E-books: Histories, trajectories, futures

  • Michael M. Widdersheim University of Pittsburgh
Keywords: e-books, computing, Internet, copyright, digital rights management, surveillance


This essay traces the historical trajectory of e-books in the U.S. and imagines their possible futures. Legal, economic, and technical developments that led to contemporary e-books reveal a tension between commercial and non-commercial programming. Commercial e-book designs control end uses, reduce production and distribution costs, stimulate consumption, and monitor user behaviors; however, alternative producers and users on the periphery continue to challenge these centralizing tendencies.

Author Biography

Michael M. Widdersheim, University of Pittsburgh
PhD student, School of Information Sciences
How to Cite
Widdersheim, M. M. (2015). E-books: Histories, trajectories, futures. First Monday, 20(6). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v20i6.5641