D'Nyj Jones is a staff writer and editor for the Trojan Digital Review from Foley, Alabama. Her most recent published work focuses on feminism emerging through the digital publishing space. When she is not writing, she spends her time reading novels and watching dramatized television series. She is the author of "Education and Libraries.”

The Rise of #GirlPower

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Women all around the world are demanding that their voices be heard and they continue overcoming obstacles and hardships due to their femininity. Digital publishing is opening doors to allow women a platform to express themselves and the issues they face.

Oprah Winfrey tweeted: “We are enough. We matter. We are NOT invisible. Girls around the world are having their say. This is the moment to listen — # GirlDeclaration.”

Feminism, as a movement, is a fight for equal rights. The campaign challenges the traditional assumptions of social roles for men and women. Through feminism, women feel empowered to have their voices be heard. The movement intends to demolish the hierarchy and create equality for everyone.

Today, feminism is a movement that defines, establishes, and desires to achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes.

Feminism has gained an abundance of attention and revenue due to digital publishing. Feminists choose to publish online because it allows them to reach more readers than ever before. Through digital publishing, women can create and control their craft.

The platform allows women to take a stand on issues and topics that often are overlooked or unknown to other individuals. Digital publishing gives feminists a new platform to use their freedom of speech to empower and motivate women all around the world.

At one point in time, feminist bookstores were mainly where female-made publications were obtained. Female writers have always dealt with the issue of being muted, oversimplified or objectified. Today women writers have numerous more opportunities than they have ever had in the past.

According to Simone Wolff:

This Times article about indie authors who started for kindle and now run their own publishing houses — all of which, incidentally, are women — claims that only 30% of readers engage only with print publications. The rise of the eBook and the internet’s facilitation of the woman-centric literary community has even created new forms of book distribution and literary community-building.

E-books and Kobo have become an essential aspect of keeping feminist books relevant and flourishing.

E-books give female writers a more significant opportunity for past, present, and future publishers to project their books. Simone Wolff explains, Emily Books is perhaps the first of its kind, a chimera-like entity that combines eBook store, book club, subscription, and publishing house, all to a decidedly-feminist end.”

Emily Books explores and praises the famous works of past and present female writers. According to the “How Digital Publishing Has Changed Feminist Writing”:

Emily Books is, essentially, an online feminist bookstore. It even hosts a book club of sorts, in its subscription service, which comes with access to a community forum. But unlike the websites of pre-existing feminist bookstores, which are strictly for commerce and tend to have a GeoCities feel, Emily is an exercise in feminist taste-making.

Emily Books is providing an innovative service necessary for the innovative ideas of the evolving feminist.

Women & Children First partnering with Kobo, a Canadian company that sells e-books and other digital paraphernalia, is the reason the company exists today. Kobo digitally stores many feminist texts; thus, Women & Children First becomes one of the go-to bookstore websites for searches dealing with feminism and queer or gender studies.

Women were once second-class citizens, and the effects of stereotypes and gender roles still exist. Because of the continuing effects, feminist books are more obtainable digitally through e-books, Kobo, and other electronic devices. According to The Rising Feminist Magazines You Need to Start Reading:

We are fortunate to have this category growing on our platform–especially with these incredibly talented women creating content that inspires and brings awareness to important issues like women’s empowerment. It is through that access that we can ensure awareness and manifest change.

Female writers have been able to build powerhouses due to their digital platform. Today, many female powerhouses exist, such as writers like J.K Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Joyce Carol Oates, and Margaret Atwood. Women all over the world are finding it easier to be heard every day through digital publishing.

Feminist presses allow women to empower themselves, whether they are in the workplace, at home, or in their everyday lives. Their publications provide the ability to connect with their readers on a deeper level. Digital publishing brings together voices that speak on educational, health, and social justice issues for women all around the world.

Digital publishing has been one platform that feminists have been able to adapt to their needs. Today many female powerhouses exist, such as writers like Joyce Carol Oates and Margaret Atwood. Through Digital publishing, feminist books, essays, magazines, and articles are easily obtainable electronically. Feminism has made a profound mark with the help of digital publishing and they are here to stay.

Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis

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For years the e-reader market has been dominated by the Amazon Kindle. Amazon continues to produce devices for consumers looking for more book-like e-readers as well as those who desire a more technologically advanced e-reader. This article will be exploring the newest installments of two of the most highly ranked Amazon Kindles: Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis.

What is Kindle Paperwhite?

Consumers are falling in love with Paperwhite for being the most advanced Kindle with the most budget-friendly price tag. By combining the affordability and durability of the original Paperwhite model with the Bluetooth and waterproof features of the pricier Kindle Oasis, the newest Kindle Paperwhite has become one of the bestselling e-readers.

Kindle Paperwhite is one of the most popular Kindles in the franchise. Amazon has improved this device by waterproofing and adding more storage. Users are now free to read by the beach, pool, or bath at their leisure  without the worry of getting the device wet.

According to Jeffery Van Camp, “for a couple extra Jacksons, it opens up the joys of reading in the pool, beach, and bathtub without fear. The display is flush, and the device is rated IPX8, meaning it can sit in 2 meters of water for two hours.”

The previous Kindle holds a battery that takes at least three hours to charge, and many consumers found the battery endurance to be gravitating; for such an extensive charging time, the battery did not seem to last as long as it should have. The Kindle Paperwhite, however, can last for weeks at a time, depending on usage, before needing to be recharged and it only takes about 90 minutes to be fully charged.

Paperwhite now has Audible so consumers can listen to their audiobooks through Bluetooth speakers. With the addition of Audible, the device’s storage capacity has increased in order to hold more audiobooks, which require more storage space.

 Avery Hartmans explains, “… Amazon increased by a lot on the new Paperwhite. You can now buy the device with 8 GB of storage or 32 GB of storage. The latter should be more than enough space for all your e-books.” The storage available on this device is comparable to that of the Kindle Oasis, which is almost double the price of Paperwhite. 

Consumer Reviews

A feature appreciated by most Paperwhite users is the device’s simplistic design. According to Jason Snell & Dan Moren:

I found the display to be appreciably better quality than on the base model, with higher contrast and more consistent lighting. The display on the Paperwhite is also flush with the front bezel, so there are no nooks and crannies for lint and dust and crumbs to get stuck.

On top of the sleek yet simple design, consumers also enjoy the fact that they do not feel the need to put a protective covering on their device thanks to its durability.

Consumer David Carnoy says the bottom line is that the Kindle Paperwhite “is more durable, fully dunkable, and ultimately the best Kindle reader for most people — especially if you snag it during one of Amazon’s frequent sales.”

While the design of the device is highly praised, consumers should be aware that the Paperwhite does not have a built-in headphone jack. This means that for those wanting to listen to audiobooks, they will need to have a Bluetooth speaker or wireless headphones. According to Max Parker of Trusted Reviews, “during my time with the device, I didn’t ever experience any issues with connection or pairing – both were solid.”

Advantages of Paperwhite

  • Price: $119.99
  • Light Weight
  • Bluetooth
  • High Storage Capacity
  • Longer Battery Life
  • Durability

Reading Material Available for Download

  • Kindle Unlimited
  • Comics
  • E-books
  • Magazines

 What Is Kindle Oasis?

Described as “frivolously awesome,” the Kindle Oasis is the highest quality e-reader created by Amazon as of 2019. Van Camp explains:

The Oasis is more expensive than two Kindle Paperwhites—but it’s an absolute joy to use. The 2019 version has 25 LED lights to make its screen glow evenly (double the previous version), and you can adjust it to give off a more pleasant, warm orange glow.

Lightweight, waterproof, and Bluetooth, the Kindle Oasis offers the same basics of the Paperwhite, but on a more extreme scale. The price of the Kindle Oasis stumps many individuals because they do not understand how a Kindle could be worth this nearly $300 price point. While Kindle Oasis is admittedly expensive, it offers the highest quality experience for e-reader lovers. 

Just like the Kindle Paperwhite, there is no headphone-jack available with the Oasis, but the device does include Bluetooth. 

Consumer Reviews

According to the Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019 review by Samuel Gibbs, “Amazon’s most expensive, luxury e-reader, the Kindle Oasis, has taken a leaf out of the modern smartphone’s book for 2019 with a colour adjustable light that gets warmer as the sun sets.” 

