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Content Machine

Content Machine

Towards a Theory of Publishing from the Printing Press to the Digital Network

By Michael Bhaskar

‘The Content Machine’ outlines a theory of publishing that allows publishers to focus on their core competencies in times of crisis. This ground-breaking study, the first of its kind, fuses history, media theory and business experience in a defiant answer to those who contend that publishing has no future in the digital age.

Paperback, 226 Pages

ISBN:9780857281111

January 2013

£13.99, $19.95

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  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Recently Viewed Titles

About This Book

Publishing is in crisis. Publishing has always been in crisis, but today’s version, fuelled by the digital boom, has some frightening symptoms. Trade publishers see their mid-lists hollowed, academic customers face budgetary pressures from higher education spending cuts, and educational publishers encounter increased competition across their markets. But over the centuries, forced change has been the norm for publishers. Somehow, they continue to adapt.

This ground-breaking study, the first of its kind, outlines a theory of publishing that allows publishing houses to focus on their core competencies in difficult times while building a broader notion of what they are capable of. Tracing the history of publishing from the press works of fifteenth-century Germany to twenty-first-century Silicon Valley, via Venice, Beijing, Paris and London, ‘The Content Machine’ offers a new understanding of media and literature, analysing their many connections to technology and history. In answer to those who insist that publishing has no future in a digital age, this book gives a rejuvenated identity to this ever-changing industry and demonstrates how it can survive and thrive in a period of unprecedented challenges.

Reviews

‘Bhaskar shows you not just where publishing's going but where publishing went while we were all sleepwalking. The definitive guide to the bleak yet fascinating future of books.’ —‘New York Times’ bestselling author Michael Levin, CEO, BusinessGhost.com


‘In his bold and innovative book Michael Bhaskar tackles some of the big questions that surround publishing. He takes the reader on a quest for a unified theory of publishing, arriving at the Content Machine, which takes account of both its history and the challenges it faces from digital media.’ —Angus Phillips, Director, Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies


‘Scholarly yet utterly lucid, the dazzling generosity of Bhaskar’s historical reference is matched by his incisive understanding of contemporary challenges.’ —Alex Butterworth, Founder/Managing and Creative Director, Amblr


‘Michael Bhaskar brings his considerable experience as a digital publishing professional to inform a fascinating theory of publishing with broad historical scope.’ —Dan Franklin, Digital Publisher, Random House Group


Bhaskar takes us on a fascinating journey that ultimately leads us to question in whose hands the future of publishing will lie.’ —José Afonso Furtado, Catholic University of Portugal


‘An insightful, enjoyable and fresh contribution to the noisy debate on publishing's future.’ —Stephen Page, CEO and Publisher, Faber & Faber

Author Information

Michael Bhaskar is a digital publisher, researcher and writer based in London. 

Series

Anthem Publishing Studies

Anthem Scholarship in the Digital Age

Anthem Global Media and Communication Studies

Anthem Book History and Print Cultures

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction: Useful Middlemen; Chapter 1: The Problem of Publishing; Chapter 2: The Digital Context and Challenge; Chapter 3: How Content Works; Chapter 4: The System of Publishing; Chapter 5: Models; Chapter 6: Addressing Problems, Meeting Challenges; Conclusion: Inside the Content Machine; Bibliography; Index 

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