This doctoral thesis examines the problems with digitalizing books and mainstreaming e-books, and proposes solutions for them. The perspective is diffusion of innovation as a process of acceptance and adaptation, guided by micro and macro level needs. On the macro level, the development of the book is driven by the need to use information effectively, but the transition to electronic format also requires that micro-level needs are met. The theoretical contribution of this work consists of platform studies and technological constructivism combined with diffusion theories. The research emphasises the conditionality, dialogical nature, and non-linearity of technological change. Technology is created by humans. Thus the process of technological development is not steered by the technology itself, but rather by dialogue with user groups. Users approve or reject innovation and shape it by their choices. The thesis brings a much-needed technological humanism to the discussion about e-books, that is, stressing the importance of the user. From this perspective, technology should be adapted to how people use it and to human conceptual models, not the other way around. The e-book has undergone a number of major changes during its long existence, and mainstreaming has been attempted in very different forms. The research examines how the e-book is constructed and structured as it is today. The work includes the first large-scale Finnish-language review of e-book research and analysis of the development of e-books. In addition, the researcher interviewed a number of experts who have been involved in various activities related to digitalization. Two groups were represented in the interviews. The innovator category includes those pioneers who have actively developed products themselves at an early stage. Stakeholder interviews, conducted later, include representatives of publishing houses and dealers. According to this study, it is beneficial to see e-books as a comprehensive platform and taking into account the pragmatic needs of the early user majority is demanded in its mainstream development. A platform needs to provide greater practical benefits, better usability and user experience at all levels. Other conditions are also important, including adequate technology, integration with existing information systems, cost-effectiveness and the emergence of new organisations. The required conditions for mainstreaming of e-books have only partly been met, and largely in local contexts. Although the technology has advanced, enabling mobile e-readers and other benefits, the debate concerning what kind of e-book model the early user majority would accept is still ongoing. There is still an unresolved conflict between the book and the (Inter)net, the technology is not established and new services have been created largely via closed ecosystems. One of the key findings of this research is that not enough attention has been paid to how e-book user groups are changing, even though this evolution is an essential factor shaping the technology, since different groups of users have different needs. In order to create a coherent user experience, the device, the software and the content of the e-book must work together so that these frameworks are ‘aware’ of each other. Based on these findings, a possible conceptual model for the e-book is presented. This model solution also contributes to the debate on what form e-books will take in the future.
|Translated title of the contribution||Tämä ei ole kirja : sähkökirjan valtavirtaistumisen haasteet|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
|MoE publication type||G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)|