The Book Publishing Industry

The Book Publishing Industry

The Book Publishing Industry

The Book Publishing Industry


This volume provides an innovative and detailed overview of the book publishing industry, including details about the business processes in editorial, marketing and production. The work explores the complex issues that occur everyday in the publishing industry and covers the changing technologies and business practices. In this second edition, author Albert N. Greco thoroughly updates his original text, providing statistical datasets though 2002 and in many cases offering projections through 2007.With consumer books (adult, juvenile, and mass market paperbacks) at the central focus of the book, the author also reviews all major book categories to present a comprehensive overview of this diverse business. In addition to the insights and portrayals of the publishing industry, this edition includes a new appendix containing rarely seen historical data on the industry from 1946 to the end of the 20th century. The selective bibliography includes the latest literature, including works in marketing and economics that has a direct relationship with this dynamic industry.This volume offers invaluable insights for graduate and undergraduate courses exploring the book publishing industry, and it is a unique and vital resource for anyone studying or interested in the industry.


What is the structure of the book publishing industry in the United States? What do publishers and editors do in the publishing value chain? Are net publishers' revenues and profit margins unimpressive? Are consumers reading fewer books, triggering declines in net publishers' unit sales? Will Internet book-selling sites undermine, and ultimately drive out of business, traditional chain and independent bookstores? Can authors make a living writing books? Will print-on-demand books replace traditionally printed books? Will print-on-demand kiosks replace bookstores and other retail establishments as the primary source of books? In essence, is the econometric state of publishing as bleak as some individuals have speculated?

Clearly, there are concerns about the well-being of this pivotal industry. Anyone familiar with book publishing knows all too well that the economics of publishing are harsh and unforgiving, prompting some analysts to insist that publishing is in disarray because of: (1) consolidation, steep returns, stark sales figures, and a fickle and price-sensitive consumer base; (2) the impact of chains, superstores, and price clubs (and the concomitant decline of independent book stores); (3) a population more interested in watching television than reading books; (4) paper-thin profits; (5) staggering technological challenges; and (6) some author advances that dumbfounded even seasoned industry veterans.

Publishing is unquestionably at a crossroads, on the cusp of great opportunities. This industry has vitality and spirit, the ability to find and develop new talent. Of course publishing houses open and close, as do bookstores, and old, well-mined literary niches become a bit frayed over the years. Yet this industry has the ability, an almost mystical one, to reinvent itself, to shrug off disasters, and to remain a formidable influence helping people, from young children to immigrants, learn about their past, understand their present, and ponder their future.

Book publishing will survive in its current, print-oriented format for at least 20 years and, ultimately, in an electronic format, for centuries to come. This industry's great traditions, and its unyielding, and at times undisciplined, quest for perfection, enables it to handle effectively depressions, recessions, technological convergence, war, and social upheavals. After all, books matter and endure in the short run, and more likely in the long run, far more than insubstantial . . .

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