Merchants of Culture

Front Cover
Polity, Sep 14, 2010 - Social Science - 432 pages
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These are turbulent times in the world of book publishing. For nearly five centuries the methods and practices of book publishing remained largely unchanged, but at the dawn of the twenty-first century the industry finds itself faced with perhaps the greatest challenges since Gutenberg. A combination of economic pressures and technological change is forcing publishers to alter their practices and think hard about the future of the books in the digital age.

In this book - the first major study of trade publishing for more than 30 years - Thompson situates the current challenges facing the industry in an historical context, analysing the transformation of trade publishing in the United States and Britain since the 1960s. He gives a detailed account of how the world of trade publishing really works, dissecting the roles of publishers, agents and booksellers and showing how their practices are shaped by a field that has a distinctive structure and dynamic.

This new paperback edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to take account of the most recent developments, including the dramatic increase in ebook sales and its implications for the publishing industry and its future.
 

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User Review  - jphamilton - LibraryThing

Here's a fine book for anyone—veteran of the book world or newcomer—who wants to learn a great deal about how this industry works, fails, and is presently a world a-changing. There is a enormous ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
THE GROWTH OF THE RETAIL CHAINS
26
THE RISE OF LITERARY AGENTS
58
THE EMERGENCE OF PUBLISHING CORPORATIONS
100
THE POLARIZATION OF THE FIELD
146
BIG BOOKS
187
EXTREME PUBLISHING
223
SHRINKING WINDOWS
238
THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION
312
TROUBLE IN THE TRADE
369
FACING AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE
395
SELECTED IMPRINTS OF THE MAIN PUBLISHING CORPORATIONS
401
NOTE ON RESEARCH METHODS
406
BIBLIOGRAPHY
416
INDEX
421
Copyright

THE WILD WEST
291

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About the author (2010)

John B. Thompson is Professor of Sociology at Jesus College, University of Cambridge.

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