A theory of book publishing in five acts: the prologue

When I set up the ‘Towards a theory of publishing‘ page above, I wrote that I was doing so as a substitute for the more extended, rounded, treatment that I could see no immediate prospect of writing. I’m now going to make an attempt at such a treatment, as a result of two catalysts:

  1. reflecting on Michael Bhaskar’s theory outlined in The Content Machine, reviewed here on 12 November and 19 November last year;Content machine
  2. discovering, when scrolling through my draft posts for this blog, that some years ago, working for a couple of evenings in a cafe in Newcastle upon Tyne, I had in fact made a start on the task.

I had forgotten.

I plan to publish the theory in the form of a sequence of five weekly posts, each published on a Thursday — beginning on 14 January.

Three qualifications before the posts begin:

  1. the theory should properly be called a ‘pragmatic theory’. There are two reasons for this. First, whereas Bhaskar was concerned to develop a theory that suited all historical situations, I’m really concerned only with the present and foreseeable future;
  2. I’m more concerned than Bhaskar to derive implications for practice. Though I don’t think a theory must necessarily yield such implications — there’s nothing wrong with pure theory — temperamentally I prefer theories that can in some ways function as tools
  3. though the theory I’ll be posting does provide a more extended and rounded treatment than the ‘Towards a theory page’, it will remain far from comprehensive.

Overall, a more accurate title for the series of posts would be ‘A sketch for a pragmatic theory of book publishing’. But that sounds too cumbersome to use.

Advertisements

About Anthony Haynes

Director, Frontinus Ltd Communications Associate, FJWilson Talent Services

Please add your response

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: