Johns Hopkins University Press

During the 25th annual Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) conference in 2017, held at the University of Victoria, Canada, Stevie Marsden and Rachel Noorda moderated a workshop on the topic of "The Twenty-First Century Book." Six scholars (Beth Driscoll, Per Henningsgaard, Simone Murray, DeNel Rehberg-Sedo, Simon Rowberry and Claire Squires), whose research is predominantly positioned within the twenty-first century, were invited to discuss the challenges and opportunities for studying the twenty-first century book. The 2017 SHARP conference, "Technologies of the Book", seemed the perfect setting to hold this workshop. Not only did the conference theme complement many of the twenty-first century book subjects discussed during the workshop, but as it was SHARP's 25th annual conference, it was imbued with reflection on the society's past twenty-five years and the community of scholars it has developed. The following year, in 2018, there was another panel focused on twenty-first century book research, entitled "Constructing the Purpose of Research about Twenty-First-Century Publishing."1 Indeed, SHARP membership data indicates that many of its members are interested in twenty-first century research and scholarship: thirty-four percent of SHARP members who indicated a historical period in their membership data listed the twenty-first century as a period of interest, either as an exclusive historical period of study or alongside other periods, particularly the twentieth century. Thus twenty-first century book research is a significant area of SHARP research and a period of study that interests a growing group of SHARP members. However, the discussion of twenty-first century book research held during the workshop indicated that there was a need for a fuller examination of the state of the discipline of the twenty-first century book. Accordingly, this article will explore and examine current trends, themes and critical discourse [End Page 370] related to the twenty-first century book in order to explicate the current state of twenty-first century book studies.

However, before considering the status of twenty-first century book studies and its place in the book history field and timeline, definitions are needed for three terms: publishing studies, book history, and twenty-first century book studies. We have singled out these terms for explicit definition for two reasons. Firstly, they are commonly used, or referred to, in much of the academic literature we will be discussing but their definitions can at times be contested. Therefore, it is important for us to clarify how we are using them throughout this article. Secondly, as these terms are commonly used together, and sometimes analogously, definitions are important in delineating their relationships with each other.

Publishing studies has been used to describe academic research of the contemporary book industry (primarily post-1960s conglomeration);2 descriptive industry reports that largely fail to incorporate theoretical frameworks and historical context;3 or as a catch-all term for the study of forms, mediation, content, markets, and the connection between past and present in the life of books.4 Even scholars who use the term publishing studies have described it as an "ill-defined premise"5 that is unclear and underdeveloped, "far from neutral" and which carries "untoward implications."6 The term publishing studies is particularly prevalent in the United Kingdom and Australia,7 which makes publishing studies a foreign (or at least little-known) concept and discipline in almost all other parts of the world. For example, Noël has argued that '[i]n France, like in most countries, there is no such thing as a unified sub-field addressing book publishing or "publishing studies."'8 Because of the geographically limiting and "indeterminate"9 nature of publishing studies, its usefulness and purpose as a term is highly restricted. Therefore, despite the prevalent use of the term in seminal works such as Simone Murray's mapping of the work of twenty-first century book studies (which will be discussed in more detail presently), the problematic and variable nature of the term prompts this article to relinquish publishing studies in search of more descriptive and precise vocabulary.

The second key term we want to elucidate for this article is book history. In at least some of the definitions and understandings of the term publishing studies, there is a relationship with the field of book history. Darnton called book history "the social and cultural history of communication by print" and, in terms of timeline, asserted that book history "concerns books since the time of Gutenberg."10 Developing this, Henningsgaard describes book history studies as: [End Page 371]

[A]ll those aspects of the book that have historically been seen as incidental to the main purpose of the book, which is to transmit ideas, but in fact crucially inform this process. Furthermore, the "book" portion of "book history" has been broadly interpreted to include "the entire history of written communication," rather than merely those objects we (presently) commonly identify as comprising this category of "the book".11

In other words, book history is an exploration of the role of the book and its processes. Indeed, this very journal defines book history as "the history of the creation, dissemination, and reception of script and print,"12 which covers a wide range of topics, even more so with the technological and cultural developments of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries which have seen radical changes to the production, dissemination and transmission of ideas.

However, the "history" portion of "book history" has, at times, dominated understandings of this term, making the development of contemporary research of the book appear anomalous to the field. By its very nature, history, and our conception of it, is inherently related to incidents and happenings of the past, but there is a debate, particularly in studies of the book, as to how long ago these past events need to have occurred before they warrant examination and study. If we are to accept Darnton's claim that book history pertains to study of the book "since the time of Gutenberg," we must also accept that this includes recent history up to, and including, the present day. Twenty-first century book studies correspond with a growing gravitation in historical research toward recent history. This approach has been variously defined but is typically considered to be "histories of events that have taken place no more than forty years ago."13 Many methods used by twenty-first century book historians are aligned with recent history methods, including oral testimony and new media sources, such as social media platforms. When discussing the validity of Twitter as a recent history source, for example, Gary Osmond notes: "For those of us who can imagine the value and potential of any account of any past, however temporally measured, tweeted observations, musing and comments are a valid research source."14 For this reason Twitter and other social media have been described as "a first draft of the present" since these platforms offer data that presents "history-as-it-happens."15 The utilization of such recent history methods is central to twenty-first century book studies.16

This article argues, therefore, that far from being an outlier, twenty-first century book research has much in common with other centuries of study within book history, particularly if we consider the critical and methodological [End Page 372] framework of recent history. Scholars of the twenty-first century book have readily built upon book history models, including Darnton's communications circuit as evidenced by Claire Squires' and Padmini Ray Murray's "Digital Communications Circuit" of 2013.17 Additionally, as Chartier argued, our understanding of texts, processes and reading historically can inform research of texts, processes, and reading contemporarily: "understanding and mastering the electronic revolution of tomorrow (or today) very much depends on properly situating it within history over the longue durée."18 Similarly, Eva Mroczek argues that twenty-first century book research can inform understanding of past forms and processes.19 Such a longitudinal approach to understanding the twenty-first century book is advantageous because knowing where the book has been can illuminate and reposition where the book presently is, and the twenty-first century book requires us to re-examine the very nature and definition of the book in light of its digital forms.

To encapsulate the study of recent book history within book history more broadly, this article presents, and favors, the term twenty-first century book studies. Moreover, since many of the events that have most clearly impacted the development of the book in the twenty-first century occurred in the late twentieth century, this article suggests that calling this area the "long twenty-first century" is most appropriate since, although twenty-first century book studies focus primarily on the production and consumption of texts since 2000, this year 2000 line is a blurry one that bleeds into the late twentieth century. For example, the largest online book retailer,, began operating in 1995.20 With significant implications for and disruption of previous book production and consumption processes, Amazon has had a near-constant presence in discussions of publishing and book culture ever since. Additionally, Amazon's dominance in online bookselling has only been possible because of the creation of the World Wide Web in the late 1980s; beyond Amazon, the internet has changed the book publishing environment in manifold ways, including the opportunity for authors and publishers to connect with communities of readers online.21 The 1990s also saw the fall of the Net Book Agreement in the United Kingdom, a policy that had governed bookselling for nearly a century.22 Furthermore, the twenty-first century book exists in the post-conglomeration period that began in the 1960s and drastically changed the book industry by further polarizing company size, resources, and market share, with the multinational media conglomerates at one end of the spectrum and small independents at the other.23 Finally, the long twenty-first century encompasses the reimaging [End Page 373] and redefining of the book in light of its digital manifestations, particularly with the introduction of the ebook in the 1970s and its growth with dedicated e-readers in the mid to late 2000s.24 It should also be noted that the twenty-first and late-twentieth centuries share many characteristics and events, making it nearly impossible to disentangle the two. Thus, the "long twenty-first century" serves as a term to encompass the study of the book in its contemporary manifestations and environments.

