Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Publishing Needs To Close The Digital Divide

Iceland ranks the highest in the world based on having the greatest percentage of its citizens using the Internet in 2013. In the small, far away country, 96.6% use the Internet. Norway is second at 95.1% and The Netherlands are third at 94%. Bahrain is the only other country with at least 90%. The U.S. surprisingly ranks only tenth, at 84.2%

Is it a matter of economics? Education? Age? Literacy? Politics?

One day there won’t be a country around without at least a 95% rate of Internet usage, but for now, many countries fall far short of what will be needed if the world is to advance forward.

Sure, the Internet by itself means nothing. Just because you have access to download YouTube videos of a cat taking a shit on a surf board won’t make you a productive, smart, or active citizen. But, in theory, once more people are online and trained in how to use it correctly and wisely, the world will have a real chance to grow—financially, politically, and socially.

Internet usage in developing countries is only around 32% and worldwide the number is 40%. For developed countries it’s almost twice that, at 79%. That’s a huge gap and such a disparity helps no one. To have a global economy, enlightened citizens, and educated people, the Internet needs to expand into every home.

On the other hand, the Internet needs to clean its act up. It is underused in areas that are important and overused in nonsense—streaming bad movies, downloading stupid videos, reading blogs filled with hate... and don't forget people who are using the 'Net for bullying, scamming, lacking, etc.

The Internet could be a way to share information, overcome physical barriers, sell products globally, democratize governments, and exchange ideas.

Like anything, any tool or service or product can be used for good or bad. The Internet certainly has the best and worst of both worlds.

The Internet has blight, congestion, repetition, clutter, and danger running through its digital veins. As more people gain access to it, they’ll need to be savvy and learn how to navigate through commercials, propaganda, lies, manipulation, and mindless time-wasters.

But the Internet also will play a huge role in how books are promoted, marketed, purchased and read. The growth of the Internet may go hand in hand with the expansion of the book publishing industry and all media.

Just think, the number of worldwide Internet users could one day double from today’s numbers and still leave one in five citizens Internet-free. The world can’t afford to leave this many behind. The book industry certainly can’t.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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