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Book Consumption in Convergence Culture: An Exploratory Audience Study of Media Repertoires of Book Consumption in the Tension between Participation and Corporate Control
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Book consumption is no longer only a solitary practice of one person sitting in an armchair with a bound volume of their favorite novel or the latest paperback bestseller. Books have become part of what Henry Jenkins has termed convergence culture. Books are no longer just books, they are also adapted into films, they are available as audiobooks and e-books, they are accompanied by websites, author blogs, and dedicated Facebook pages, they are continued by fans writing their own stories based on the original, they are discussed in online forums and communities, and they are being reviewed in Youtube videos, to just name a few. Convergence culture refers to the spread of content over different platforms and devices, the conglomeration of media companies on the production side, and the new possibilities for participation on the side of consumers.

Media and communication studies have curiously neglected book consumption in its re-examination of audience studies in the light of convergence. This study assumes that audience studies, redefined to account for cross-media use and active as well as passive aspects of consumption, are well suited to investigate contemporary book consumption.

The aim of this study is to explore media use surrounding books in the broad sense described above. It also investigates how commercial structures on the one hand and participation on the other shape book consumption. To do so, this study exemplarily analyzes the book related media use of members of an online reading community (Lovelybooks).

Methodologically this study follows a mixed-methods approach by adopting the concept of media repertoires. Media repertoires describe patterns of habitual media use, thus integrating the quantitative mapping of media use with the analysis of the meaningful principles behind it.

The results from a survey that was distributed to Lovelybooks’ members describe which media components are used, how they are combined and to what extent they are participatory. Semi-structured interviews complement the survey results by exploring which influence commercial structures and the attitudes towards them have on Lovelybooks members’ participatory media use. The interpretation is informed by critical political economy, discussing the implications of an online community being commercially owned and run, the consequences of commercial structures for participation, and the appropriation of personal data and labor by corporations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 60 p.
Keyword [en]
convergence culture, audience studies, media repertoires, book consumption, explicit participation, implicit participation, exploitation, free labor, personal information
National Category
Media and Communications
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-107235OAI: diva2:744217
2014-08-28, 16:10
Available from: 2014-09-10 Created: 2014-09-07 Last updated: 2014-09-10Bibliographically approved

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