June 6th, 2008

And What About the Books?

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.books.jpg

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!

– Erin


Pingback from Electronic Form the Norm? | Off the Shelf
Time June 11, 2008 at 9:12 am

[…] post last week brought up some interesting issues about ebooks and availability. I came across a blog […]

Comment from Sue Story
Time June 23, 2008 at 5:23 pm

I love to read and I don’t think that anything will ever replace holding a book in my hands. It isn’t just about the words and story, it is also the sensory experience. I also loved doing research in the dusty old stacks of my undergraduate university. But I have moved with the times and what I do now is mostly online. (I do print out the journal articles, though.)

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