Books and the power of print
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Books and the Power of Print. Chapter 2. “Books—the oldest mass medium—survive because they originate some of the biggest ideas and stories that resonate through other mass media.”. Our Oldest Mass Medium. Fueled major historical developments: Revolutions and rise of democracies

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Books and the power of print

Books and the Power of Print

Chapter 2


Books and the power of print

“Books—the oldest mass medium—survive because they originate some of the biggest ideas and stories that resonate through other mass media.”


Our oldest mass medium

Our Oldest Mass Medium

  • Fueled major historical developments:

    • Revolutions and rise of democracies

    • New art forms (poetry, fiction)

    • Spread of religions

  • Primary repository of knowledge

    • Stories

    • Wisdom

    • History


Early history of books

Early History of Books

  • Papyrus, circa 2400 B.C.E.

  • Parchment

    • Treated animal skin

    • Gradually replaced papyrus

  • Codex

    • First protomodern book

    • Bound materials by the Romans, 4th century


Entrepreneurial stage

Entrepreneurial Stage

  • Manuscript culture: medieval church

    • Illuminated manuscripts

    • Grammar rules developed

  • Block printing invented in China

    • Diamond Sutra oldest dated block-printed book

  • Chinese invent movable type, 1000 C.E.

    • Major improvement in speed


Books become mass medium

Books become mass medium

  • Gutenberg invents the printing press, 1453

    • Knowledge spreads

    • Traditions challenged

  • Publishing industry develops.

    • First American book, 1640

    • Paperbacks, mid-1800s

      • Led to dime novels, pulp fiction

    • Offset lithography, early 1900s

      • Reduces cost, speeds production


Publishing houses form

Publishing Houses Form

  • Early “prestigious” publishing houses

    • Developed in 1800s

    • Foundation of modern book industry

    • Oldest houses now part of larger conglomerates

    • Industry decline from 1910 through the 1940s

      • Depression

      • World wars

    • Comeback in 1950s and 1960s

      • Synergy between books and other media


The conglomerates

The Conglomerates

  • Book publishing dominated by handful of major corporations with ties to international media conglomerates:

    • Simon & Schuster

    • HarperCollins

    • Bertelsmann

      • controls one-third of U.S. trade-book market

      • trade books are 10% of total U.S. market


Worry about conglomerates

Worry about conglomerates

  • They eliminate “distinctive style” of older houses

  • They an control production costs and undersell independent publishers

  • Their huge marketing budgets allow them to out-promote independent publishers


Publishing business

Publishing Business

  • Acquisitions editor

    • Identifies talent

    • Handles subsidiary rights

  • Developmental editor

    • Handles feedback to author

    • Coordinates outside judges of the work

  • Copy editor

    • Fixes problems in writing or length

  • Design manager

    • Determines layout and cover design


Book types

Book Types

  • Trade books

    • Fiction and nonfiction

    • Other popular writing

    • Adult and juvenile divisions

  • Professional books

    • Law

    • Business

    • Medicine

    • Technical-scientific


Book types cont

Book Types (cont.)

  • Textbooks

    • Elementary-high school (el-high)

    • Vocational

    • College

  • Mass market paperbacks

  • Instant books

    • Topical books published quickly after an event occurs


Book types cont1

Book Types (cont.)

  • Religious titles

  • Reference books

    • Encyclopedias

    • Dictionaries

    • Atlases

    • Almanacs

  • University press titles

    • Scholarly works

    • Specialized areas


Electronic and digital publishing

Electronic and Digital Publishing

  • Audio books

    • Feature actors or authors reading abridged versions of popular fiction and nonfiction trade books

    • Readily available for download onto iPods since early 2000s

  • E-books

    • Accessed via Web site and computer, portable reading devices, iPods, mobile phones

    • Kindle, 2007

    • Market continues to develop

    • Borders chain hurt by missing the e-book boom


Economics of book industry

Economics of Book Industry

  • Publishers generate primary revenue from book sales via:

    • Brick-and-mortar stores

    • Online stores

    • Book clubs

    • Mail order

  • Publishers may generate additional revenue via TV or movie rights.


Books tv and film

Books, TV and Film

  • TV helps promote books

    • Books about talk-show hosts, actors, and politicians all sell millions of copies

    • Oprah’s Book Club: one of the most influential book promotion forces on TV

  • Books are source of ideas for many TV shows and films

    • Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice


Economics of book industry cont

Economics of Book Industry (cont.)

  • Publishers spend money on the following:

    • Production costs (overhead, development, paper, printing, binding, author advances)

    • Distribution (inventory, order fulfillment)

    • Marketing (advertisements, book dumps, author tours, and so on)


Role of books in a democratic society

Role of Books in a Democratic Society

  • Spreading notion of democracy itself

  • Inspiring people to drive change

    • Uncle Tom’s Cabin

    • Silent Spring

    • The Omnivore’s Dilemma

  • Enabling sharing of ideas, opinions


Censorship and banned books

Censorship and Banned Books

  • Censorship and book banning in U.S.

  • Books challenged in schools and libraries

    • People attempt removal over:

      • sexually explicit passages

      • occult themes

      • violence

      • homosexual themes

      • racism


Other challenges books

Other Challenges Books

  • Social component of reading is declining

    • Independent bookstores closing

    • Libraries face budget cuts

  • Physical deterioration

    • Books printed on acid-based paper deteriorating

    • Effort made to preserve books digitally


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