Books in the Digital Age: The Transformation of Academic and Higher Education Publishing in Britain and the United States / Edition 1

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The book publishing industry is going through a period of profound and turbulent change brought about in part by the digital revolution. What is the role of the book in an age preoccupied with computers and the internet? How has the book publishing industry been transformed by the economic and technological upheavals of recent years, and how is it likely to change in the future?

This is the first major study of the book publishing industry in Britain and the United States for more than two decades. Thompson focuses on academic and higher education publishing and analyses the evolution of these sectors from 1980 to the present. He shows that each sector is characterized by its own distinctive 'logic' or dynamic of change, and that by reconstructing this logic we can understand the problems, challenges and opportunities faced by publishing firms today. He also shows that the digital revolution has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on the book publishing business, although the real impact of this revolution has little to do with the ebook scenarios imagined by many commentators.

Books in the Digital Age will become a standard work on the publishing industry at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It will be of great interest to students taking courses in the sociology of culture, media and cultural studies, and publishing. It will also be of great value to professionals in the publishing industry, educators and policy makers, and to anyone interested in books and their future.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As compelling as it is thorough ... a fascinating study of thecontemporary academic publishing world in the UK and US."
Times Higher Education Supplement

"Likely to become the standard work in the field."
British Journal of Educational Studies

"This is undoubtedly the best book I have read about publishing... It is the only book about publishing I have ever read whereevery statement rings true."
Learned Publishing

"Faultless, fascinating ... a must-read."

"A first-rate piece of scholarship."
Academic Matters

"A truly landmark study."
Journal of Scholarly Publishing

"[Those] working within academic/higher education publishing andlibrarianship have much to gain from this title; it is a valuableresource that explores how textbook publishing programmes in the UKand US in the early stages of the new millennium have evolved fromthe 1980s industry landscape. It also provides an opportunity tolearn directly from senior executives within the academicpublishing arena, who speak frankly, on the condition ofanonymity."

"Extremely useful to use as a potted history of a new area ofinterest for me."

"Thompson has soaked himself in publishing fact and lore. [Hisfindings] are consistently reliable."

"The world of academic publishing owes a great debt of gratitudeto John Thompson ... this extensive and rigorous study is our bestguide to the key issues of the day."
Drake McFeely, Chairman and President of W. W. Norton &Company

"A lucid, absorbing and accurate account of the university pressworld."

Walter Lippincott, Director of Princeton UniversityPress

"Anyone wishing to know firsthand the issues that keeppublishers awake at night would do well to start here. Anyonewishing to know where academic publishing is heading should look nofurther."
William Sisler, Director of Harvard UniversityPress

"There is no other study of the publishing world, past orpresent, as comprehensive or fully researched as this."
Professor Michael Schudson, University of California, SanDiego

"A masterly study."
Paul Richardson, Oxford Brookes University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745634777
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/1/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John Thompson is Professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

1 Publishing as an economic and cultural practice 15
2 The social structure of publishing fields 30
3 The publishing field since 1980 47
4 Academic publishing under pressure 81
5 Academic publishing in transition (1) : changing organizational cultures 111
6 Academic publishing in transition (2) : list diversification and field migration 140
7 Academic publishing at the crossroads 167
8 Higher education publishing in the US (1) : the formation of the field 195
9 Higher education publishing in the US (2) : the differentiation of the field 231
10 Higher education publishing in the UK 260
11 Globalization and localization in the UK field of higher education publishing 286
12 The digital revolution and the publishing world 309
13 Academic publishing and the digital revolution 330
14 Higher education publishing and the digital revolution 377
15 The hidden revolution : reinventing the life cycle of the book 405
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