Books in the Digital Age: The Transformation of Academic and Higher Education Publishing in Britain and the United States
March 2005, Polity
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 21st 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.
Part I The Publishing Business.
Publishing as an economic and cultural practice.
The social structure of publishing fields.
The publishing field since 1980.
Part II The Field of Academic Publishing.
Academic publishing under pressure.
Academic publishing in transition (1): changing organizational cultures.
Academic publishing in transition (2): list diversification and field migration.
Academic publishing at the crossroads.
Part III The Field of Higher Education Publishing.
Higher education publishing in the US (1): the formation of the field.
Higher education publishing in the US (2): the differentiation of the field.
Higher education publishing in the UK.
Globalization and localization in the UK field of higher education publishing.
Part IV The Digital Revolution.
The digital revolution and the publishing world.
Academic publishing and the digital revolution.
Higher education publishing and the digital revolution.
The hidden revolution: reinventing the life cycle of the book.
Appendix on research methods.
- This is the first major study of the book publishing industry
in Britain and the United States for more than two decades;
- Examines the evolution of academic and higher education
publishing from 1980 to the present;
- Analyses the major problems and opportunities faced by
publishing firms today;
- Provides the most thorough account to date of the impact of the
digital revolution on the book publishing industry;
- Will become a standard work on the publishing industry at the beginning of the 21st century.
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 where
every statement rings true."
"Faultless, fascinating ... a must-read."
"A first-rate piece of scholarship."
"A truly landmark study."
Journal of Scholarly Publishing
"[Those] working within academic/higher education publishing and
librarianship have much to gain from this title; it is a valuable
resource that explores how textbook publishing programmes in the UK
and US in the early stages of the new millennium have evolved from
the 1980s industry landscape. It also provides an opportunity to
learn directly from senior executives within the academic
publishing arena, who speak frankly, on the condition of
"Extremely useful to use as a potted history of a new area of
interest for me."
"Thompson has soaked himself in publishing fact and lore. [His
findings] are consistently reliable."
"The world of academic publishing owes a great debt of gratitude
to John Thompson ... this extensive and rigorous study is our best
guide 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 press
Walter Lippincott, Director of Princeton University
"Anyone wishing to know firsthand the issues that keep
publishers awake at night would do well to start here. Anyone
wishing to know where academic publishing is heading should look no
William Sisler, Director of Harvard University Press
"There is no other study of the publishing world, past or
present, as comprehensive or fully researched as this."
Professor Michael Schudson, University of California, San Diego
"A masterly study."
Paul Richardson, Oxford Brookes University