Since we are positing that long twenty-first century book studies should be considered a period of book history, this article assesses the current state of the long twenty-first century book and how this particular area of book history has developed since the turn of the millennium. The purpose of this article is three-fold. Firstly, it is written in response to, and to update and complement, Simone Murray's 2006 article, "Publishing Studies: Critically Mapping Research in Search of a Discipline", which surveyed the beginnings of academic discourses considering twenty-first century book publishing and its role as an academic discipline within universities. In her article, Murray argues for a more concerted differentiation of publishing studies as a discipline and, while acknowledging its obvious synergies with book history, identifies five research categories, or "nodal points" (these are "industry research and vocational information; […] memoirs, autobiographies, biographies and house histories; the history of the book; communication, media, cultural studies and sociology; and nationalist and post-colonial studies"), under which most contemporary twenty-first century book studies research would fall.25 Secondly, this article assesses the academic literature that has emerged since Murray's article was published and considers how contemporary long- twenty-first century book studies scholarship has developed over the past ten years, particularly with regard to the twenty-first century book. Since Murray's article comments on studies of the book in the late-twentieth century and first seven years of the twenty-first century, this article will consider how the field has developed over the past decade, positioning more recent scholarship in relation to that highlighted by Murray whilst also looking forward to what the future of the discipline may be. Finally, this article posits new themes, or nodes, by which developments in academic research of the twenty-first century book can be traced and proposes new ways by which this particular area of book history may be addressed. Indeed, this article should be considered a contribution to the ongoing conversation on how we position studies of the book and publishing in the past, present and future. [End Page 374]

The Origins of (Long) Twenty-First Century Book Studies

As previously noted, while this article argues that the study of the twenty-first century book begins with the turn of the century in 2000, the beginnings of this area of research can be found in the late-twentieth century, specifically post-1960s. As several scholars have identified, vocational book courses and programs began to emerge in the mid-twentieth century and flourished in the 1970s and 1980s in the UK and United States.26 In addition, higher education publishing programs also emerged in Canada,27 Australia,28 Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya,29 South Africa,30 and China31 during the late twentieth century. These vocational programs sought to impress on students an essential set of practical skills which would enable them to pursue a career within the publishing industry, seeking to replace the historically "accidental" introduction into the industry with "sound academic preparation."32 The emergence of these programs in part gave eventual rise to the academic area of twenty-first century book studies; thus, the fact that twenty-first century book research arose from the musings of industry professionals and descriptive, rather than critical, reports of the dynamics of the industry,33 has meant that this area of research (and of book history) has taken longer to gain recognition as critical scholarship. However, as this article demonstrates, over the past twenty years examinations of the twenty-first century book, and the cultural, economic, social and political contexts in which it exists, have grown. This demonstrates that not only is this a particularly fruitful area of academic research, but that the two decades of research that exist have firmly established long twenty-first century studies of the book within the wider context of book history.

Mapping the Discipline so Far

As previously noted, part of the purpose of this article is to assess the critical literature related to the twenty-first century book that has emerged since Murray's 2006 article "Publishing Studies: Critically Mapping Research in Search of a Discipline," which identified key nodes by which long twenty-first century book studies scholarship could be categorized. For the purposes of this study, we are interested in reassessing the five nodes established by Murray, identifying the literature that has appeared since the publication of her article, and expanding the nodes to include areas of research which we believe are key to long twenty-first century studies of the book. [End Page 375]

However, before moving to a literature review of twenty-first century book research since 2006, it is worth briefly discussing the prominent peer-reviewed journals which explicitly publish long twenty-first century book research: Publishing Research Quarterly, Logos, Book 2.0, and The International Journal of the Book. Publishing Research Quarterly is an American journal founded in 1985 while the British journals Logos and Book 2.0 were founded in 1990 and 2011 respectively. The International Journal of the Book (founded in 2002) aims for an international focus and was founded by Australian Common Ground Publishing. In his 2007 analysis of these journals, Miha Kovač identified key research areas evident in Publishing Research Quarterly and Logos within the time period of articles published between 2003 and 2006.34 Kovač found that Publishing Research Quarterly articles were mainly focused on national book industries, American book publishing controversies, and technological and organizational changes that were influencing the landscape of bookselling in the USA.35 In Logos, Kovač noted that articles were focused on what leading people in the publishing industry had learned from their experience, literature reviews and book lists around various aspects of publishing, and the future of the book in the digital environment.36 In addition to these four journals, there are others that are more trade-focused (and less academic) and those with a scope that remains related to, but expands beyond, the twenty-first century book. Learned Publishing and the recently launched UCL-based postgraduate journal Interscript fall into the first category, while media studies journal Convergence and book history journals Book History and Memoires du Livre belong to the second.

Now that the publishing avenues through which long twenty-first century book research streams have been briefly introduced, how might this research be categorized? Some scholars have attempted to offer over-arching long twenty-first century book overviews and theories, either by creating their own models or adapting existing models for long twenty-first century book research. As mentioned, Squires' and Ray Murray's "Digital Communications Circuit"37 revises Darnton's Communication Circuit38 for twentieth and twenty-first century book publishing practices. In this new model, new players are added (literary agents, pre-press companies, wholesalers and distributors), the changing definitions of existing players noted (such as the shift from "bookseller" to "retailer"), and the growing importance of particular players highlighted (freelancers and outsource agencies, for example). Other scholars have adapted sociology models, particularly concepts proposed by Pierre Bourdieu, for the twenty-first century book. A key [End Page 376] example is John Thompson's Merchants of Culture in which Thompson's overview of the twenty-first century book industry in the UK and US is based on Bourdieu's concepts of 'fields' and five different categories of value or capital. Possibly the most robust attempt to offer a new model and over-arching theory for the study of the twenty-first century book is Michael Bhaskar's The Content Machine which proposed conceptualizing the twenty-first century book as consisting of content that is framed according to a model and then filtered and amplified.39 These models and overviews offer interesting perspectives on the twenty-first century book and there is a need for more critical discourse in search of over-arching twenty-first century book models and theories that can unify this complex landscape.

Murray's 2006 article is perhaps one of the most oft-cited critical accounts of long twenty-first century book research. Murray proposed five key areas of research for the twenty-first century book: "industry research and vocational information; personalized accounts such as memoirs, autobiographies, biographies and house histories; history of the book; communication, media, cultural studies and sociology; and nationalist and post-colonial studies."40 The first two nodes, industry research and vocational information and personalized accounts, Murray describes as being more anecdotal and descriptive, less critical, and typically written by members of the industry rather than academics. As this article focuses on more critically-engaged twenty-first century book research, industry research and vocational information and personalized accounts are not useful research nodes for discussing twenty-first century book studies. While these two nodes exist within the publishing industry landscape, they do not offer the rigor necessary to the constitution of academic research. This does not mean that twenty-first century book research cannot be tied to the contemporary business environment—indeed, it often is—but that a grounding in a theoretical basis and rigorous methodology is what differentiates twenty-first century book studies from these two nodes.

Additionally, Murray lists book history as a node of twenty-first century book research, rather than twenty-first century book research being an integral piece of the book history timeline. This article disagrees with Murray, arguing that instead of book history being an area of twenty-first century book studies, twenty-first century book studies is a particular period of book history. Established book history examples of research regarding the long twenty-first century include McCleery, Finkelstein and Renton's An Honest Trade41 and Iain Stevenson's Bookmakers42 which give histories of bookselling and publishing in the UK in the twentieth century. Likewise, Jason [End Page 377] Ensor's Angus & Robertson and the British Trade in Australian Books, 1930–197043 and Beth le Roux's A Social History of the University Presses in Apartheid South Africa: Between Complicity and Resistance44 focus on the twentieth century in Australia and South Africa respectively.

