Technology has changed the way book publishing works, as it has changed everything else in the world of media. —Bruce Jackson

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Electronic Publishing

Electronic publishing includes the digital publication of e-Books and electronic articles and the development of digital libraries. Electronic publishing has become common in scientific publishing where it has been argued that peer-reviewed paper scientific journals are in the process of being replaced by electronic publishing. Although network distribution is nowadays strongly associated with electronic publishing, there are many non-network electronic publications such as encyclopedias on CD and DVD, as well as technical and reference publications relied on by mobile users and others without reliable and high-speed access to a network.

There is usually a delay of several months after an article is written before it is published in a paper journal and this makes journals not an ideal format for disseminating the latest research. In some fields such as astronomy and some parts of physics, the role of the journal at disseminating the latest research has largely been replaced by preprint databases. However, scientific journals still provide an important role in quality control, archiving papers, and establishing scientific credit. In general, the electronic material uploaded to preprint databases is still intended for eventual publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Recent studies show that electronic publishing provides wider dissemination. A number of journals have, while retaining their peer-review process, established electronic versions or even moved entirely to electronic publication.

Electronic publishing is increasingly popular in works of fiction as well as with scientific articles. Electronic publishers are able to provide quick gratification for late-night readers, books that customers might not be able to find in standard book retailers (erotica is especially popular in e-Book format), and books by new authors that would be unlikely to be profitable for traditional publishers.

Synonyms are:

  • Online publishing
  • e-Publishing
  • Web Publishing

While the term “electronic publishing” is primarily used today to refer to the current offerings of online and Web-based publishers, the term has a history of being used to describe the development of new forms of production, distribution, and user interaction in regards to computer-based production of text and other interactive media.

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