BIAGI Chapter 2 Books: Rearranging the Page
Every year, US produces 40 000 books (incl new editions)
Time Frame 1620 – Today
1620: Imported books arrive in colonies on the Mayflower
1640: America’s first book: The May Psalm Book
1730s: Benjamin Franklin creates first lending library
1900: elementary education becomes compulsive (inc booksales)
1939: birth of pocket-books
1980s: birth of audio-books
2000: birth of e-books
Publishers Nurture Ideas and Try to Make Money
4 characteristics of book publishing in America today:
1. Industry sells products in markets that are fickle and often uncertain (changing)
2. Industry is decentralized (resembling little of others)
3. Mixture of modern mass media production methods and craft-like procedures characterizes operations
4. Industries are cautiously balanced btw requirements and restraints of commerce and responsibilities and
obligations that it must bear as a prime guardian of symbolic culture of the nation.
How American Book Publishing Grew
Imported books in 1620, published America’s first in 1640
1680s: 17 booksellers in Boston, but still more imported
First library by Benjamin Franklin 1731 (Philadelphia)
Early publishers published:
Political Pamphlets: Thomas Paine’s Common Sense: arguing US independence from Great Britain
Novels: political pamphlets decreased with new nation development while fictions inc
o Problems with novels: polluting imaginations; and most were from women
Poetry: least popular, but most popular in mid 1800s
Humor: since Mark Twain; sold door-to-door
3 events ensured book prosperity:
International Copyright Law (1891): all (foreign/American) were paid, inc-ing # of American authors
Creation of publishing houses: began late 18 century (1960s)
Compulsory Education (1900): expanded public support for education and libraries
Cheaper Books Create a Mass Market
Dropping price explodes sales:
Broke the traditional door-to-door sales, reaching these people.
Book-of-the-Month Club sold ~12 million copies a year
Born 1939, inexpensive thus widely spread
Democratized reading in America
Grove Press tested censorship towards US court, with sexual books and controversial books. Initially charged, but
Investors Buy Up Publishing Companies
In 1960s, publishing companies began to consolidate (stable/solid)
Publishing stocks, esp educational ones became glamour holdings.
Book people were weak on business, while business people were week on book knowledge. Book Publishing at Work
Successful publishing companies must consistently anticipate both their competitors and the market
Authors and Agents: Where Books Begin
Publishers acquire books from authors’ manuscripts, or from agents.
Publishers pay authors: royalty, based on an established % of the book’s price (royalties are btw 6-15%)
Some authors receive: advance, receiving $ before the book is published
When authors receive an advance, they must wait until enough copies are sold to pay off those advances,
then once enough are sold, they can begin to receive additional money.
Agents who represent authors get paid 10-15% of author’s royalty.
How Do Books Get Published?
Publishing house: acquisitions, production, design, manufacturing, marketing, fulfillment of all process
Acquisition Editor: seeks potential authors; they represent the company at book auctions and negotiate
sales of subsidiary rights: right to market a book for other uses (ex) to make a movie or to print a
character from the book on T-shirts
Production Editor: manages all steps that turn a double-spaced manuscript into a book; sets and keeps
Designer: what the book looks like inside and out; creates conce