#BMhour: selected highlights

Last night via Twitter, BookMachine held its first #BMhour, a chance for anyone interested in publishing to spend an hour talking to each other on a given subject using that hashtag. Our first topic – ‘what effect will digital publishing have on access to content in developing countries?’ – provoked a lot of healthy discussion, with participants from both developed and developing countries; so much in fact that we won’t be able to fit it all in the recap. Here, though, are some selected highlights, edited together into a form that’s hopefully fairly coherent. I’m going to let the tweets speak for themselves in order to fit in as many as possible, but thanks to everyone who made it a success, in particular @Book_Aid for its contributions and Sophie at @eMCDesignLtd for coming up with the idea.

[Topics are introduced in bold print; replies follow immediately afterwards.]


Book_Machine: Do you think that digital publishing is going to have as strong an impact in the developing world as it has in the US?

krishvenkatesh: The digital consumption will be driven by accessibility to computers as well as cheaper devices in developing world unlike US

ernestopriego: short answer? No, not yet. Also, it’s hard to generalise on ‘the developing world’ for anything.

Mike_at_eMC: Inevitably but not overnight. The means of delivery may have to reduce to the cost of a book. How long before that?

ernestopriego: I guess it’s important to point out that recognising challenges & differences doesn’t mean not seeing the positive potential.

canadiancat: I’m going to say ‘maybe’. A larger investment of time & infrastructure is needed.


Book_Aid: We think digital publishing will have a huge impact in developing countries. Perhaps even bigger than in the west

krishvenkatesh: Why do you think that is?

Book_Aid: assuming barriers can be overcome, it can widen access to content exponentially, though it’s true that overcoming those obstacles takes some doing and isn’t guaranteed… in the best of all possible worlds, it can improve access to content and improve education…but may take a long, long time


eMCDesignLtd: Hi @mikemurphy1979, welcome along to #BMhour. Have you travelled to other parts of Africa? And noticed differences?

mikemurphy1979: huge infrastructure issues to overcome for people in poorest areas. Difficult to know if appetite for digital content through this.


Book_Machine: What is the main challenge for developing countries? Is it infrastructure? Or simply lack of technology?

krishvenkatesh: Definitely. Developing countries don’t adopt e-devices that much quickly.

ernestopriego: I think infrastructure, local socioeconomic inequalities, propietary software, even public transport systems…

Book_Aid: There are many barriers depending on where we’re talking about: electricity, broadband, licences, costs of hardware and content…


mikemurphy1979: Be aware of cultural heritage, found many SubSaharan communities not ‘writing’ cultures, but verbal. Could inform tech & delivery.


sophie_cryer: The reality for a lot of ppl is where is my next dinner coming from – not where can I download the nxt chpt


Mike_at_eMC: Good chat. Can’t help thinking a bit patronising. Techie western tweeters deciding what the developed world needs! But interesting


Catch up with the entire discussion on Twitter under #BMHour.

Twitter chat

Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.

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