Beyond book publications, there are several articles that address the twenty-first century book. David S. Miall's article on empirical studies of literary readers discusses the literary reading habits and reactions of twenty-first century university students.45 Trysh Travis's article on women in the print movement gives an account of late twentieth and early twenty-first century "bookwomen"46 and Susan Pickford's article on book prizes utilizes a corpus of book prize novels from 1969 to 2009 in order to compare how two different literary prizes traveled across national and linguistic borders.47 Finally, Alan Galey's article "The Enkindling Reciter" uses a case study of the 2010 Canadian novel The Sentimentalists to illustrate how bibliography and textual scholarship are well-equipped to address the material nature of e-books.48

Communication, media, cultural studies and sociology is another key research node proposed by Murray. This was an area for twenty-first century book research that Murray called "a lost opportunity" because of the typical exclusion of books from these disciplines, despite it being the oldest form of media. As Marsden has noted, such exclusion can go as far as complete disregard of existing scholarship on the contemporary publishing industry.49 In "Positioning Publishing Studies in the Cultural Economy" Marsden recalls how the 2011 edited volume A Handbook of Cultural Economies (which surveys the various economies of media forms such as radio, television, and film) asserted that there was a dismal dearth of research about the twenty-first century book publishing industry:

The knowledge about publishing is very scattered and comes almost entirely from outside the academic world […] The material relating to publishing is enormous, including official reports from various countries, memoirs, biographies and a large amount of anecdotal evidence, but solid knowledge based on research published in academic journals is scarce.50

Hjorth-Andersen's claim, however, is inaccurate because there are scholars conducting rigorous twenty-first century book studies research, but this claim does suggest that the "lost opportunity" of twenty-first century book research being situated within communication, media, and cultural studies is no more developed than when Murray was writing in 2006. One notable [End Page 378] exception in the last decade has been Ted Striphas's The Late Age of Print. Striphas's book offers a history of books as social artifacts from a mass communications lens, emphasizing the integral role of books in making the "modern, connected consumer." In essence, Striphas analyses the book as an artifact "through which social actors articulate and struggle over specific interests, values, practices, and worldviews."51 Additionally, Simone Murray's The Adaptation Industry: The Cultural Economy of Contemporary Literary Adaptation52 positions book publishing within other media industries and Millicent Weber's Literary Festivals and Contemporary Book Culture53 uses media and communications concepts and theory related to consumers and the mass audience to better examine the literary festival audience/readership.

Nationalist and post-colonial studies is Murray's final research node. She notes that books are "key tools in decolonizing nations' struggles to achieve literary, educational and professional standards requisite for competitive, post-industrial economies."54 Recent contributions to this particular area of book history and publishing research include Sarah Brouillette's Postcolonial Writers and the Global Literary Marketplace which adds to the discussion of postcolonial studies and book history by scrutinizing the way that authors position themselves as postcolonial, in part as a marketing tool.55 Robert Fraser's Book History Through Postcolonial Eyes: Rewriting the Script takes a more book historical approach to postcolonial literature, aiming to even the imbalance of book history's focus on Western histories of the book. Finally, in The Postcolonial Cultural Industry: Icons, Markets, Mythologies Sandra Ponzanesi notes how "the postcolonial agenda, as a field of resistance, rewriting and contestation of dominant and hegemonic forms of cultural appropriation and imposition, is still present."56 Ponzanesi considers postcolonial culture through a number of perspectives, including advertising and film adaptation, but spends much of the book analyzing postcolonial literature, particularly in relation to literary prizes, canon formation and the visibility of postcolonial authors in contemporary literary and publishing culture. Indeed, diversity and representation in literature, and the publishing industry more widely, are key areas currently being interrogated in twenty-first century book scholarship. Notable contributions to debates surrounding representations of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) writers and publishers include Claire Chambers' article "Multi-Culti Nancy Mitfords and Halal Novelists: The Politics of Marketing Muslim Writers in the UK,"57 Corinne Fowler's piece "Publishing Manchester's black and Asian writers" from Postcolonial Manchester: Diaspora Space [End Page 379] and the Devolution of Literary Culture,58 Melanie Ramdarshan-Bold's "The Eight Percent Problem: Authors of Colour in the British Young Adult Market (2006–2016)"59 and Squires' essay "Publishing's Diversity Deficit".60

In addition to a post-colonial perspective, several twenty-first century book studies scholars also interrogate the role of the nation in book industries and processes by focusing research on the cultural and economic forces at play for national and regional literature and publishing industries. For example, Scottish national identity and the Scottish publishing industry in the long twenty-first century have been investigated by Alastair McCleery and Melanie Ramdarshan-Bold,61 who discuss the transnational threats to linguistic and cultural diversity in the Scottish publishing industry; Claire Squires and Miha Kovač,62 who compare and contrast the Scottish and Slovenian book industries; Daniel Boswell,63 who compares the book industries in Catalan and Scotland; Rachel Noorda,64 who investigates reading as a way for members of the Scottish diaspora to reinvent and reinterpret national symbols and myths; and Stevie Marsden,65 who examines national identity and literature as intertwined in the history of a Scottish book award. Per Henningsgaard discusses regional literature in Western Australia66 and the contributors to Publishing Means Business: Australian Perspectives also offer insight into the publishing environment in Australia.67 Finally, scholars contributing to Hype: Bestsellers and Literary Culture68 discuss the particulars of the Swedish publishing industry. Other studies, like Gillian Roberts' Prizing Literature: The Celebration and Circulation of National Culture69 and Edward Mack's Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Publishing, Prizes and the Ascription of Literary Value,70 consider the propagation of ideals of national literatures and the literary values attributed to them via prize culture and canonization, in Canada and Japan respectively. More recently still, Marie Orton has written about national identity in Italian writing, with a particular consideration of migrant writers and how they "interrogate the intertwined and mutually reinforcing assumptions that have traditionally shaped the idea of national literature."71 This is not a comprehensive list of nationally-focused twenty-first century book studies research as this is a common way in which to investigate the book environment; however, we highlight a few key studies to illustrate.

However, despite this plethora of nationally-focused recent histories of the book, much like book history as a whole, transnational and global historical concerns are coming to the fore in twenty-first century book studies. Sydney Shep has argued for a new type of book history that moves beyond a nationally-bound history of the book.72 On the one hand, "the attempt to [End Page 380] annex books to territories is—and always has been—an aspect of a wider programme of affiliation, identification and flag-waving";73 on the other hand, books continue to become increasingly international in readership, impact, and history, particularly as we turn to recent history that includes the decades following the rise of the internet.

It is worth noting that in addition to Murray's five nodes of research of the book in the long twenty-first century, Weber and Mannion in their chapter "Discipline and Publish" in Publishing Means Business assess the areas of research of the book in the long twenty-first century and offer their own nodes for describing this research.74 The nodes they discuss are field mapping; sociological, technological, commercially and practically aware; politically and ethically aware; and interdisciplinary affordances. Murray's article is a good example of field mapping; indeed, Weber and Mannion assert that twenty-first century book research is exploratory in nature, and these authors cite Darnton's communications circuit as a first exploratory attempt to investigate what publishing is. Boswell's "What We Write When We Write About Publishing"75 and Marsden's "Positioning Publishing Studies within the Cultural Economy"76 are other examples of this mapping of the twenty-first century book history field. Weber and Mannion also argue that much twenty-first century book research is sociological in that "it is attuned to the ways in which print culture, and the creation, dissemination and reception of books, are socially constructed."77 This aligns with Murray's node of communication, media, cultural studies and sociology. Additionally, Weber and Mannion identify "technological" as a node of twenty-first century book history, which "understands digital media as an object of study, and also uses new technology as a tool to help explore the ways in which publishing operates". This article addresses this "technological" node in the next section.

In surveying the field in the ten years since Murray's article was published, we propose three new nodes of long twenty-first century book studies research: digital (con)texts, the economics of the book trade, and the cultural industry and economy.

