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The case of the e-book in a "small-language" culture: Media, technology and effects in the digital society

An investigation is proposed into the impact, actual and potential, of the electronic book (e-book) on the authoring, publishing, distribution and use process in Sweden. The study is timely, given the recent increase in the publication, use and library loans of e-books.

The situation in Sweden with regard to the successful introduction of e-books into the national ‘book culture’ is complicated by a number of factors. It is a so-called ‘small language’ market, but with a technologically literate population, many of whom also read English. One of the consequences of the ‘small language’ phenomenon is that the Swedish book industry is prey to the effects of globalization, since books have an international market. Thus, the spread of a Swedish e-book may have to rely on somewhat other factors than in the English-speaking world.

The theoretical framework includes a focus on: the emergence of the innovation out of previous prototypes, the existence of a ‘supervening social necessity’, and the impact of means for the suppression of ‘radical potential’ (Winston). In addition Bourdieu’s field theory will be used to analyzing changes in power between the actors in the field. The research methods include personal interviews with authors, publishing executives and booksellers, focus group interviews with librarians and readers and questions in national surveys of the population.


Doc. Annika Bergström, Prof. Lars Höglund, Doc. Alen Doraci, Elena Maceviciute, PhD Skans Kersti Nilsson, Prof. Tom Wilson.

Contact at JMG

Annika Bergström



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