing base of audio CDs, or to allow some limited export into the general purpose computing environment. The music industry is dreaming of new business models based on their ability to impose and enforce such rules. It's unclear whether the industry will keep the existing first-sale-based CD distribution or a networked analog as one of the business models, or how it will price any of the variations.
Depending on how it structures the rules, SDMI or similar competing schemes may or may not prove acceptable to consumers. It may be so inconvenient, so at-odds with current consumer expectations, and so restrictive, that consumers may at least attempt to reject it, leading to an interesting power struggle between the music industry and its customers that echoes similar conflicts between the software industry and its customers over copy protection in the s.
An additional advantage of the protection schemes is that they will bring music under the scope of the DMCA's provisions on technical protection systems. It will become a felony to perform research or disseminate information on how to bypass the protection system. It's very hard to exercise control over content when general purpose computers are involved - as players, copiers, or distribution devices though some companies, such as Intertrust, are developing products intended to address this issue in a general way, and we've recently seen a rash of announcements specific to various types of content - music Liquid Audio and a2b , books Adobe, Microsoft, Netlibrary - promising control over content.
The robustness of these protection mechanisms has yet to be tested in the marketplace, under the stress of ingenious software developers, cyptographic researchers, and hackers. It's much easier to constrain the flow of content to closed consumer electronic systems with limited capabilities and carefully designed hardware and software restrictions, where users cannot introduce arbitrary programs to bypass controls and move collections of bits from one place to another.
Periodically, there have been suggestions to legislate the incorporation of special-purpose hardware - an embedded piece of consumer electronics, if you will - in all general purpose computing systems. These proposals have gotten nowhere, so far. And without this kind of support, it remains to be seen whether content can really be controlled on the Internet and in a world that contains huge numbers of autonomously managed general purpose computing systems.
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Obviously, the book publishing world, which has been slow to move to digital distribution, is watching these developments carefully and no doubt thinking that "there but for the grace of God go I Book publishers do not want to have books follow the path of audio CD content onto the network as pirate digital files and to have to mount a catch-up technological initiative to try to regain control, facing uncertain acceptance with an uncontrolled digital alternative already in place.
And they are probably relieved that they have not made more material available in digital form to date, and that for all the reasons already discussed, digital books often remain at a disadvantage to their printed counterparts. Yet the distribution of digital books and the new revenue streams they may offer under new business models are an increasingly attractive opportunity.
The e-book appliance, as a closed consumer electronic system, may make publishers comfortable that they have addressed the threats and can exploit this business opportunity. Conceivably, even general purpose book reader software may provide a sufficient level of comfort about the threats to pave the way towards the new revenue streams. This has the extra advantage that it can build upon a very large installed base. But if publishers follow this path, it will change the way that consumers and society use books in the digital age. There is a lack of consensus about what behaviors and activities we want the new technologies of content management to enable or guard against.
Some content providers seem to have ambitions that are more appropriate for some Orwellian dystopia.
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I've emphasized the fear factor, which is being fueled by the experiences of the music industry; but there are also lucrative, unprecedented opportunities for new revenue streams - the greed element. Some content owners want to control in infinite detail all use and duplication of material, and to monitor that use, and possibly charge for it on a transactional basis if they don't block it out of hand. Indeed, these databases of consumer behavior may themselves become new business assets and offer new revenue opportunities.
Consider music again. Personal private copying - making a tape of a CD that one owns to play in the car - is something that most consumers find intuitively reasonable but that content providers might like to prevent. They'd rather require that you buy the same content as both a CD and a cassette tape.
Perhaps you'd like to make a copy of one of your CDs to play in the car, or even a compendium of favorite tunes from your CD collection on a writable CD for your portable CD-player. Perhaps you'd like to download this compendium as a set of MP-3 audio files into a portable MP-3 player. Perhaps you'd like to transfer some of your aging LP collection to CDs before they stop manufacturing styluses for your record player. Or to take some music you've purchased to a friend's house and play it. And certainly, you'd like to be able to play music you've purchased on any of the many players you may have scattered around your home.