The Digital (Con)Text

Digital texts, digital contexts, digital methods, and digital data can be found in most twenty-first century book research, making it impossible to address this area of study without discussing "the digital." In 2015, Murray noted [End Page 381] how, despite the fact that the relationship between digital technologies and literary culture has been analyzed and critiqued since the early 1990s, critical engagement with this relationship often failed to fully understand the complexities of the impact digital technologies and literary culture had on each other.78 According to Murray, much of the earliest discourse was repetitive, focusing on the supposed "death of the book" at the hand of technological advances and, by 2015, there remained a "weary sense that, as a discipline, we have been around this block before."79 Bringing the existing information and data considering the digital and literary together, Murray proposes the term "the digital literary sphere" which "encompasses the broad array of book-themed websites and other digital content whose focus is contemporary literature and its production."80 The inclusion of the word "literary" in this label is potentially problematic, since it has different connotations relating to other disciplines and methodological approaches and can also imply conceptions or judgments of value.81 Accordingly, while Murray's term is a useful one that should remain part of the rhetoric of digital technologies and literary culture in the long twenty-first century, we favor a simplified and pared down terminology.

This node has purposefully been called "digital (con)texts" to differentiate it as an area of study focused on digital content, forms, and contexts as opposed to the use of digital methodologies. While twenty-first century book scholars commonly use digital methodologies—such as data scraping or mining, online surveys and computational analysis—these methodologies are not unique to research in the long twenty-first century. Many book historians (twenty-first century or otherwise) utilize digital tools and digital data in their research, an example being the Reader Experience Database, an online open access database which collects historic data related to reader experiences between 1450–1945.82 While entirely digital in its configuration, this database is not dealing with texts which are digital in their original form. Likewise, Matthew L. Jockers' Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History explores how "massive digital-text collections" are "changing how literary studies gets done".83 While Jockers' focus in Macro-analysis is the use of digital methodologies in textual analyses of literature, and particularly historic materials, his survey of digital methods in the humanities is related to parallel developments within book history.

We propose that long twenty-first century research is in a unique position to use digital texts and contexts, such as websites, ebooks, apps, social media, and audiobooks, to name but a few, in its analysis of contemporary book and publishing culture. But identifying "digital (con)texts" as an individual node for long twenty-first century book research is not to suggest that [End Page 382] the digital does not intermingle with the other nodes discussed in this article. In other words, other areas of long twenty-first century book research put forth by Murray and by the authors of this article are rarely, if ever, entirely "digital-free."

It is assumed that in the long twenty-first century almost every traditionally published book will also, and often simultaneously, have a digitally published counterpart (commonly an ebook, but in some circumstances apps, games and online-only content have been released in conjunction with publications) and sometimes a publisher or self-published author will decide to forego the print book altogether and publish digitally only. Yet, in the aftermath of the predicted demise of the print book, there has been a swing back to defending the traditional codex against the digital, often leading to an overemphasis on the virtues of the print book and a minimizing of the history and value of digital forms. Miha Kovač's Never Mind the Web: Here Comes the Book and Naomi Baron's Words Onscreen (2015) both present research and arguments that position print and digital as rivals rather than necessarily interconnected. While book historians would agree that the printed codex is alive and well, research and arguments that juxtapose print and digital in this way risk misrepresenting digital (con)texts. This is similar to the outcries about the "death of the book" (meaning the death of the print codex) which have been reductive and uninformed at best. Sarah Werner and Matt Kirschenbaum, in their thorough overview of the state of the discipline of digital scholarship, acknowledge that in many ways, a book history perspective is the best method for bringing "much-needed nuance to tired, reductive binaries around the paragone between print and digital."84 In an effort to intentionally distance this discussion from the print vs. digital dichotomy, it is useful to bring to the fore the theme of materiality that has emerged in long twenty-first century book literature in the area of digital (con)texts.

The materiality of digital texts might at first seem paradoxical. However, Kirschenbaum and Werner note that the decade-long "material" turn in studies of the digital mirrors a similar turn to materiality in book history more widely. Matt Kirschenbaum's Mechanisms argues that electronic writing must be understood as a "real", or material, form of writing, thus emphasizing the materiality of both the process and the product of electronic writing. His use of concepts and theory from forensic science offer a new way to think about electronic writing as a series of material events that never go away.85 In Mechanisms Kirschenbaum demonstrates that focusing on the materiality of digital texts can fruitfully move the discussion beyond a print vs digital dichotomy. Kirschenbaum and Werner also argue [End Page 383] that understandings of the materiality of the digital benefit from a specific branch of media studies known as "platform studies" which is, according to Kirschenbaum and Werner, "like the history of the book" in that it is,

[C]haracterized by close […] attention to detail out of the fundamental conviction that such material particulars are ineluctably part of the history of communicative objects […] and our human interaction with them.86

This interdisciplinary approach is also favored by Simon Rowberry in his analysis of ebook design over time.87 Other areas in the study of digital texts include the history of digital texts88 and media archaeology;89 however, these areas of digital scholarship are less focused on the long twenty-first century and therefore less relevant to our discussion of twenty-first century book studies scholarship.

One of the differentiating features of book history (particularly in contrast to literary/textual studies) is its focus not on the text itself, but the context in which those texts are produced and consumed. This is equally apparent in the study of digital texts in the long twenty-first century, where digital composition and reception are integral to the current body of research. For example, Kirschenbaum's Track Changes maps the relationship between authorship and computer processing in its social, cultural, and economic contexts.90 Other scholars have studied the contexts of electronic literature, such as Kathi Berens's research on the reception of work by hypertext pioneer Judy Malloy.91 Thus, the materiality, composition, and reception of digital (con)texts is central to a discussion of the "digital" when it comes to the long twenty-first century.

In summation, this article's definition of digital (con)texts envelops the digital content and context, including the materiality of the digital, with an understanding that a majority of this research is focused on the long twenty-first century. Murray has noted that what is currently missing from academic interrogations of twenty-first century book culture are "digital literary studies that [are] both contemporary and contextual,"92 but this research is emerging and will continue to grow in the coming years.93 Digital (con)texts have not only inspired new avenues of research, but they also facilitate research that is decidedly twenty-first century whilst remaining part of the wider history of the book. As Werner and Kirschenbaum argue, "If book history is the study of how platforms shape and deliver texts, then today's platforms of pixels and plastic are as much a part of those studies as paper and papyrus."94 [End Page 384]

Economics of the Book Trade

One of Murray's nodes, "industry research and vocational information", is described as the "earliest genre of publishing commentary."95 This is where late twentieth and twenty-first century research had its beginnings: in musings on the dynamics of the book trade from successful leaders in the industry that eventually led to career guides and introductory textbooks for publishing courses.96 In the last decade, this type of research has continued in texts like Kelvin Smith's The Publishing Business,97 Adrian Bullock's Book Production98 and the latest editions of Giles and Clark's Inside Book Publishing,99 Alison Baverstock's How to Market Books,100 Lynette Owen's Selling Rights,101 and others. Rightly so, Murray criticizes this type of research because of its "reliance on descriptive rather than critical modes of analysis."102 However, not all business-related twenty-first century book research would fall into this descriptive "industry research and vocational information" category.

Research on the economics of the book trade addresses several sub-areas: consumer behavior of readers,103 marketing,104 branding,105 and management models,106 to name some of the most prominent. Typically the approach to the economics of the book trade is qualitative or mixed method rather than relying on the quantitative methods that dominate business research more generally, which is unsurprising considering that the publishing industry itself is an intersection between business, literature and culture. Additionally, many long twenty-first century book researchers, even those researching within the economics of the book trade, are often positioned within departments in the humanities and come from humanities backgrounds, and their methodological approaches often reflect this background and positioning. The dominance of a qualitative humanities-centric background and approach from long twenty-first century book scholars illustrates a gap and need for increased collaboration with researchers from the sciences. While there are hurdles in working with quantitative data, such as that offered by BookScan, (although this data provider captures and presents book sales data, it does not offer a complete picture of sales and is expensive to access), a richer understanding of the economics of the twenty-first century book trade necessitates more variety in terms of methods and interdisciplinary collaboration.

