Matter matters : material communication and the role of book history in the curriculum of publishing studies

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragKonferenspaper, ej i proceeding/ej förlagsutgivet


Books and other printed matter are media of communication, used to carry and distribute –
mediate – "content". A medium, however, is always material, and as such it produces
meaning in its own right. So even though content and medium might be separate and distinct
entities, they are intimately connected, and in order to be communicated a piece of "content"
is always given one or another material form. This form, whichever it may be, adds meaning
to the actual content – it becomes part of it.
In publishing this relation, that is fundamentally an epistemological one, rarely seems to be
acknowledged. The overlook becomes especially apparent in the belief that the e-book can
substitute the printed book whereas the two forms of mediation are exactly two – distinct, and
representing different modi. For students within publishing studies digital publishing has
made knowledge of the meaning of materiality, and of the history of the book and of the book
market more acute than ever. Digital publishing might increase the size of an edition (a
concept diluted in digital environments) but it decreases the publisher’s possibilities to use
form and materiality as an important aspect of communication and as part of the business
concept. At the same time, digital publishing faces the publisher with a completely new range
of challenges, challenges that show that digital documents are made up of a far more heavy
kind of materiality than analogue ones.
The paper will address questions on how the form and materiality of both analogue and
digital documents produce meaning, why this is an important issue to discuss within the field
of publishing studies, and what the history of the book can learn us about the future of it.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Kulturstudier


StatusUnpublished - 2015
Peer review utfördJa
EvenemangBy the Book 2: Books and Reading in an Age of Media Overload - Villa Finaly, Florence, Italien
Varaktighet: 2015 jun 182015 jun 19


KonferensBy the Book 2

Related projects

Visa alla (1)