David Phelan, a Forbes Consumer Tech writer, says:

Although I’d still maintain that nothing compares to a real book, this is the best e-book reader in terms of reading, for sure. Amazon has worked to improve parts of the software, so it’s much harder to lose your place than before.

As far as price goes, Courtney Jespersen says “if you treat your e-reader like a tablet, go for the Oasis.”

Advantages of Oasis

  • Price: $289.99
  • Big and Sharp Displays
  • Page-turn Buttons
  • Longest Battery Life
  • Most Lightweight Edition
  • More built-in LED Lights

Reading Material Available for Download

  • Kindle unlimited book
  • Audiobooks
  • Magazines
  • Comics
  • Amazon Prime Readings

While these new and improved e-readers may not look so different from their predecessors, the internal improvements are what keep users coming back for more.  With must-have devices like the Paperwhite and Oasis, it is clear why consumers flock to Amazon for their e-reader needs. 

What is the Dark Side of Print and Digital Publishing?

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The controversial topic of print and digital publishing has been an ongoing debate for years. Both methods can be harmful to the environment due to the unawareness of the disposal process of print and digital publishing.

How Is Paper created?

Since paper’s creation, the construction process has been misunderstood. Paper is nothing more than a dried compressed mat of plant fibers. To create paper from trees, the raw wood has to turn into pulp. According to  How Do You Make Paper From a Tree, “ The more commonly used method is chemical pulping, also known as “kraft.” Chemicals are used to separate lignin from the cellulose fibers, leaving a pulp mixture that can make stronger papers.” Once the pulp is finished preparing, it is placed in a roller machine to form paper.

Steps of Papermaking  

  1. Headbox: The soggy wet mass of pulp starts off here. It could be a mixture of wood pulp and recycled paper fibers.
  2. Mesh: Sometimes called the Fourdrinier table or wire, this is where most of the water from the pulp is removed and the paper slowly starts to form.
  3. Suction boxes: While some of the water drips through the mesh, more is removed by suction boxes (a bit like box-shaped vacuum cleaners designed to suck up water).
  4. Dandy roll: This large roller puts a watermark, pattern, or texture on the paper.
  5. Felt belt: The forming paper runs over a rotating felt belt that mops away further moisture.
  6. Dryer: The paper loops back and forth over more felt rollers and heated dryers.
  7. Calenders: The rollers at the very end smooth the paper, so it’s of completely uniform thickness.
  8. Paper roll: The paper is all finished and ready to use.

Is Print Harmful?

Print publications take a significant toll on the environment. In one year, the United States produces over 2 billion books. As a result, more than 32 million trees are burning to produce printed books. One tree can conceive 16.67 reams of copy paper or 8,888.3 sheets.

Sora Davidson explains,

…the print industry is also one of the main contributors to the negative state of the environment as we know it today. There are many key environmental issues caused by the print industry. These include and are not limited to: air pollution, handling and disposing of hazardous materials, waste management, and energy use.

Trees hold a significant contribution to filtering out the air and absorbing odors. The printing industry tears down the filter by having to burn the trees, which causes air pollution. As a result, about 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide is being released back into the atmosphere.

Throughout the print industry, the toxic level of materials used is at an all-time high. Materials such as ink, fountain solution, solvent, and photographic chemical waste are hazardous to the health of the environment. According to Aaliyah Madadi, writer for Resource Hub, “printed books have the highest per-unit carbon footprint – which includes its raw materials, paper production, printing, shipping, and disposal – in the publishing sector.”

What is Digital Publishing?

Many people would probably assume that digital publishing emerged from the World Wide Web, this assumption would be wrong. Digital publishing was actually created b on July 4, 1971, by Michael Hart when Project Gutenberg began. The meaning of Digital publishing means different things due to people’s different perspectives. According to Digital Marketing Defined , “The use of digital technology to replace written material so that it can be disseminated and accessed through computerized electronic devices.”

Examples of Digital Publishing

  • Articles
  • Books
  • Journals
  • Blogs
  • Advertisements
  • Company Reports
  • Catalogs
  • Newsletters
  • Magazines
  • Advertisements

Benefits of Digital Publishing

While using digital publishing, the use of toxic chemicals is reducing. This method produces with speed and better quality. Therefore, digital content can always be issued out to the world at any time. If online publishers find errors such as incorrect dates, typos, or invalid information, editing and updating the content is easily able to achieve.