Finally, I think that consumers have a strongly held notion that they should be able to purchase a sound recording and then play it as many times as they wish, without further charges - a flat rate - and that furthermore, nobody should know exactly how many times they played what parts of it. These are all reasonable consumer expectations that could run afoul of a technical protection and copyright management system.
Developing similar scenarios for digital books is more complex; text does not have the same kind of recombinant, omnipresent character that music has taken on. Certainly one might own several e-book readers, and want to be able to view one's digital books on any of those readers; to loan a digital book to a friend; to migrate it across generations of technology. One might want to print bits of a book on paper for any number of reasons - for annotation, for use in the kitchen, whatever. And of course most people are able to transcribe reasonably short pieces of text by hand from a viewing device to a piece of paper or a word processor.
Cut and paste isn't essential, the words can move from screen to eye to brain to hand, whereas music and other media have to be duplicated using mechanical means by almost everyone. Technological constraints on copying do not undermine cherished fair use principles for text to the extent that they do for nonprint materials. But the key point here is that copy protection and content management systems track and control copying.
They can't take into account why you are making the copy, or who else gets to see or use the copy; they can only control the making of copies and at best the number of copies of a work that are permitted to exist. Even these controls can likely only be accomplished within a trusted environment, which means that it will be very difficult to make the behaviors that content management systems can permit and prohibit conform to consumer expectations about copying. The number of permitted copies, or the amount of a work that can be copied is a poor surrogate for a full understanding of intent and behavior.
When a copy protection system allows a user to make a copy of a work that is going outside of the protected environment, it's impossible to tell whether this is going to be played on an old car player or whether it's going to be distributed to thousands of people on the Internet as an act of piracy. Copyright law permits copying under a fairly specific range of circumstances; it considers factors such as purpose and economic impact, which are virtually impossible to mechanize into hardware- or software-based testing criteria.
Further, there's a large "gray" area involving personal or private copies, where many people believe the law isn't clear, and where most consumers evidently believe that it is permissible to make copies such as many of the situations described above. New technologies can prevent the making of some legal copies, and certainly of many copies of ambiguous legality.
Rights holders feel no obligation to deploy technology that is liberal in its willingness to permit the making of copies. There's no reason why technical protection systems have to facilitate even the making of clearly legal copies. This isn't a legal matter, at least the way the law is being interpreted today. It's purely a question of how restrictive the content suppliers can be while still gaining consumer acceptance. The balance points among publisher fears, consumer desires, and technical capabilities have yet to be established for digital books. The debate begins with the desire to control copying, but it quickly expands to include control of use, usage monitoring, and new business models that emphasize pay-per-view and transient access rather than actual ownership of copies of works.
The DIVX video disk system was one attempt to find such a balance for the video marketplace, and it failed. Whether one argues that it was too far in favor of the rights holder, or that it failed for other reasons, such as a lack of availability of enough compelling content, all we know for sure is that it failed. It's worth trying to characterize the specific uses in the potential contest. One group of uses comes from consumer expectations established by the historic first sale doctrine: the ability to make unlimited use of something once purchased, to enjoy it for as long as the physical object lasts and technology is available to "play it," and the ability to resell or lend it.
There's a good chance rights management systems can support most of these functions. Whether content providers will continue to make content available to consumers under this bundle of terms is anyone's guess. If they don't there are some serious social consequences that I'll return to in the final sections of this paper. A second group of uses comes with expectations about the ability to make personal copies, and even to do some limited lending or redistribution of these copies. This is harder for rights management systems to deal with.
It amounts to, or can be approximated by, a capability to limit the number of copies in existence, and this breaks down when copies move outside the boundaries of a trusted system. The third group of uses arises from another aspect of the public policy bargain that underlies copyright - the exchange of monopoly rights for a limited time subject to certain privileged uses - fair use being the most prominent example. Here questions of intent come into play and it's unlikely that rights management systems can identify legal uses. At best they can offer mechanistic approximations such as we can't do fair use, but we will let you have up to three pages as "courtesy use".
