The Book Industry

Before the days of the printing press, books were transcribed by hand. Books are one of the first forms of mass media. From the author and publisher to the consumer, the process of writing, publishing, distribution, and purchase of books, has existed for centuries. Brand name publishing houses still exist, some of these houses have since been bought by media conglomerates.


Image courtesy of National Geographic Society

The two major types of books are trade books and textbooks. Similar to movies and television, authors will leave subliminal, or hidden messages for their readers. Some individuals only interpret messages in a way that agrees with his or her preexisting beliefs or attitudes, this concept is called selective perception. Many trade books are controversial because they promote an agenda against societal norms. Even with books, the agenda setting theory, telling people not what to think but what to think about, is not only a tool used in news forums, but with the book industry. New books are advertised and promoted. Some of these books are demassified, reaching small, fragmented, or niche audiences, this may be to certain socio-economic classes, races, cultures or religions (Oxford Reference).


Image courtesy of Banned Books Week

Many popular books are labeled as blockbusters, because they have large commercial success. has a top twenty list of blockbuster reads for every season out of the year. The most popular and most printed books are religious texts, like the Holy Bible and Quran (Vivian).

Bookshops are struggling, many, like Borders, have closed down. has completely transformed the market for buying books. Jeff Bezos created in 1994, as a book online sales and mail delivery service. With the introduction of the Kindle, ebooks have become a popular alternative to paper book copies. This increase in ebook readership has surprisingly not left print sales to as Danah Boyd would say, “die out.” Many books today, trade and textbooks, offer print and digitally accessible options. Amazon has not only changed the game for buying books but has features for authors to self-publish. According to Business Insider, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing has been a solution for authors to receive a larger royalty and more money for ebooks. Digital publishing is much more cost effective than traditional publishing, for all print mediums.


Image Courtesy of Daily Mail


Author Earnings Report

Business Insider

The Media of Mass Communications

Oxford Reference


2 thoughts on “The Book Industry

  1. I really like the history you give and the connection to course concepts! I wish you would’ve talked a little bit more about the tie to economics, and maybe used some statistical data to hone in on the loss in revenue for print books. Overall, a nice read with some great connections, especially with the medium of film and books tie to that industry.


  2. Pingback: Media and the Economy Findings | Media and the Economy

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