Ebooks Save Millions of Trees (Links to an external site.), “ In the USA in one year, 2 billion books are produced. To get the paper for these books requires consuming 32 million trees. We can estimate that one tree yields enough paper for 62.5 books.” Digital Publishing saves energy in book productions. As a result, money and fuel can be collected from not having to produce and ship books to other states and countries.

Is Digital Really Green?

Pro-print argues that the e-waste arising from digital publishing is harmful to the environment.E-waste holds toxic materials containing heavy metals, that can soak into the ground. Eventually, the e-waste can get into groundwater supplies affecting land and sea animals.

According to Madadi

  … while the creation of digital publications eliminates the destructive component of straining environmental resources, concerns are related to the CO2 emissions that occur during the manufacturing of technological products. Studies show that it is indeed tougher on the environment to create an iPad rather than printing a book, but the paper and water saved from reading content on tablets make up for the initial CO2 emissions. 

The estimated waste stream as of 2018 is 48.5 million tons. For instance, the more individuals buying electronic equipment, the more e-waste is growing.  E-waste has become the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. The electronic industry is continuously making new technology adds to the e-waste because the lifespan of electronics is short. Electronic devices such as computer equipment, stereos, televisions, and cellphones are apart of the contribution to e-waste.

Is Kindle worth it for Authors?

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Authors who have preferred traditional print publication in the past are now turning to digital publishing to catapult their careers. Kindle publishing is the pathway for allowing authors expansion with their audience and more control over their books. New authors and established authors are using Kindle to break through the barriers that traditional publishing places their authors.

Benefits of using Kindle Publishing

According to Benefits of Kindle Publishing for New Authors , “Through the Kindle publishing system, you can sell your eBooks on Amazon’s websites around the world, and you can earn up to 70% per sale! There are some basic requirements to achieve the 70% payouts, such as a minimum price of $2.99”. Kindle publishing is giving authors the potential of having a massive audience worldwide.

The pros & cons of Traditional Publishingexplains, “Writers can face dozens, even hundreds of rejections from both agents and publishing houses before their book makes to print”. Authors that use traditional publishing lose more than they gain. Through traditional publishing, an author is not able to easily make changes to their books because they have to go through editors and publishers. Authors lose their creativity control when it comes to their craft. Publishing houses have the final say in the book’s title, cover, and pricing. However, this leaves authors at the mercy of the publishing houses powers.

 Meanwhile, authors who use Kindle publishing have the advantage of quickly making adjustments. Creators that use Kindle have more authority and creative control over their books. Authors can make changes to their book quickly and efficiently. Kindle can also update the price of preexisting e-books in the market.

Feedback for Authors

Kindle allows authors to get direct feedback from their audience. The readers can leave comments about how they felt about the book. Many readers do not suppress their feelings on the changes they think the author should make or their writing style. The feedback from readers will show the author if they are targeting the right genre or audience. An author’s primary focus is to appeal to their audience, and if they are not, then their failing.

Kindle Authors

John Locke is the eighth independent author to sell a million on the Kindle book store. He saw Kindle publishing as a platform for authors who were not given a chance to show their work to the world. According to John Locke Becomes the First Independently Published Author to Join the “Kindle Million Club” ,

“Kindle Direct Publishing has provided an opportunity for independent authors to compete on a level playing field with the giants of the bookselling industry,” said John Locke. “Not only did KDP give me a chance, but they also helped at every turn. Quite simply, KDP is the greatest friend an author can have.”

Locke struggled to sell his books early in his career, but as he began to promote his book through twitter and other cites, consistently his sells began to pick grow. As a result, he has had multiple bestsellers as his career progresses.

Amanda Hocking’s is the  26 –years-old “Kindle Millionaire” who sold over a million electronic copies of her self-published paranormal romance book. Multiple agents and publishing companies had denied Hockings, but Kindle publishing became the way she could achieve her dreams. According to Steven Spatz’s “Amanda Hocking Made Millions By Selling 99-cent Books — And You Can, Too,

 “Hocking had written a series of novels over the preceding nine years, each of which had been rejected by countless agents and publishing houses. She decided, sitting in her apartment, to put them up for sale on Amazon. She listed the first at 99 cents.”(Writing Cooperative ). 

