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Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, and…
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Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, and Future (edition 2002)

by Jason Epstein

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4111044,432 (3.56)7
Jason Epstein has led arguably the most creative career in book publishing during the past half-century. He founded Anchor Books and launched the quality paperback revolution, cofounded the New York Review of Books, and created of the Library of America, the prestigious publisher of American classics, and The Reader's Catalog, the precursor of online bookselling. In this short book he discusses the severe crisis facing the book business today--a crisis that affects writers and readers as well as publishers--and looks ahead to the radically transformed industry that will revolutionize the idea of the book as profoundly as the introduction of movable type did five centuries ago.… (more)
Member:LindaCSmith
Title:Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, and Future
Authors:Jason Epstein
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2002), Edition: 0, Paperback, 208 pages
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Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, and Future by Jason Epstein

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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This book, chronicling the work of a man who's been in the industry since the 1950s, is an interesting insight into the post-Golden-Age publishing business. The author's decade-old predictions of the "future" of reading are a dizzying mix of accurate and wishful. More of a memoir than anything else, it contextualizes rather than instructs, provides history rather than practical information. ( )
  NeitherNora | Sep 7, 2013 |
This was an enjoyable short memoir of the rise and fall of the modern U.S. publishing business, and provides fun anecdotes from the early days of publishing as well as Epstein's insights into new-to-me phenomena like the death of the midlist. Some of his opinions are dead wrong in hindsight - he predicted Amazon would never become profitable - but in general I would recommend it as an introduction into modern publishing history. ( )
  raschneid | Mar 31, 2013 |
Just like RicDay says, this book almost 10 years old, is due for an update. But that probably doesn't matter too much anyway, because the spirit and the thought in this book all very much accurately reflect the current mood in 2010. The actual details matter a little bit less.
As one who still reads 99.9% paper books, and rarely reads any e-book versions, usually on Project Gutenberg or Google Books, I have not decided to by an e-book reader. Maybe some time soon I will, or especially if someone gives me one for a present.
Personally, I have been able in the last 2 years to buy through AbeBooks all the books that I had been wanting for the past 10 or 20 years. So I was very fascinated to read this author describe how he had his mail order catalogue just around the time that the internet was starting. And his description of the early losses of Amazon is interesting. I also remember hearing in the press about how Amazon lost money. Is it making money now? I guess I can just find out on the Internet. I would have liked to have read from this author what he thought about the marketing of used and collector books through Amazon or AbeBooks and other similar websites. Undoubtedly one could find a history book about these and other used book websites.
I agree with what he says about how self-publishing as well as e-publishing will allow entities to scale back from the behemoths of the '70s and '80s that the author didn't like; the ones that were just owned by media companies. Just like bands marketing their own recordings, the pay rate per sale to the original creator should definitely go up.
The descriptions of the famous houses like Knopf, Random House and Doubleday was interesting for me, because I have never read about them before.
  libraryhermit | Sep 18, 2010 |
When I read this book shortly after its release, most of the predictions by Mr Epstein seemed to be some way off in the future -- if not a long way off.

Looking back over the book last December (2008), I was struck by just how accurate most of those predictions have proven to be. Print on demand technology has not yet reached the point of being available in your local bookstores, but it is getting there. The Internet is disrupting the retail book trade, which has come to be dominated by "big box" chain stores which sell books like soap powder: stock lots of the few best-sellers; turn over the rest quickly, and don't bother to hire staff who know or care much about books.

I would love to see a fresh take on this topic, looking at what may happen next, now that Sony Readers, Kindles, and smartphones are giving readers new ways to acquire and read books, and publishers are scrambling to launch digital editions (and to figure out how to avoid the mistakes the music industry made).

A very good read, even today. ( )
1 vote RicDay | Jan 25, 2009 |
This is a fast and interesting read about the publishing industry in America--where it's been, and where it's going. Full of anecdotes and interesting tidbits about publishing, this is a good read. If it sounds at all interesting, I highly recommend it. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Dec 6, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jason Epsteinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Martín Lloret, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Jason Epstein has led arguably the most creative career in book publishing during the past half-century. He founded Anchor Books and launched the quality paperback revolution, cofounded the New York Review of Books, and created of the Library of America, the prestigious publisher of American classics, and The Reader's Catalog, the precursor of online bookselling. In this short book he discusses the severe crisis facing the book business today--a crisis that affects writers and readers as well as publishers--and looks ahead to the radically transformed industry that will revolutionize the idea of the book as profoundly as the introduction of movable type did five centuries ago.

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