Reading: 20/20 vision? E-books in practice and theory


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20/20 vision? E-books in practice and theory


Andrew Wheatcroft

University of Stirling
About Andrew

Director,The Centre for Publishing Studies 

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Based on a paper presented at the UKSG seminar ‘E-book: the new serial?’, The British Library Conference Centre, London,Wednesday 9 November 2005

In the United States ‘20/20’ means normal vision, being clear- sighted. In the digital book community, ‘2020’ now has a different meaning – the British Library’s prescient understanding of ‘the book’ 15 years from now, in the year 2020. It is based on first-rate research, the best that we have. But it is a partial view.This paper suggests where we have come from, where we are now, and where – perhaps – we might be going. It highlights the importance to publishers of product life cycle management and all that entails, and explains the concept of the publisher-producer.The short history of the e-book has embraced both vision and the visionary but we need to be sceptical of technology’s wilder promises for the period up to 2020.Yet the future prospect is positive: there should be every confidence that the new gener- ation joining the industry will rise to the publishing challenges outlined.

How to Cite: Wheatcroft, A., 2006. 20/20 vision? E-books in practice and theory. Serials, 19(1), pp.10–14. DOI:
Published on 01 Mar 2006.
Peer Reviewed


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