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John B. Thompson, Merchants of Culture. The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century

écouter Interview with John B. Thompson, For podcast release, Beyond the Book, January 24, 2011
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John B. Thompson
Merchants of Culture
The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century

Présentation de l'éditeur
The world of book publishing is going through turbulent times. For nearly five centuries the methods and practices of book publishing remained largely unchanged, but at the dawn of the 21st 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 book 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, analyzing 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. Against this backdrop Thompson analyzes the impact of the digital revolution on book publishing and examines the pressures that are reshaping the field of trade publishing today.

Table of Contents

1 The Growth of the Retail Chains
2 The Rise of Literary Agents
3 The Emergence of Publishing Corporations
4 The Polarization of the Field
5 Big Books
6 Extreme Publishing
7 Shrinking Windows
8 The Wild West
9 The Digital Revolution
10 Trouble in the Trade
Conclusion: Facing an Uncertain Future Appendix 1 Selected imprints of the main publishing corporations
Appendix 2 Note on research methods

John B. Thompson is Professor of Sociology at University of Cambridge. 

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