However, there are researchers who come from the social sciences, in this case from business schools, and conduct research on the more humanities-focused (or at least humanities-sympathetic) twenty-first century book. [End Page 385] Stephen Brown, who is a marketing and consumer behaviour researcher positioned in a business and management research institute, is one such researcher. Brown is the editor of Consuming Books: The Marketing and Consumption of Literature, which is a compilation of research that, rather than addressing the particulars of marketing, focuses on a broader consumer research/consumer behavior macro-analysis of the book trade, focusing primarily on the long twenty-first century. The volume explores trends in consumption behavior, such as meet-the-author culture, readers as consumer-producers, and the sociality of reading as evidenced in book clubs. While the sociality of reading has been explored by other scholars (most notably by Danielle Fuller and DeNel Rehberg-Sedo107 and Beth Driscoll108), Consuming Books's consumer behavior perspective not only engages with the relevant scholarship of business schools but also offers long twenty-first century book studies valuable theoretical insights, such as the concept of "subcultures of consumption,"109 a useful framework for considering the sociality of reading. Pamela Schultz Nybacka's PhD thesis "Bookonomy"110 weaves a connection between Chartier's sociology of literature and the consumer culture perspective of "consumer tribes" and similar concepts from consumer behavior theory. Indeed, this integration of concepts and theory from business sub-disciplines (such as consumer behavior and marketing) is one of the great strengths and contributions of this area of long twenty-first century book history research as a whole.

In the sub-area of marketing, Claire Squires' Marketing Literature similarly offers a critical, business-oriented perspective to late twentieth and early twenty-first century book history. Squires investigates the representation and interpretation of texts in the marketplace through case studies of a series of high-profile books and interviews with members of the publishing industry in Britain. Through this investigation Squires studies the complex, manifold ways in which the appeal for a book is constructed. Likewise, Matthews and Moody's edited volume Judging a Book by Its Cover ad-dresses the positioning of books in the marketplace. Royle and Laing apply branding theory to the book industry in the long twenty-first century in their analysis of branding efforts for UK bookshops. Marianne Martens's Publishers, Readers, and Digital Engagement explores the consumer behavior of online reading communities on RandomBuzzers,, and The Amanda Project. Simon Frost addresses how the business model and management of British book retailer John Smith's in the long twenty-first century involves the power dynamics between various "actors" in the communications circuit in a reading that is "commercially mediated" and [End Page 386] based on a "conception of gains".111 Business management scholar Susanne Bartscher-Finzer uses quantitative statistical analysis of survey data to assess the effect of motivations of book publishers on their entrepreneurial orientations.112 Additionally, well-known cultural economist David Throsby has examined book publishing from an economics perspective, in his research concerning the balance between culture and commerce in the Australian book industry.113 Finally, Ann Steiner analyzes the marketing and consumption of bestsellers in Europe and North America from 2004–2013.114

It is worth noting that because the economics of the book trade are so interconnected with more literary and cultural aspects of the industry, many long twenty-first century book scholars incorporate elements of the economics of the book trade into their research, even if this area is not the exclusive or primary focus of the research. One recent example is in Jeremy Rosen's Minor Characters Have Their Day: Genre and the Contemporary Literary Marketplace.115 Although his research is focused principally on genre study and mapping the history of minor-character elaboration as a genre, Rosen also analyzes the marketing of texts within this genre in order to study the commercial economy in which the genre operates.

The Cultural Industry and Economy

This node considers, and reframes, twenty-first century book study in relation to the cultural economy and related industries. The authors of this article posit that publishing and related facets of book culture (such as festivals, prizes, multi-media adaptations) should be considered as key elements of the cultural industry and economy.116 In The Cultural Industries, David Hesmondhalgh writes that the 'cultural industries are concerned, fundamentally, with the management and selling of a particular kind of work'.117 Hesmondhalgh continues, explaining how:

[T]he cultural industries have usually been thought of as those institutions that are most directly involved in the production of social meaning. Nearly all definitions of the cultural industries would include television […] radio, the cinema, newspaper, magazine and book publishing, the music recording and publishing industries, advertising and the performing arts.118 [End Page 387]

Such definitions are useful to consider in relation to twenty-first century book research because they encourage multilateral examinations of the book and how it functions in contemporary culture in relation to other cultural products.

In recent years there has been a surge in critical discourse surrounding the cultural value and economies of publishing and literature and such works have become central to the development of twenty-first century book studies. James F. English's The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards and the Circulation of Cultural Value119 has become a leading text in the development of understandings of some of the key agents working within contemporary book marketing. Through an exploration of the development of cultural prizes over time, and how Pierre Bourdieu's forms of capital are negotiated and "intraconverted" through the various processes of prize giving, in The Economy of Prestige, English proffers insights and approaches to looking at how these particular agents function within the book market and the wider implications these have on the literary economy. Similar works concerned with contemporary publishing and literary culture, and how agents within the publishing industry function as tastemakers and curators of cultural value, include Jim Collins' Bring on the Books for Everybody: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture120, Edward Mack's Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Publishing, Prizes and the Ascription of Literary Value121, Beth Driscoll's The New Literary Middlebrow: Tastemakers and Reading in the Twenty-First Century122, Millicent Weber's Literary Festivals and Contemporary Book Culture123 and Archer and Jockers' The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel124. While elements of these works are specific in subject matter, and could potentially be viewed as sub-disciplines of twenty-first century book research, they nonetheless contribute to broadening the field of the discipline through their analyses of contemporary literary culture, economy and marketplace.

Other works, such as Fuller and Rehberg-Sedo's Reading Beyond the Book: The Social Practices of Contemporary Literary Culture125 explore such themes in terms of socialities and behaviours of reading. But the key difference in Fuller and Rehberg-Sedo's work, as well as that of Murray's The Adaptation Industry126, is that in these texts the publishing industry is not only considered in relation to cultural values, but also in relation to the wider cultural economy and related industries. Both Fuller and RehbergSedo, and Murray consider the production, marketing and reading of books in relation to other media such as radio, television and film. This is an important development within long twenty-first century studies of the book [End Page 388] because it not only allows for comparative analyses of the production and circulation of different types of media and text, but it also opens the door for considering the contemporary publishing industry in terms of academic discourses and critical frameworks used by scholars studying different cultural industries.

Sarah Brouillette eloquently testifies to the long-running connections between publishing and literature, and the cultural economy more widely, in Literature and the Creative Economy. Brouillette notes how one of the key foci of the book is 'how literature has reflexively exemplified, internalized, and critiqued vocabularies and phenomena that are integral to our unfolding creative-economy era'.127 Contextualizing her analysis within the UK New Labour government's political cultural policies of the late 1990s and early 2000s, which purported to make culture "central to negotiating the symbioses between economic and social goals,"128 Brouillette considers the role and status of the writer as creative worker, both in literature (through analyses of Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger, Monica Ali's In The Kitchen, Daljit Nagra's Look We Have Coming to Dover! and Gautum Malkani's Londonstani, and in real life (through analyses of cultural policies and the actions of cultural policymakers). Brouillette's work is significant in relation to thinking about the future of long twenty-first century studies of the book because it broadens the scope of how we think about the politicization of the book in contemporary society.

