Posted by included in Research Tips
Books are never far from a scholar’s hands, just as songs are never far from a singer’s lips. – Chinese Proverb
I got that quotation from a “book:” The Columbia World of Quotations from 1996, to be exact, but I didn’t go to a shelf to find it. Instead I went online and snagged it by searching Bartleby online. When you can access so much online, it may seem that the old world of books and book publishers are a thing of the distant past.
Not quite. How we get information has changed a lot in the last two decades, but many of the players in the old information world do have a role in this one. And books seem to be as popular as ever (just ask Oprah or Harry Potter). Still, it’s important to understand some of ins and outs of the publishing landscape of today.
One important aspect of information literacy is understanding how information is produced and distributed. Books, and book publishers, are major players in the information realm, and they are doing things a little differently today. If you have a basic understanding of how the industry works, you’ll have a better idea of what is produced, where to find it, and why something you want might not be around.
To help you get up to speed on the publishing world of today, check out this interesting podcast from NPR’s On The Media. You’ll learn about industry consolidation, who’s driving book sales, and the problem(?) of overabundance.
What do you think? Let us know!