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Title: Credible texts : legitimacy and reputation of e-books and e-novels
Author: Dietz, Laura Catharine
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 6785
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines e-book cultural value in terms of legitimacy, particularly as framed by readers in terms of 'realness' and 'bookness'. Legitimacy is only one aspect of cultural value, but for e-books it is a fundamental aspect, crystallising the central question of whether e-books can be classed with books and partake of the book's cultural status and privileged cultural position, or belong in a separate, almost inevitably lesser, category. The research gathers data relevant to many types of digital texts but focusses on e-novels. The thesis uses a mixed methods study design to gather data from surveys, focus groups, interviews and three pilot experiments conducted with readers. The discussion investigates how e-book legitimacy is constituted by readers, and how these qualities relate to and interact with other e-book attributes (e.g. instant access, materiality, etc.). The dissertation concludes with discussion of the implications of these findings for readers, authors, and publishers. Findings indicate that legitimacy in the form of realness or bookness remains highly relevant for readers, but conceptions of realness and bookness are flexible and contextspecific. These data confirm that while realness and bookness are widely recognised as desirable qualities, many e-novels function as useful fakes, where realness is unnecessary or actually undesirable. Further, the moiety of unrealness is as important as the unrealness itself, with three main categories of unrealness emerging as most prominent: e-novel as ersatz book, as digital proxy, and as incomplete book. Individual readers move between conceptions, demonstrating willingness to adopt different ideas of realness (and by extension different stances regarding the nature, legitimacy and cultural value of e-novels) depending on their needs in the moment, and what they require from a given e-novel at a particular time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available