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Books
Chapter 6
© 2009, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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CHAPTER OUTLINE
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History
Books in the Digital Age
Defining Features of Books
Organization of the Book Industry
Ownership in the Book Industry
Producing the Book
Economics
Feedback
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HISTORY
• Early books were hand-written and lavishly
decorated, often by monks
• Gutenberg printed his first book in about
1455.
– King Henry VIII saw the political potential and
required printers to have government
approval
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Colonial America
• Early printers were often their own writers
and publishers
• Religious and sentimental themes
dominated
• Political pamphlets became popular
around the time of the Revolution
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The Penny Press Era
• Changing print technology and increased
literacy
• Public education, penny papers, increase
in libraries
• Uncle Tom’s Cabin
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The Paperback Boom
• Civil War soldiers
• “Dime novels”
• Pirated editions of European best sellers
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The Early 20th Century
• Move toward commercialization
– Media conglomerates
– Authors represented by agents
– Increased attention to profit
– Mass audiences and mass marketing tools
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Postwar Books: Paperbacks and
Consolidation
• Low-priced (25 cents) paperback books
• Subject matter and writing quality varied
widely
• New audience exposed to paperbacks
– More leisure time
– More disposable income
– Renewed interest in education
• Consolidation brought more financial and
management resources to industry
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The Contemporary Book
Industry
• Consolidation continues
• The Internet changed how books were
sold
• More outlets are selling books
• Publishers cautiously exploring digital
developments
• Content of modern books varied
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BOOKS IN THE DIGITAL AGE
• The digital revolution has not yet
revolutionized the book industry.
• Introduction of the e-book – technical
problems and limited availability of titles
– e-books have the potential to reshape the
industry
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Printing on Demand
• Less radical than e-books
• Select the title you want, and it is printed
for you.
• Could result in more special interest books
• Printing on demand and the e-book will
probably never replace traditional books
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Mobile Books
• e-books are just as portable as traditional
books
– Can be read on a dedicated reader or other
handheld devices
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User-Generated Content
• Publishers are beginning to explore usergenerated content.
– Wiki novel
– e-books based on individual postings
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DEFINING FEATURES OF
BOOKS
• The least “mass” of the mass media
• Can have profound impact on society
– Uncle Tom’s Cabin
– Silent Spring
• Among the oldest and most enduring of
mass media
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ORGANIZATION OF THE BOOK
INDUSTRY
• The book publishing industry can be
divided into three segments
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Publishers
• Segmented based on target market
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Trade books
Religious books
Professional books
Book clubs and mail order
Mass market paperback
Elementary and secondary textbooks
Higher education
Audio books
E-books
Other
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Distributors
• Traditional method
– Publisher to wholesaler/distributor to retailer,
where consumer purchases it
• Online method
– Consumer selects book from web site, and it’s
shopped directly to the consumer from the
seller’s warehouse
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Retailers
• Big chains dominate traditional booksellers
• Major online retailers are not far behind
• Other retail channels
– College bookstores
– Direct-to-consumer booksellers
• Book clubs
• Mail-order sales
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OWNERSHIP IN THE BOOK
INDUSTRY
• The book industry is dominated by
conglomerates with interests in other
media.
• The top five companies are Pearson
Publishing, Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and TimeWarner Publishing
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PRODUCING THE BOOK
• A variety of people work together to
produce a book
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Departments and Staff
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Editorial Department
Production Department
Marketing Department
General Administration (Business)
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Publishing the Book
• Three main sources of book ideas
– Agent recommendations
– Unsolicited books (slush)
– Ideas generated by editors
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ECONOMICS
• Modest growth in recent years
• Two main sources of income
– Book sales
– Subsidiary rights
• Two main categories of expenses
– Manufacturing the book
– Operating expenses
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FEEDBACK
• Best-seller lists
– New York Times
– USA Today
– Publisher’s Weekly
• Nielsen BookScan
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Audiences
• People over 40
• Young adults showing decline in book
reading
• Book reading positively correlated with
income and age
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