Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on the Future of the Book

From Readers to Writers: Opportunities for publishers in an intercreative age

Sherman Young, Graham Meikle.

It explores some of the key impacts of digital media on the traditional roles of publishers. Until now, these roles have been threefold — editorial, distribution and marketing — but each of these now faces challenges from, for example, the increasing intrusions of the Internet. With a primary focus on editorial and distribution, this paper explores the reconfigured relationships between users of information. It draws upon creator of the web Tim Berners-Lee’s provocative argument that the potential of digital media needs to be rethought beyond the market-driven constraints of “interactivity” as a means of expanding “choice.” Instead, the real potential is in what Berners-Lee terms intercreativity, or collaborative creative work.

We examine ways in which long-accepted lines between production and consumption have been blurred by the possibilities of intercreativity that new media technologies offer. The implications of this are beginning to be felt within some creative industries: computer games, for example, rest on a traditional publishing model; at the same time, however, a thriving audience culture exists which creates modifications of existing games for online distribution, and this is increasingly seen as a strategic resource by game publishers, with the potential for sequels and expansion packs resting on the exploitation of the players’ intercreativity.

To develop the concept of intercreativity and explore its implications for the future of the book, this paper examines particular instances of open publishing models (such as those of the global Indymedia online news network) and new distribution models (such as peer-to-peer networks and Apple’s iTunes Music Store), which ask provocative questions of two of the key roles that publishing companies play in relation to established non-fiction genres and formats such as academic textbooks, reference works, cookery books and travel guides.


Sherman Young  (Australia)
Media Department
Macquarie University

Graham Meikle  (Australia)

  • Intercreativity
  • User
  • Audience
  • Reader
  • Writer
  • Production
  • Consumption
  • Media

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)