A sense of physical books in our digital society

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Conference Proceeding

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Todhunter, S., & de Byl, P. (2015). A sense of physical books in our digital society. In D. Paterno, M. Bourk, & D. Matheson (Eds.). Refereed proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association conference: Rethinking communication, space and identity (1-11).

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In spite of the encroaching tide of digitisation across all forms of communication, resistance to the ebook revolution has highlighted the enduring allure of a physical book. The ebook can only be attributed 10% of publishing house revenue and lags behind print book sales by 1:3. Investigations and speculation regarding this anomaly have credited the oft-overlooked role of haptics in the persistence of print. The ability to touch and smell a book has an innate power engaging readers in a way not yet possible through pure digitised versions of the same media, a circumstance that invites reassessment of the true value of phenomenology in a world becoming increasingly digitised. For the first time, the publishing industry must contend with physicalness and its role in imbuing books with greater meaning than sum of its words embedded behind a screen. To understand the underlying principles at work in sensing more value in the physical world than the digital, this paper explores the emerging perspectives on ebooks and print books in terms of haptic interaction.



This document has been peer reviewed.