The Artefact: iBook

Americanisms Lee Hassall

Above is the artefact I have created for my project on Americanisms. I have chosen to use the app iBook author to create an eBook, which has many advantages to me being an unestablished photographer. It is easier and free to promote my work as it is an app that is easily accessed. Being a relatively new tool that is available to most people it begins to raise questions about the need for a professional in terms of an author, this is an issue I will address later but first I would like to discuss why an ebook is appropriate for my audience.

This eBook will be available in the iBook store for free, so anyone with access to that store will be able to download it to their devices. As an unestablished photographer  and little interest at the moment in this work I doubt people will be willing to part with money for it and are more likely to download it out of curiosity. Perhaps after being told about it by being shared via a social networking site. It is not restricted to people that only have access to the iBook store as it will exist online as a PDF, although the viewing of the book will change in this format. The images will still be structured in the same sequence but the PDF file wont be as interactive as the iBook file, which is a convention of eBooks that we are becoming more and more used to.

I have not just chosen this format because it is simply easier for me to promote my work in this way (although that is a contributing factor) I find it to be a very appropriate medium for my chosen audience (the 16 year old mentioned in a previous post ‘Considering Audiences’). It is accessible to this audience as they are digital natives, they already have the knowledge an ability to be able to download an view my work. This does not iscolate everyone that is not a digital native, but I am aware that not all digital settlers have learnt the necessary skills to view my work. If I were to find this to be an issue and wanted to open up the viewing of this work to a maturer audience then I would consider other forms of presenting, for example creating a physical book or attempting to display my work in public spaces. The eBook is something that can be easily shared on the internet and not only does this sharing allow free advertising for the artefact it creates an online presence for myself. But even though there are some great advantages for my work to be easily accessed, shared and promoted online there is an uncertainty to what will happen with the work.

As I mentioned in the post I made about appropriation, once the photograph or body of work is uploaded onto the internet it gains a certain level of vulnerability, meaning it can be taken from its context (this one being my eBook) and interpreted in any number of ways. Not only does work become more accessible by existing online, plagiarism becomes more accessible as well. Plagiarism can still be done with the physical object, as demonstrated in Melinda Gibsons work, but a digital replica that is possible to download makes it so much easier to achieve.

Going back to the issue that this app iBook author raises of the need for professionals I found a quote from the book ‘Here Comes Everyone’ by Clay Shirky that sums up the concerns that could be associated this new tool.

“Our social tools remove older obstacles to public expression, and thus remove the bottlenecks that characterized mass media. The result is the mass amateurization of efforts pre­viously reserved for media profossionals.” 

With it becoming easier to publish your own work is there becoming less of a need for a professional author, just as there is less of a need for a professional journalist and photographer as mentioned in Clay Shirky’s book? iBook author is not the first and I am sure it wont be the last way for people to get there work published, magcloud for instance goes a step further in being able to print the artefact on demand. Although there is still a scarcity in the book world that requires professionals, such as getting books printed on mass and distributed, but if there is a decrease in these means and an increase in online publications then there is a possibility that the profession of a publisher, printer and author may ceased to exist one day.

After considering my audience and whether my artefact is the most appropriate format, as well as the implications it has in the digital era, I feel my decision to produce an eBook is valid.

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