Indeed, when considering future directions for twenty-first century book studies in 2006, Murray argued that this area "must engage with mainstream humanities debates by entering into critical dialogue with contemporary cultural theory,"129 but warned that "unless researchers of contemporary book publishing consciously work to dismantle [inherited] disciplinary divides, important theoretical innovations in one field will fail productively to inform the other."130 Over the past ten years there have been developments in cultural studies scholarship which may prove invaluable to studies of contemporary book publishing and its role within the cultural economy. Specifically, in the last decade there has been an upsurge in critical discourses surrounding the dynamics and politics of creative labor. These include Mark Banks' The Politics of Cultural Work131, which takes a sociological approach to examining theories of cultural work and the position of the cultural worker today; and David Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Baker's Creative Labour132, which uses empirical data collected from the study of three cultural industries—television, music recording and magazine publishing—to examine understandings of creative work. Likewise, Theorizing Cultural [End Page 389] Work133 edited by Banks, Gill and Taylor, includes essays considering creative work and identity, copyright, representation and participation. We highlight this particular area of cultural studies because it so clearly aligns with some of the research foci of long twenty-first century book studies, particularly in terms of the disciplines' vocational background and interest in industry experience. Furthermore, this cultural studies framework of considering the nuances of creative or cultural work and workers presents long twenty-first century book scholars with a framework within which to consider the socio-political contexts of book production (from writer, to agent, to editor) today.

The Future of Long Twenty-First Century Book Research

These three research areas within long twenty-first century book studies—digital (con)texts, economics of the book, and the cultural industry and economy—are branches where we anticipate research of the long twenty-first century book will continue to grow in the coming years. Moving beyond the digital vs print dichotomy will enable long twenty-first century book historians to examine more fully the processes, forms, and content of digital (con)texts, particularly if this examination can inform, and be informed by, a longitudinal perspective of the book and its history. Scholarship continues to emerge at the intersections between economics, literature and culture, but there is a need for even more coalescing between economics and long twenty-first century book history, particularly given that the book publishing industry is subject to economic conditions and concerned with economic value. Additionally, positioning the twenty-first century book within the creative and cultural economy can create fruitful cross-pollination between twenty-first century book history and research regarding other media industries, while also engaging with industry.

As a period of book history research, long twenty-first century book studies benefits from the interdisciplinary nature of book history, although this article calls for a deeper interdisciplinarity rather than the haphazard interdisciplinarity that book history research runs the risk of employing. Unlike the nebulous term "publishing studies", long twenty-first century book studies is not, and need not be, uncritical or lacking in theoretical base. One of the great advantages of book history research is that studying the book intersects with the theoretical frameworks from many other disciplines, [End Page 390] including media/cultural studies, sociology, and economics. Methods aligned with other recent history approaches, such as oral testimony and new media-related methods, afford researchers of the twenty-first century book the ability to study the history of the book as it is unfolding.

The purpose of this article has been three-fold: to respond to and update Simone Murray's 2006 article in light of the research in this area that has been published in the proceeding decade, to map the development of twenty-first century book research over the last ten years by providing a literature review, and to offer additional research "nodes" to complement and expand the nodes provided by Murray. While this overview of the current state of the discipline of twenty-first century book studies aims to consider the subject in the widest possible terms, and collate the relevant existing literature, it is not, and we believe cannot ever truly be, an exhaustive list. Rather the aim of this article is to pinpoint key research that has shaped this area of book history thus far, and to contribute to the ongoing conversation of the status and discipline of the twenty-first century book. It is likely other scholars working within this field identify further nodes which contribute to our understanding of this contemporary research, and we invite complementary contributions to this conversation.

Rachel Noorda

Rachel Noorda is a Senior Instructor in the graduate program in Book Publishing at Portland State University. She earned her PhD in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland, where she studied the international marketing of Scottish books to the Scottish diaspora. While working toward her PhD, she co-founded an educational children's publishing house, ThunderStone Books. Rachel has taught courses at the University of Stirling, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and the College of Southern Nevada.

Stevie Marsden

Stevie L. Marsden is a Research Associate at the CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies, University of Leicester. She has a PhD in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland, focusing on "The Saltire Society Literary Awards, A Cultural History: 1936–2015", and worked at the Saltire Society while conducting her research. She has taught at the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication. Her research interests include the literary economy and contemporary publishing culture.


1. Per Henningsgaard, Claire Squires, Beth Driscoll, Padmini Ray Murray, Corinna Norrick-Ruhl, Rachel Noorda, "Twenty-First-Century Publishing: Constructing the Purpose of Research About Twenty-First Century Publishing", 11 Jul. 2018, conference panel at the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing Conference, Western Sydney University.

2. Simone Murray, "Publishing Studies: Critically Mapping Research in Search of a Discipline," Publishing Research Quarterly, 22, no. 4 (2006): 3–25.

3. Sophie Noel, "Publishing Studies: The Search for an Elusive Academic Object" Libellarium, VIII, 1 (2015): 139–145.

4. Michael Bhaskar, The Content Machine: Towards a theory of publishing from the printing press to the digital network, (London: Anthem Press, 2013), 4.

5. Daniel Boswell, "What We Write About When We Write About Publishing," Inter-script, March 13, 2017.

6. Noël, "Publishing studies," 140.

7. As evidenced by PhD programs and research in publishing studies in the UK (University of Stirling, Edinburgh Napier University, Oxford Brookes University, University College London, King's College London, Kingston University, Anglia Ruskin, University of the Arts London, and University of Plymouth). In the US, for example, there are no designated PhD programs in publishing studies. Additionally, the principal works defining and utilizing the term publishing studies (including Murray, "Publishing Studies," 2006) often come from researchers in these two countries.

8. Noël, "Publishing Studies," 140.

9. Millicent Weber and Aaron Mannion, "Discipline and Publish: Disciplinary Boundaries in Publishing Studies," in Publishing Means Business: Australian Perspectives (Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2017).

10. Robert Darnton, "What Is the History of Books?," Daedalus, 1982, 65.

11. Per Henningsgaard, "Emerging from the Rubble of Postcolonial Studies: Book History and Australian Literary Studies," Ilha Do Desterro 69, no. 2 (2016), 121.

12. "Overview," Book History, accessed May 21, 2018,

13. Renee C. Romano and Claire Bond Potter, "Just over Our Shoulder: The Pleasures and Perils of Writing the Recent Past," in Doing Recent History : On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History That Talks Back, ed. Renee C. Romano and Claire Bond Potter (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2012), 3.

14. Gary Osmond, "Tweet out? Twitter, Archived Data, and the Social Memory of out LGBT Athletes," Journal of Sport History 44, no. 2 (2017), 326.

15. Axel Bruns and Katrin Weller, "Twitter as a First Draft of the Present: And the Challenges of Preserving It for the Future," in Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Web Science (8th ACM Conference on Web Science, Hannover, Germany, 2016), 183.

16. For the use of oral testimonies, see: John B. Thompson, Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century (John Wiley & Sons, 2013); Miha Kovač and Claire Squires, "Scotland and Slovenia," Logos 25, no. 4 (2014): 7–19,–4712–11112054; Rachel Noorda, "The Power of the Small Press: Entrepreneurial Publishing and Disruption of the Industry," TXT, no. 1 (2016): 87–93. For the use of new media sources see: Lisa Nakamura, "'Words with Friends': Socially Networked Reading on Goodreads," PMLA 128, no. 1 (2013): 238–243,; Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, "The Return of the Social Author Negotiating Authority and Influence on Wattpad," Convergence 24, no. 2 (2016): 117–36,; Miriam J. Johnson, "The Rise of the Citizen Author: Writing Within Social Media," Publishing Research Quarterly 33, no. 2 (2017): 131–46; Nick Canty and Jamie Criswell, "Deconstructing Social Media: An Analysis of Twitter and Face-book Use in the Publishing Industry," Publishing Research Quarterly 30, no. 4 (2014): 352–76,–014–9376–1.

17. Padmini Ray Murray and Claire Squires, "The digital publishing communications circuit," Book 2.0 3, no. 1 (2013): 3–23.

