Blog Post 1 ARTS2090 (sorry I uploaded after the second one)

Publishing is a longstanding tradition which entails the reproduction and printing of images in order to put these images into the public domain. Throughout the contemporary era publishing has largely been used by the media to spread news and messages to the masses. The invention of the printing press allowed for mass scale publication, however only very few had the right to contribute to these publications and therefore, undemocratically, these people often incorrectly portrayed the views of others and oppressed certain groups of people who did not have the same level of writing skill. The invention of the internet, and particularly social media, saw a significant change to the way in which publishing takes place. Web 2.0 allowed everyone with access to the internet an ability to post and publish their own opinions and views (case in point: this blog I am currently publishing) changed the way in which publishing will be done forever.
But how exactly has publishing changed? And is it really as accessible as it would seem on face value?
Published works that are available in the public domain are ubiquitous. Shatzkin discusses how since the 1960 the number of published books have increased by about 30 times, with a number of these publications being self published. Access to the internet as a mass publishing tool and the increased affordability of printing tools have allowed this to happen. This has significantly affected the way in which audiences now recieve publications: the large number of available publications has lead to a need to find reliable resources rather than know which were reliable.
On face value it would seem that this increase in opinion would strengthen our democracy, however is this truly the case?
Naughton uses the interesting example of e-books to analyse how the digitisation of publishing can lead to widespread inequality. He discusses how consumers now no longer have a physical ownership of the products they buy and they must comply to the (in this case Amazon’s) various terms and conditions of purchasing items. Amazon’s mass ownership of e-book publications has meant that you must sign up to their terms and conditions in order to purchase e-books. These terms and conditions mean that Amazon can delete and change the books you have bought at any stage. It also means you can’t lend people the book or even read it out in a public forum. Thus, consumers no longer physically owning copies of their books can lead to an empowerment of big industry and a reduction in the right to do whatever you want with what you own.
Furthermore, Baskhar discusses how the digitisation of publications has lead to widespread disadvantage for the less wealthy and those without access to computers and the internet. He uses the example of South Africa, where the gap between the wealthy and the poor is enormous. Inaccessability to online publications is an issue which leads to disadvantage for the poor and only the opinions of the wealthy being expressed. Bhaskar’s text looks at how with increased access to e-books and online publications, the internet could be an excellent source of upholding democracy and increasing education in countries such as these:
“Ebooks in Africa could be a way of massively increasing people’s exposure to books, people who historically have been denied the opportunity to read”


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