Though, as discussed above, for text technological barriers to automated duplication of passages under fair use are merely an inconvenience, because almost anyone can transcribe text. I have focused here on technological controls. The quest for technological controls has been paralleled by legislative initiatives intended to provide legal recognition and protection for these controls. For example, the recent U. Digital Millennium Copyright Act DMCA contains provisions protecting rights management information that is attached to content and making it a felony to attempt to circumvent technical protections on content under many circumstances.
If a closed consumer electronics system that protects content can find marketplace acceptance, the DMCA will help ensure that its integrity can be maintained. Complementing the DCMA is a set of proposed changes to the Uniform Commercial Code, which serves as a model for state law governing contracts. These changes - formerly called UCC2B, and now UCITA - would establish new state law giving strength to the idea that consumer transactions in information are controlled by licenses rather than the historic framework of purchase and first sale that have governed physical intellectual property goods.
Opening a shrink-wrapped package or clicking an "I agree" button on a license agreement in an online purchase would be considered agreement to contract terms. License restrictions on the use of content that you might acquire, now under license rather than purchase - might prohibit you from making personal copies, loaning it to another person, or even criticizing it publicly, or only allow you to use the content for a limited period of time.
Such license terms - many of which are not enforceable by technical protection systems one cannot imagine a technical protection system that tries to block the writing of critical essays about a work for example - may be equally or even more severely at odds with consumer expectations. The e-book reader is fundamentally agnostic about the technological control of intellectual property. It can be used as a very powerful instrument for such control, but it need not incorporate such features.
It can be limited to serve only as a convenient portable reading device. Depending on what capabilities the book reader manufacturers choose to incorporate, publishers may be more or less willing to supply content. Depending on the policies that the publishers set for using the control capabilities that may be present, consumers may be more or less willing to buy.
And, of course, by encouraging the transition to commerce in digital content under license agreements, e-book readers create the possibility of using license terms to restructure usage practices for content. A final point about the first sale doctrine. While this has been valuable to consumers, it has been the lifeblood of libraries.
First sale is the framework that has historically allowed libraries to operate in America. As we move to a world of digital books, licenses, and technical protection systems, there are very real questions about whether, how, and at what price libraries will continue to be able to provide access to this digital content. I will return to this point later.
Networked information creates a globalized information marketplace. Historically, the Internet has been a world without borders or customs checkpoints or geography. This is at odds with the very geographically based traditions of publishing, where companies obtain the rights to publish works in specific regional markets. There has always been leakage in this system; travelers purchasing books abroad and bringing them home, for example, or bookstores importing a few copies of works that haven't appeared in print locally and selling them at retail for a premium.
There are specialty music dealers that import to the U. But none of this has any real economic significance. Further, the geographic distinctions have been steadily diminishing; it is now unusual to find books or CDs available in London that are not just as availble in New York.
Books in the Electronic Mediations series
With the recent capability to easily order works from network-based booksellers anywhere in the world this system has begun breaking down on a larger scale, to the extent that publishers are starting to feel economic effects when they do try to maintain geographically-defined markets. Perhaps the best example of this was the third Harry Potter book, which appeared in the United Kingdom several months before it was released in the United States. Large numbers of copies were ordered from channels like Amazon UK for shipment to the United States, to the considerable annoyance of the publisher that had purchased the U.
Net-based content - which can move across the globe without the inconveniences of customs or lengthy international shipping delays - threatens to seriously upset some long standing business practices. Books and audio content were effectively limited to regional markets by availability. For video works, incompatible regional standards were another barrier to the international flow of content outside of publisher sanctioned channels. A video cassette purchased in Europe and encoded according to European standards would not play on an American VCR player, for example.
While these incompatible standards certainly weren't established to help keep regional markets in place, they have been convenient for that purpose. Someone in the United States interested in video content released in Europe not only needs to find a source for the content, but also a European VCR. But the consumer electronics firms don't want to produce different products for different markets.