18. Roger Chartier, Forms and meanings: Texts, performances, and audiences from codex to computer (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995), 20.

19. Eva Mroczek, "Thinking Digitally About the Dead Sea Scrolls: Book History Before and Beyond the Book," Book History 14, no. 1 (2011): 241–269.

20. Thompson, Merchants of culture, 41.

21. Marianne Martens, Publishers, Readers, and Digital Engagement (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

22. Alistair McCleery, David Finkelstein and Jennie Renton, An Honest Trade: Booksellers and Bookselling in Scotland (Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers Ltd, 2009), 53.

23. Stephen Brown, ed., Consuming Books: The Marketing and Consumption of Literature (Oxford: Routledge, 2006).

24. Simon Rowberry, "Ebookness", Convergence 23, no. 3 (2017): 289–305.

25. Murray, "Publishing Studies."

26. John Tebbel, "Education for Publishing," Library Trends, Fall 1984, 223–33; Alexander J. Burke, Jr., "College of the Book: Teaching Publishing Studies to Undergraduates," Logos 17, no. 2 (2006); Miha Kovač, "The Issue of Publishing Education," Logos, 19, no. 3 (2008); Fytton Rowland, "Degree Courses in Publishing at British Universities," Serials 13, no. 3 (2003): 167–73,

27. John Maxwell has written about the creation, purpose and vision of the program at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, established in the 1990s, see: John W. Maxwell, "Publishing Education in the 21st Century and the Role of the University," Journal of Electronic Publishing 17, no. 2 (2014).

28. In Publishing Means Business: Australian Perspectives, Millie Weber and Aaron Mannion assert that the first graduate diploma in publishing in Australia was offered by RMIT in 1988. Weber & Mannion, "Discipline and Publish".

29. In a paper presented at the By the Book Conference in May 2015, Lucy A. Ry-Kottoh (instructor on the publishing program at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with a PhD in publishing studies from the University of Stirling) noted the development of the KNUT publishing program in the 1980s, followed by programs in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Lucy Ry-Kottoh, "Publishing Studies as an Academic Discipline or Professional Programme: An African Perspective" (By the Book Conference, Florence, Italy, 2015).

30. The publishing program at the University of Pretoria was established in 1997. "History," University of Pretoria, 2017,

31. Nanjing University has a Department of Publishing Science and Zhejiang Gongshang University has a Department of Editing and Publishing. Scholars from these universities presented at the International Symposium on Chinese Digital Publishing and Reading: Evolving Models and Emergent Cultural Practices on 9 July 2018 at Western Sydney Unviersity.

32. Burke, "College of the Book".

33. Murray, "Publishing Studies," 3.

34. Miha Kovač, "Reading the Texts on Book Publishing: a new body of knowledge about an old body of knowledge," Publishing Research Quarterly, 23, no. 4 (2007): 241–253.

35. Kovač, "Reading the Texts," 248.

36. Kovač, "Reading the Texts," 249.

37. Squires and Ray Murray, "The Digital Publishing Communications Circuit."

38. Darnton, "What is the History of Books?"

39. For more on the selection and curation concepts introduced in the "filtering" portion of the model in The Content Machine, see Michael Bhaskar's Curation: The Power of Selection in a World of Excess (London: Piatkus, 2016).

40. Murray, "Publishing Studies," 4.

41. Alistair McCleery, David Finkelstein and Jennie Renton, An Honest Trade: Bookseller and Bookselling in Scotland (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2008).

42. Iain Stevenson, Bookmakers: British Publishing in the Twentieth Century (London: British Library, 2010).

43. Jason Ensor, Angus & Robertson and the British Trade in Australian Books, 1930–1970: The Getting of Bookselling Wisdom (London: Anthem Press, 2013)

44. Beth le Roux, A Social History of the University Presses in Apartheid South Africa: Between Complicity and Resistance (Boston: Brill, 2015)

45. David S. Miall, "Empirical approaches to studying literary readers: The state of the discipline," Book History 9, no. 1 (2006): 291–311.

46. Trysh Travis, "The women in print movement: History and implications," Book History 11, no. 1 (2008): 275–300.

47. Susan Pickford, "The Booker Prize and the Prix-Goncourt: a case study of award-winning novels in translation," Book History 14, no. 1 (2011): 221–240.

48. Alan Galey, "The Enkindling Reciter: E-books in the bibliographical imagination," Book History 15, no. 1 (2012): 210–247.

49. Stevie Marsden, "Positioning Publishing Studies in the Cultural Economy." Inter-script, June 13, 2017,

50. Christian Hjorth-Andersen, "Publishing" in A Handbook of Cultural Economics, ed. Ruth Towse (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2011), 399.

51. Ted Striphas, The Late Age of Print: Everyday book culture from consumerism to control (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 3.

52. Simone Murray, The Adaptation Industry: The Cultural Economy of Contemporary Literary Adaptation, (Routledge, 2012).

53. Millicent Weber, Literary Festivals and Contemporary Book Culture, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

54. Murray, "Publishing Studies," 14.

55. Sarah Brouillette, Postcolonial Writers and the Global Literary Marketplace (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

56. Sandra Ponzanesi, The Postcolonial Cultural Industry: Icons, Markets, Mythologies (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 1.

57. Claire Chambers, "Multi-Culti Nancy Mitfords and Halal Novelists: The Politics of Marketing", Textus 23, no. 2 (2010): 389–403.

58. Corinne Fowler, "Publishing Manchester's black and Asian writers," in Postcolonial Manchester: diaspora space and the devolution of literary culture, ed. Robert H Crawshaw, Corinne Fowler and Lynne Pearce (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), 79–110.

59. Melanie Ramdarshan-Bold, "The Eight Percent Problem: Authors of Colour in the British Young Adult Market (2006–2016)", Publishing Research Quarterly 34, no. 3 (2018): 385–406.

60. Claire Squires, "Publishing's Diversity Deficit", CAMEo Cuts No.2 (Leicester: CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies, University of Leicester, 2017).

61. Alistair McCleery and Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, "What Is My Country?: Supporting Small Nation Publishing," Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies 6, no. 1 (2012): 115–31.

62. Kovač and Squires, "Scotland and Slovenia."

63. Boswell, "What We Write About."

64. Noorda, "The Power of the Small Press."

65. Stevie Marsden, "The Saltire Society Literary Awards, 1936–2015: A Cultural History," (PhD thesis, University of Stirling, 2016).

66. Per Henningsgaard, "Outside Traditional Book Publishing Centres: The Production of a Regional Literature in Western Australia" (PhD Thesis, University of Western Australia, 2008).

67. Millicent Weber, Aaron Mannion, and Katherine Day, eds., Publishing Means Business: Australian Perspectives (Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2017).

68. Jon Helgason, Sara Kärrholm, and Ann Steiner, eds. Hype: Bestsellers and Literary Culture (Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2014).

69. Gillian Roberts, Prizing Literature: The Celebration and Circulation of National Culture (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011).

70. Edward Mack, Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Publishing, Prizes and the Ascription of Literary Value (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010).

71. Marie Orton, "Writing the Nation: Migration Literature and National Identity", Italian Culture 3:1 (2012): 21.

72. Sydney Shep, "Books Without Borders: The Transnational Turn in Book History," in Books Without Borders, ed. Robert Fraser and Mary Hammond, vol. 1 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

73. Robert Fraser and Mary Hammond, "Introduction," Books without Borders, 1–12.

74. Weber and Mannion, "Discipline and Publish".

75. Boswell, "What We Write About When We Write About Publishing".

76. Marsden, "Positioning".

77. Weber and Mannion, "Discipline and Publish," 188.

78. Simone Murray, "Charting the Digital Literary Sphere", Contemporary Literature 56, no. 2 (2015): 312.

79. Murray, "Charting the Digital Literary Sphere," 312.

80. Murray, "Charting the Digital Literary Sphere," 313.

81. Claire Squires, Marketing Literature: The Making of Contemporary Writing in Britain, (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 4.

