Topic 2: Books: Industry
Topic 2: Books: Industry MC 101-740
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This 5 page Study Guide was uploaded by Destiny Giebe on Tuesday February 16, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to MC 101-740 at Southeast Missouri State University taught by Frederick Christopher Jones in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 31 views. For similar materials see Mass Comm & Society in Journalism and Mass Communications at Southeast Missouri State University.
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Date Created: 02/16/16
The flood of books reaching the marketplace did several things. It helped improve literacy rates in America. Citizens became more educated. And book publishers cashed in. Large publishing houses like Doubleday and Random House formed during this period, leading to increased competition in the industry. One way for publishers to compete was specialization. Today we see seven major book categories, each targeting unique markets. BOOK CATEGORIES Trade Books Trade books encompass a broad range of books aimed at the general public. Don't let the name fool you, these aren't just books about plumbing and air conditioning repair. Topics like hardbound fiction, travel, self-help and hobbies all fall into this category. If you go to Barnes and Noble, it's a safe bet that the majority of the books will fall into this common category. If you want to get rich, this is the category to do it in. Trade books are the biggest money- maker in the industry. The industry has further divided trade books into two sub-categories: adult and juvenile. Something like "Big Bird Plays the Banjo" would fall into the juvenile category - but you're still welcome to read it if you want. Professional Books Most of us regular Joes will never have a need for this category. These are specialized books that target four major areas: medicine, business, law and technical/science. You won't find these books at the mall - they use too many 14-letter words, like dacryocystitis. If you've ever seen a lawyer show, you might understand why publishers like this category. Walls and walls of expensive, leather-bound law books don't come cheap. Probably all of us have read Adult trade books include a Professional books, like this Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the wide range of general - law book, are highly Hat", an example of a interest categories, like specialized and are not juvenile trade book. cookbooks. intended for the public. Textbooks And here's your favorite category. Thanks to hard-working students like yourselves, this has become a very lucrative and competitive category. Textbooks are aimed at three markets: elementary and high school e ducation (or “el-hi”); vocational education; and colleges or universities. One major difference between "el -hi" textbooks and college textbooks is that "el -hi" publishers market to school districts, while college publishers market to professors (I am so powerful). Some states, such as Texas, use the same elementary textbooks statewide - so "el-hi" publishers virtually stab each other in the back for the chance to get the 4th grade math book contract in those states. Mass Market Paperbacks If you bought a book recently, odds are it's a paperback. By far the most popular type of book, paperbacks account for two -thirds of the books sold in America. However, because of their lower profit margin, they still don't make as much money as trade books. One category of paperback, the instant book, allows publishers to cash in on recent events. When a big media event happens, like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie doing...anything, publishers will race to put out a book - often within days of the incident. Interest in these stories dies quickly, so publishers try to cash in as soon as they can. However, the content of the book will usually be superficial (like an entire chapter devoted to Angelina's favorite color). Religious Books Because of the popularity of the Bible and other spiritual works, a significant portion of national sales includes religious books. This not only covers Christianity, but Buddhism, Islam, new age and others. There is a large enough niche for some stores, like "Lifeway," to focus exclusively on this category. It's interesting to look at sales trends in this category. After World War II, sales of religious books increased dramatically - probably because people were looking for stability. In the 1960s, sales decreased because everyone was rebelling against society (except my dad - his idea of rebellion was waiting 4000 miles to change the oil in his car). What do you think happened after September 11th, 2001? That's right, in the days and weeks after the attack, Bible sales skyrocketed. Reference Books This category include dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases and other similar works. This category, more than any other, has been impacted by the digital age. When I was a child, door-to-door salesmen used to come around often, selling expensive encyclopedia sets. Today, most people are getting their reference material from Wikipedia instead. Companies like Encyclopaedia Britannica have been forced to change with the times, shifting from traditional sales to on -line services. University Press Books Last and probably least, this part of the industry publishes specialized scholarly works for small groups of readers. These small presses are affiliated w ith universities, and they almost always lose money. If some professor out there writes a book about Marxist tendencies in 1970s Yugoslavian television, they’ll probably have to go to a university press to get it published. Less than two months after the Boston In the 60s, people were too busy protesting Marathon bombing, "instant books" about and exposing their armpits to worry about the bombing appeared on the market. buying religious books. TRENDS IN BOOK PUBLISHING The last decades have seen many changes in the book industry. Superstores, like Barnes and Noble, became popular, offering consumers selection, low prices and those fancy cookies that are dipped in chocolate. But then online booksellers, like Amazon, gained momentum. These online booksellers offer convenience and huge inventories that can't be matched by a regular bookstore. This trend is one reason why Barnes and Noble will close more than 200 stores over the next several years. These new powerhouses have taken a toll on small independent booksellers. Many have gone out of business, while those that survive typically focus on a certain niche (like used books). Even this doesn't always work - remember the evil Tom Hanks ruthlessly putting sweet little Meg Ryan out of business in the movie "You've Got Mail"? New Technologies Even boring old books aren't immune from the technological revolution. Books are now released on CDs, DVDs or online. One interesting technology is the e-reader. Basically, the traditional book is replaced by a portable viewing device, which you can use to read digital books. Electronic publishing offers tremendous advantages for publishers - no costly paper, no warehouses, no books returned after failing to sell. So why haven't e-readers taken over the world? Because not everyone wants to read from a screen for hours on end (not counting this class, of course). Books are cheap, they're portable and they still work without batteries. While e-readers have some cool features, there's just nothing romantic about curling up by the fire with a portable viewing device. Samuel French, an Stephen King's 66-page The "Nook" by Barnes a nd independent, has remained Internet book "Riding the Noble is one of the more competitive by specializing Bullet" sold 400,000 copies popular e-readers on the in theater and film books. during its first 24 hours. market. BOOK CENSORSHIP One thing has remained constant since books were first published. There have always been people or groups that have tried to control or censor the content of books. Rulers have suppressed books to maintain their authority, because books give knowledge and knowledge is power. Others have censored books because they feel the book is immoral or obscene - their rationale being that they are protecting our basic social institutions. Some cases of censorship seem silly by today's standards. "Tarzan" was pulled from a California library because Tarzan and Jane lived together without being married. Other cases seem sinister - like the Nazi party burning thousands of books that went against their beliefs. And who could overlook the case of the "Captain Underpants" book series, which is consistently banned by schools for excessive use of the phrase "poopy pants." I shouldn't have said that...now my class is going to be banned too. Censorship isn't just something that happened in the past - or in other countries. Some of the most notable banned books in America over the last 100 years: "The Catcher in the Rye," "Of Mice and Men" and "Little Red Riding Hood." Some of history's most popular books have been banned at one time. Don't ever let me catch you reading a copy of "The Adventures of Captain Underpants"!
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