Summary of Merchants of Culture

The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century

First Edition: UK 2010 more...

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Merchants of Culture book summary
What drives the publishing industry, and what forces are changing it?


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Book publishers are “merchants of culture” and exert an enormous impact on society. Yet few people know how publishing makes a profit and how social, economic and cultural forces prompt the industry to serve an ever-changing audience. John B. Thompson, a professor of sociology, has compiled a thorough report on the British and US publishing industries. His analysis includes expert interviews and insider perspectives. Since his account is exceedingly detailed, getAbstract recommends Thompson’s insights to devoted readers who want to discover what drives the publishing business now and what will propel it in the future.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How modern technology has changed traditional publishing,
  • What cultural and economic forces drive the industry, and
  • How publishers market books.


More Than Paper
Western book publishing began in Mainz, Germany, in the 15th century and has been an essential industry ever since, though the public has little understanding of how it functions. Today, the industry is going through a period of transition. Five forces – “economic, human...
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About the Author

John B. Thompson is a professor of sociology at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. His previous publications include Books in the Digital Age.

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