E-books: Histories, trajectories, futures

Michael M. Widdersheim


This essay traces the historical trajectory of e-books in the U.S. and imagines their possible futures. Legal, economic, and technical developments that led to contemporary e-books reveal a tension between commercial and non-commercial programming. Commercial e-book designs control end uses, reduce production and distribution costs, stimulate consumption, and monitor user behaviors; however, alternative producers and users on the periphery continue to challenge these centralizing tendencies.


e-books; computing; Internet; copyright; digital rights management; surveillance

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v20i6.5641

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