Warnings of the death of the book and the degradation of literature have been prevalent for decades, yet books survive and book publishing remains a viable and important force with the media mix. At times, it is hard to distinguish book publishing from the rest of the media enterprise, since publishing houses are both independent entities and also part of newspaper, magazine, and electronic media empires. The oldest of the mass media, books were also the first to achieve a global presence, crossing easily over national and political boundaries from earliest times and serving as a venue for debate and development of thought. As testimony to their continued viability, publishing houses have been briskly bought up in the international marketplace by global media conglomerates.
Publishing Books explores the current health and future prospects of books and the book publishing industry in the United States. It contains perspectives ranging from an insider view of publishing executives to those of agents, authors, booksellers, and readers. Dan Lacy provides an overview of the structure and economic history of book publishing. Jeremiah Kaplan predicts that books as we know them will disappear in the next century, although writers and readers will not. Gene D. Lanier contends that one worsening threat to books and publishing is the incidence of censorship.
Other topics covered in Publishing Books include the importance of book reviews, the histories of New York's greatest bookstores, why there are so few book lovers among journalists, and the decline in quality of the writings of U.S. presidents. This volume also includes a section by Beth Luey reviewing six books on publishing. Publishing Books is a pioneering study of the history, current status, and future of books and their impact. It will be vital for publishers, editors, and librarians.