82. "The Reading Experience Database (RED), 1450–1945)", The Open University, accessed August 7, 2017,

83. Matthew L. Jockers, Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013), 7.

84. Matthew Kirschenbaum and Sarah Werner, "Digital scholarship and digital studies: the state of the discipline," Book History 17, no. 1 (2014), 440.

85. Matthew Kirschenbaum, Mechanisms: New media and the forensic imagination (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008).

86. Kirschenbaum and Werner, "Digital scholarship," 434.

87. Rowberry, "Ebookness."

88. For example, Matt Rubery explores the 150-year-old history of audiobooks, beginning in 1877 with Edison's reciting on a phonograph. Matt Rubery, The Untold History of the Talking Book (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016).

89. Exemplified by Lisa Gitelman's Paper Knowledge, which gives a history of the vernacular genre of documents that extends from the 19th century to the present day. Lisa Gitelman, Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014).

90. Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016).

91. Kathi Berens, "Judy Malloy's seat at the (database) table: a feminist reception history of early hypertext literature," Literary and Linguistic Computing 29, issue 3 (2014): 340–348.

92. Murray, "Charting the Digital Literary Sphere," 319.

93. At the 2017 SHARP conference there were a number of research papers which used multi-method approaches to the contemporary and contextual analyses of digital texts, for example, Laura Blair, "Reading and Reviewing in the Digital Era: Examining Readers and Reader Response Using"; Maxine Branagh-Miscampbell and Stevie Marsden, ""The Commodification of the Ideal Young Female Reader in the 21st Century: Zoella Book Club, A Case Study", Beth Driscoll and Claire Squires, "Serious Fun: Gaming the Book Festival," and Simon Rowberry, ""Modelling the Book: Amazon's Patents and the Book as Technology". Other examples include Melanie Ramdarshan-Bold's "The Return of the Social Author," 2016; Miriam Johnson's "The Rise of the Citizen Author," 2017; and Millicent Weber, "Conceptualizing Audience Experience at the Literary Festival", Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 29 no.1 (2015): 84–96.

94. Kirschenbaum and Werner, "Digital Scholarship," 451.

95. Murray, "Publishing Studies", 5.

96. See Stanley Unwin, The Truth About Publishing (London: Allen & Unwin, 1926); John Baker, The Book Business (London: John Baker, 1971); Elizabeth A. Geiser, Arnold Dolin and Gladys S. Topkis, eds, The Business of Book Publishing: Papers by Practitioners (London: Boulder, 1985); Peter Owen, ed., Publishing: The Future (London: Peter Owen, 1988); John P. Dessauer, Book Publishing: The Basic Introduction, 3rd edition (New York: Continuum, 1989); Peter Owen, ed, Publishing Now (London: Peter Owen, 1993); Gordon Graham, As I Was Saying: Essays on the International Book Business (London: H. Zell, 1994); Alison Aprhys, Careers in Publishing and Bookselling: How to Get the Job You Want (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1997); Murray, "Publishing Studies," 5.

97. Kelvin Smith, The Publishing Business: From p-Books to e-Books (London: AVA Publishing, 2012).

98. Adrian Bullock, Book Production (Abingdon: Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2012).

99. Giles Clark and Angus Phillips, Inside Book Publishing, 5th ed. (Abingdon: Rout-ledge, 2014).

100. Alison Baverstock, How to Market Books, 5th ed. (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015).

101. Lynette Owen, Selling Rights, 7th ed. (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014).

102. Murray, "Publishing Studies," 6.

103. Stephen Brown, Consuming Books: The Marketing and Consumption of Literature (Oxford: Routledge, 2006).

104. Squires, Marketing Literature, 2007; Nickianne Moody and Nicole Matthews, eds., Judging a Book by Its Cover: Fans, Publishers, Designers, and the Marketing of Fiction (Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 2007).

105. Audrey Laing and Jo Royle, "Marketing and the bookselling brand: Current strategy and the managers' perspective," International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management 34, no. 3 (2006): 198–211.

106. Simon Frost, "Bespoke bookselling for the twenty-first century: John Smith's and current UK higher education," Book 2.0 5, no. 1–2 (2015), 39–57.

107. Danielle Fuller and DeNel Rehberg Sedo, "Fun…And Other Reasons for Sharing Reading With Strangers: Mass Reading Events and the Possibilities of Pleasure," in McKechnie, Lynne (E.F.), Knut Oterholm, Paulette M. Rothbauer and Kjell Ivar Skjerdingstad, eds. Plotting the Reading Experience: Theory/Practice/Politics (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2016): 133–147.

108. Beth Driscoll, "Readers of Popular Fiction and Emotion Online," in New Directions in Popular Fiction: Genre, Distribution, Reproduction, ed. Ken Gelder (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 425–449.

109. First introduced by John W. Schouten and James H. McAlexander, "Subcultures of consumption: An ethnography of the new bikers," Journal of consumer research 22, no. 1 (1995): 43–61.

110. Pamela Schultz Nybacka, "Bookonomy."

111. Frost, "Bespoke bookselling."

112. Susanne Bartscher-Finzer, "Proactivity and the Entrepreneurial Self-Concept of Book Publishers" in Publishing Means Business (2017), 48.

113. David Throsby, "Commerce or culture? Australian book industry policy in the twenty-first century" in Publishing Means Business (2017), 1–21.

114. Ann Steiner, "Serendipity, Promotion, and Literature: The Contemporary Book Trade and International Megasellers," in Hype: Bestsellers and Literary Culture, ed. Jon Helgason, Sara Kärrholm, and Ann Steiner (Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2014), 41–67.

115. Jeremy Rosen, Minor Characters Have Their Day: Genre and the Contemporary Literary Marketplace (New York: Colombia University Press, 2016).

116. It should be noted that while 'cultural industry' and 'creative industry' are often used interchangeably, the term 'cultural' has been favored over 'creative' in the description of contemporary cultural industries and economy for this paper, borrowing Justin O'Connor's definition of 'cultural economy' as being 'concerned [with] understand[ing] how 'the economy' is culturally constructed'. Justin O'Connor, "Intermediaries and Imaginaries in the Cultural and Creative Industries," Regional Studies, 49 no. 3 (2015): 375.

117. David Hesmondhalgh, The Cultural Industries, 4th edition (London: Sage, 2019), 14.

118. Hesmondhalgh, The Cultural Industries, 14. Emphasis in the original.

119. James English, The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards and the Circulation of Cultural Value (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008).

120. Jim Collins, Bring on the Books for Everybody: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010).

121. Mack, Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature.

122. Beth Driscoll, The New Literary Middlebrow: Tastemakers and Reading in the Twenty-First Century (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2014).

123. Millicent Weber, Literary Festivals and Contemporary Book Culture, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

124. Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers, The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Block-buster Novel (London: Allen Lane, 2016).

125. Danielle Fuller and DeNel Rehberg-Sedo, Reading Beyond the Book: The Social Practices of Contemporary Literary Culture (London: Routledge, 2013).

126. Simone Murray, The Adaptation Industry.

127. Sarah Brouillette, Literature and the Creative Economy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014): 8.

128. Brouillette, Literature and the Creative Economy, 8.

129. Murray, "Publishing Studies," 17.

130. Murray, "Publishing Studies," 12.

131. Mark Banks, The Politics of Cultural Work (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007).

132. David Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Baker, Creative Labour: Creative Work in Three Cultural Industries (London: Routledge, 2011).

133. Mark Banks, Rosalind Gill and Stephanie Taylor, Theorizing Cultural Work: Labour, Continuity and Change in the Cultural and Creative Industries (London: Taylor & Francis, 2013).

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