The Influence of Technology on Literature
Technology has had a major influence on literature for centuries; from the first printing press to modern day internet, every advancement has created a new way for authors to distribute their work all over the world. In today’s modern age, how has that technology, including personal smart devices and a global online web, changed literature and its consumption?
The internet has altered how many things function, including commerce, culture, and human communication in general. Before technology took over much of the modern world’s communication system, it could take days, weeks, even years for people to communicate with others. With literature, it was a similar issue. At first, all literature had to be copied by hand, word for word, which made books and other literature extremely expensive and a symbol of status. After the printing press was invented, it meant that literature was more widely available because it took far less time and skill to produce volumes of text. Printing presses are what made newspapers and magazines possible; selling such printed media would have been very difficult for publishing houses if they were still relying on hand copied issues.
The same event has happened in the past 20 years, regarding physical publications and digital publications. Since, due to the increase of global population, the demand for literature has increased, publishers faced the same issue that they had centuries ago: people want magazines, but where are they going to come from? While actually producing enough physical magazines is entirely achievable, the rise of environmental awareness in the last 50 years has prevented that from happening. Companies have become aware of the negative impacts that their industries have had on the environment, from factory pollutants to the massive amounts of waste being shoveled into landfills every year. These same publishers have also acknowledged that their physical magazines will only take them so far as the digital age continues to transform the lives and jobs of people around the globe. Notably, the 2020 pandemic of COVID-19 caused worldwide paper shortages which forced many publishers to suspend printing for a period of time and acted as a strong reminder that an alternative to print issues is necessary. The sensible solution to both issues is clearly to implement a new way of spreading literature, like the publishers before them.
Don’t get us wrong, print magazines and newspapers are an amazing tradition and they still have a part to play in today’s world. However, as environmental concerns and demand for magazines increases, the supply of paper and ability to fulfill that demand decreases. Most newspapers and magazines have digital issues that are available, some of which have been around since the 1980s. Magazine Jukebox’s goal is not to fully eliminate paper magazines, but to take advantage of the technologies that are available to us. In public spaces, magazines are often stolen, damaged, or outdated, which makes Magazine Jukebox’s platform even more appealing. It is also that next evolution of spreading the written word to the public, quickly, affordably, and conveniently. The platform can’t be stolen, damaged, and never needs to be replaced with new editions. Like the printing press, it also allows more people to read the same publication, but without creating waste. How many other things could be improved or advanced through the use of technology?