Merchants of Culture Revealed

This post and podcast, about a book which analyzes the major disruptions at work in trade publishing, were produced by the Copyright Clearance Center’s (CCC) Chris Kenneally. They originally appeared on the CCC’s Beyond the Book site on 1/9/11, and are provided here in their entirety with the site’s permission. The CCC has also provided a link to the podcast transcript, just beneath the podcast player widget, after the jump.


“Books are not reading devices” warns John B. Thompson, a Sociology professor at the University of Cambridge and author of “Merchants of Culture” (Polity Press), the first major study of trade book publishing since the digital transformation began a generation ago. Thompson foresees a world of books AND reading devices (not books REPLACED BY reading devices) and advises calm amidst visions of apocalypse.

In its thorough examination of the book business, from manuscript acquisition to marketing and sales, “Merchants of Culture” captures an industry in search of dry land as it wrestles with the perfect storm of the digital revolution.

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