Through Kindle, she has been able to make a living out of her writing. She has been able to call all the shots. Hocking has created a stable career for herself without having to spend as much money as traditional writers.

 The authors who choose to use Kindle publishing have more advantages of getting more money and opportunities through their writings. Kindle publishing has become the pathway for established and new authors to have the chance of becoming a bestseller without an agent or traditional publishing company.

From Traditional publishing to Digital Publishing for Authors

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As a result of the emergence of digital publishing, today’s writers have had to find a way to expand their brands not only through printed publications, but also through the internet. As consumers have started to use iPads, e-readers, and phones for reading, primarily due to an easier access to a wider variety of works, there have been some writers who have chosen to use digital publishing in order gain more freedom, money, and readers globally.

While there are authors who prefer traditional print publication because they feel that digital takes away from the reader, others have ventured out into using e-books as a part of digital publishing in order to connect to a wider audience. According to Joanna Penn’s article “10 Reasons Why Authors Love E-books,”authors have been gravitating towards e-books due to the growth in sales – the idea being that if the sales of e-books are rising, then so are the number of readers.

Penn points out that e-book readers buy more books as well. She states that as an e-book user, she now reads three times more books than before she became an e-book reader. (For more on Penn’s article, visit her website here).

In fact, e-book prices are one of the primary factors that draws in the attention of authors and readers. When the consumers see cheaper books, they feel as though they are getting a deal based on the price of the same book in print.  

Authors such as Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler have also found interest in the pricing differences when dealing with digital publishing compared to print publication. The possibility of gaining more money was an eye opener to many authors who were only using traditional publishing.

For example, Eisler began publishing e-books to expand his audience globally, bringing him more sales on his books. In Jason Pinter’s article “Barry Eisler Explains Self-Publishing Decision,” Eisler explains his motives for going into self publishing using digital, stating that

         If I don’t earn out the legacy contract, the only money I’ll ever see from it is $142,000 per year for three years. Even if I do earn out, I’ll only see 14.9% of each digital sale thereafter.  But once I beat the contract in digital, even if it takes longer than three years, I go on                       earning 70% of each digital sale forever thereafter. And, as my friend Joe Konrath likes to  point out, forever is a long time (The Daily Beast).

Eisler saw the possibility of more money from the digital sales even if he had to lower the prices for his novels in the beginning, realizing that, with time, he would be able to gradually up the price of his works.

E-books have also drawn authors into the digital world through self-publishing, where authors are given more control than they would have with traditional publishing. For instance, Amanda Hockings made over a million dollars using digital publishing. She started off small, selling her book for only 99 cents – until she sold over a million books.

According to Steven Spatz’s “Amanda Hocking Made Millions By Selling 99-cent Books — And You Can, Too,”

         Her success is a product of hard work, great writing, and smart decision making… one of  the best things about being a self-published author is you get to call the shots. That includes establishing the most appropriate price point for your books, along with shaping  your larger strategy for obtaining readers. You’re not beholden to the logic or corporate limitations of large publishing houses (Writing Cooperative). 

Having previously been denied by publishing companies and agents, Hockings took matters into her own hands. She turned to digital publishing, which allowed her to slowly but surely build her audience as she wrote more novels.

While Hocking books were sold as e-books for 99 cents, when she began to up her prices, consumers were willing to pay more as she had built a stable and interested audience base. Digital publishing gave her a way to share her novels with readers around the world when other publishers and agents rejected her.

Unlike traditional publishing, digital publishing has allowed authors to be able to be the authority in all aspects of their books, with e-books providing the opportunity for authors to publish digitally without the need for a publisher and agents.

As digital publishing progresses, it will create a bigger platform for other writers who would not otherwise have a chance. Due to its marketability, digital publishing is also cheap for writers to use. Overall, the authors who use this method gain the advantage of getting more money and opportunities with their writings, and authors who have been accustomed to using the traditional publishing have seen the advantages that comes with digital publishing and may begin to follow suit.

Overall, digital publishing has created a pathway for many known (and unknown) authors to advance in their careers and share their works with a wider audience.