They'd much prefer global standards that let them develop a smaller number of products that can be sold everywhere. Appliances can incorporate and enforce geographic market constraints and act as a bulwark against the tendency of digital content to easily jump national boundaries; for example, Digital Video Disk DVD players include a regional code. DVD disks are coded with the regions in which they are allowed to play. A tourist who purchases a DVD disk in Europe or Australia and brings it home to the United States will encounter difficulties playing it on his or her home hardware, even though the DVD content standard is consistent worldwide.
Some DVD support for regional restrictions is in software, particularly for DVD players that are part of computer systems rather than stand-alone consumer devices - and makes it relatively easy to bypass the region code restrictions. DVD player software on general purpose computers will often allow you to set your region, and perhaps even change it a few times. Hacks are widely available on the Internet to help users either turn off region checking or allow unlimited region resetting.
In response, manufacturers are moving this enforcement into firmware and hardware in the DVD players, more towards a closed system model, even for DVD players that are part of general purpose computer systems, since obviously the computers themselves can't be trusted. Interestingly, NuvoMedia, which made the Rocket eBook, issued a 28 April press release prior to being acquired by Gemstar announcing support for what they call the "Territorial Rights Management System" to support geographic limitation. It's not clear what the granularity of this is, but if it is finer than the DVD regions - for example, if it's country by country - it is a powerful system of control not only for marketplace segmentation, but also for various forms of censorship and information control.
Part of the motivation for continuing to support regional markets is to preserve the economic arrangements that are structured around them - but part is also about honoring national policies. Texts, to the extent that they represent traffic in ideas, have always been seen as very dangerous imports, and many nations have chosen to control them. The controversies over the shipment of physical copies of Hitler's Mein Kampf ordered through Web-based booksellers into Germany, in violation of German anti-Nazi statutes , may hint at problems to come, as may the recent judgment in the French courts against Yahoo for making Nazi memorabilia available at auction.
If digital books become network-based information objects, the very nature of the Internet militates against any controls on where they can be delivered, though the most restrictive nations will try to control this in much the same way they control access to other information accessible on the Internet today [ 21 ].
E-book appliances can build in geographical sensitivities that reflect not only regional marketing constraints, but also national censorship policies. And large multinational corporations can be very accommodating on these issues: consider the responses to the issues about Mein Kampf and Nazi memorabilia. Or look at the history of News Corporation appeasing mainland Chinese interests about content on cable television, or even book publishing, such as the case of former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten's book on Hong Kong.
Such national "filters" can be used in several different ways. By legislating the use of readers that support such restrictions, with the cooperation of multinational content suppliers, a nation can go a long way to ensuring that undesirable content is kept out.
It's no longer sufficient to smuggle in content, one has to smuggle in readers as well. In addition, with the cooperation of reader manufacturers, it's possible to keep locally developed content limited to the nation that created it. Finally, the monitoring capabilities of rights management systems can be used to inform governments, not just commercial content providers. As far as I know, there has been little examination of the extent to which international trade agreements and treaties may encourage or discourage such uses of the technology. It is interesting to note that in the print world U.
Technological controls to enforce national boundaries and content policies or regional markets may well put an end to such activities, or at least make them much more difficult and costly. Regional or national controls over the viewing of content are really just a specialized application of technical protection systems.
For consumers, particularly in nations that do not control information flows, the controls represent a novel and annoying set of restrictions on the ability to acquire and use content, as well as the repudiation of the promise of the network as a global information marketplace.
But they also represent a new and relatively unexamined locus of control on the use of digital information and have disturbing implications for restricting the international flow of information and for facilitating national censorship policies. Also, we should recognize that nation-states do not give up their borders easily and that the technological attempts to re-establish national control are in fact widespread.
There is now great interest in so-called geo-location technologies such as Digital Island's Traceware which allow network servers to determine from what nation users are originating from as a means of incorporating national policies into the services provided by networked information resources [ 22 ]. Over the past few years, I had the privilege of serving on a U. I've drawn from some of the findings of this report in the last few sections, though I want to be clear that the opinions expressed above are mine, and do not necessarily represent the findings of this committee.
This report is a rich and extensive examination of the intellectual property and technology issues that I've discussed, and is an excellent source for further reading on these topics [ 23 ]. In the past, miners used caged canaries to tell when the air in a mine was going bad; when the canaries stopped singing, it was time to get out before the air became unbreathable.
The Digital Dilemma uses the metaphor of music as the canary in the digital coal mine; it argues that what happens to the music industry may be a bellwether for the broader array of intellectual property industries in the digital world. I've tried to explain how developments in the music industry, which indeed serves as a canary in some senses, may be influencing the thinking of the publishing industry about its relationship with e-book readers. I believe that these influences are real. But I also believe that music is the wrong place to frame the public policy debate.
Music is ephemeral. It is widely viewed as entertainment. At some very real level, our society doesn't consider it to be important in the way that books are important. Books carry big ideas; they document history, politics, and intellectual currents. Books are dangerous; they cause wars, and governments over the years have banned, confiscated, and censored them. People die for writing books and for believing what is written in books. Books convey and illuminate religion and science. Our laws and the actions of our institutions are codified in books, or at least texts.
Books are serious. Suggestions that government or commercial interests might control what we can read imply that they might also control what we can know and what we can think in a way that control over music could never achieve. Books represent our intellectual and cultural heritage. Censorship of books is a profound matter that implies censorship of ideas; censorship of music does not carry the same implications, for most people.
The freedom of the written and spoken word is enshrined in the U.
Constitution and protected by courts and laws; this has been extended to other forms of communication, but it begins with words and texts. Restrictions on the sharing of books are tantamount to restrictions on the sharing of ideas.
Thoroughfare | The New Everyday
This is why libraries are so important to our society; it is one of the reasons we fund and honor them. The preservation of our books and other texts forms the core of the preservation of our intellectual record. I believe that books, rather than music, are the right place to think about the implications of technological controls on content. This helps make it clear what's really at stake. Later in this paper, for example, I will discuss the implications of technological controls on our ability, as a society, to manage the record of our intellectual discourse, which is primarily textual.
E-books, of course, form the nexus of the public policy debate about the future of textual content. We must remember that the publishing industry is not the music industry though with mergers and acquisitions and the growth of media conglomerates over the past two decades, we may increasingly see the traditions and perspectives of the two industries struggling for ascendance within the same conglomerates.
Relationships between creators and publishers vary substantially between print publishing and the music industry. While both industries have some tradition of defending free speech and opposing censorship, this tradition runs much deeper in publishing. Publishers also think in terms of permanence rather than ephemeral products. The music industry has been described as being at war with its customers, as viewing every customer as a criminal and proceeding from there.
This is not true of the book publishing industry. For an excellent view of the peculiar and sometimes traumatizing copyright and economic history of the music industry, see Charles Mann's "The Heavenly Jukebox,". The issues at stake here cut two ways. One is about whether consumers will accept a "print" publishing industry that pursues the same practices that the music industry seems eager to establish. But the other is the extent to which the publishing industry will follow the lead of the music industry in pursuing these practices.
I think there's some reason to be hopeful that this won't happen, that the publishing industry will honor the importance of managing the cultural and intellectual record, and will ensure the free and transnational flow of ideas and the exchange and sharing of thinking among readers. Perhaps the publishing industry will even ultimately set a standard that other industries will follow. And to the extent that all of the content industries, but particularly publishing, pursue and successfully market policies and practices that are at odds with consumer expectations and the broader public interests in such goals as preserving our intellectual heritage, I believe that texts are the right test case to use in formulating and evaluating public policy to remedy these problems.
There are a number of structural changes that are taking place in the publishing industry. The s and early s were a troublesome time for those concerned with diversity in publishing. We saw the rise of national bookstore chains and the increased homogeneity of offerings from one bookstore to another in the retail marketplace. In publishing, there seemed to be a trend to blockbuster bestsellers that crowded out a much larger and more diverse range of works.
It appears that fewer mid-list or niche books are being published, and those that are published are staying in print for shorter and shorter periods of time.