The (be)coming of the book: The transformation of a text medium in the late age of print | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1601-829X
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0586



Digitalization has changed the preconditions for most media in recent decades, offering a rare opportunity to develop and change traditional media and the media market. The book medium is no exception. What is to be considered a book is being challenged, or, for some, threatened. As the e-book market grows there is, as with other media, still ambiguity in the direction of the development and the normalization of the e-book concept. This article discusses the extent to which physical form, genre and utilization are important when defining the book medium in the late age of print, contributing to the debate regarding the future of the book. The article is based on interviews with four prominent scholars in the research area of the digitization of text media. The findings show that, despite good arguments for how the e-book should be defined, its definition is highly context-dependent. However, as the e-book moves towards more enhanced digital versions and away from digitized ones, genre will grow increasingly important for the definition of a ‘book’ in the digital environment. This means that, in moving towards a more converging understanding of the future of the book, its definitions will diverge.


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