Towards a theory of publishing

This page is designed particularly – though by no means exclusively – for students of Publishing Studies. I’d love to find the time to write a full-length treatment of the theory of publishing. Since that isn’t going to happen, at least in the foreseeable future, this page is offered as my nearest attempt.

The page brings together links to posts on this blog that are intended as a contribution to such a theory. I hope that, as I add to their number, these fragments begin to feel a little more joined up.

In selecting the posts listed below I have been mindful of the following criteria:

  • does the post deal with more than a merely topical subject – might it enjoy longevity?
  • does it offer an original contribution (as opposed to a review of a resource of some type)?
  • does it deal with something of central importance?
  • does it treat in some way with generalisation?

The selected posts, in chronological order, are as follows.

  1. Pricing the backlist‘: argues the case for more energetic re-pricing.
  2. The future of publishing (I): disintermediation vs unbundling‘: examines the central functions of publishing and argues that publishing is ‘ripe for unbundling’.
  3. The future of publishing (II): unbundling and convergence‘: balances the popular view that publishing is set for widespread disintermediation with the suggestion that its future might lie in unbundling plus convergence.
  4. Digital publishing and design‘: considers how an e-book might, or should, be more than a PDF of a print text.
  5. Designing workflow‘: considers in practice how to design a workflow, in the process borrowing terms and ideas from the IT industry.
  6. Is content really king?‘: challenges the cliché on the basis that it is true only in a trivial way.
  7. Green publishing‘: seeks to develop a more rounded debate than “e-books good, p-books bad”).
  8. Enhanced p-books?‘: considers the evolution of p-books in the digital age.
  9. Rethinking the monograph‘: provides a case study of the application of insights from the above posts to a specific title.

If you’d like to suggest changes to the selection – whether additions or subtractions – please do!


4 Responses to “Towards a theory of publishing”

  1. […] a jobMonographer’s bookshelfPublishing onlineReviews policyStakeholdersTowards a theory of publishing ← On the buying of books: the role of […]

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