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A close-up of a newly opened delphinium flower (Summer 2013).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Our Digital Age: From book to ebook

I am reading a provocative book, I live in the Future & Here's How It Works. I am more than halfway through it. It is written by Nick Bilton, lead writer and technology reporter for the New York Times' Bits Blog and a reporter for the paper. The book, which I consider as experiential and insightful, discusses why our world, work, and brain are being creatively disrupted by the digital technology in the 21st century.

Bilton, who calls himself a nerd, describes how the media world has been radically transformed from print to digital form. Newspapers and magazines--used to be delivered at the door--are now being viewed in computers and in devices such as the iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Books, which are still available in print, are now accessible via iBook and Kindle. Before, you have to go to a theatre to watch a movie. Now you can download any movie you want in your computer or iPad. Before, you have to buy a CD to listen to your favorite singers. Now you can download your favorite music from iTunes for only $0.99 each and you don't have to buy the whole album.

You can now buy items from the comfort of your home, using your computer, without having to drive near and far to get them. You can buy all kinds of items from various parts of the world. All you need is a PayPal account or a credit card.

Today's digital world is fast, convenient, and cheaper compared to the way we have been doing things in the past. 

Last Monday, I went to the University of Calgary to attend a talk about publishing your thesis into a book. The person who gave the talk was one of the editors of the Toronto University Press. From his presentation, I got the impression that the process of converting one's thesis into a book and that of publishing it is almost as difficult as writing one's thesis in the first place. The book will have to be reviewed by internal editors and critiqued by experts outside the university. I estimated the whole process could take from two to three years before one's book finally lands in the bookstores.

There is always the other alternative if one wants to avoid this long, arduous process--to publish one's book as an ebook. This way, you are the actualizer. You are not dependent on publishers. You don't experience rejection from editors. But you have to be able to write well. And you also need to hire a good editor for a flawless result.

Bilton is right about how the digital technology has disrupted our world, our work, and our brain. But the disruption is a positive one, something that brings us closer to one another at the press of a key.

As we continue to adapt to our digital media, we can look forward to reading our friends' books in our iBook or Kindle one of these days. Let me know should your book becomes available as an ebook.

I welcome comments and questions, as always. You can write your comments at the Comments section at the end of this article.

For those interested in buying Nick Bilton's book, it is available below with just one click of your mouse.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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