Books: The Birth of Mass Media

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From a Mass Media lecture at Montana Tech, based on Hanson's text Mass Communication.

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Books: The Birth of Mass Media

  1. 1. Books: The Birth of the Mass Media – Referencing Mass Communication: Living in a Media World Ralph E. Hanson
  2. 2. Memoir or Fiction <ul><li>Look inside – Amazon.com </li></ul><ul><li>The Smoking Gun : muckrakers found that the book is filled with a million little lies. “Oprah Winfrey’s been had.” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Pictograph Ideograph
  4. 4. Vocabulary <ul><li>Pictograph </li></ul><ul><li>Ideograph </li></ul><ul><li>Phonography </li></ul><ul><li>Alphabets </li></ul><ul><li>Papyrus </li></ul><ul><li>Parchment </li></ul><ul><li>Paper </li></ul><ul><li>Scriptoria </li></ul>
  5. 5. Development of Writing <ul><li>Approx. 3500 BC: Writing originates in Egypt or Mesopotamia </li></ul><ul><li>Earliest writing was pictographs and ideographs; symbols that stand for ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Approx. 2000 BC: Phonography begins; symbols stand for sounds </li></ul><ul><li>1700 – 1500 BC: Alphabets developed; letters stand for sounds </li></ul>
  6. 6. Development of Paper <ul><li>3100 BC: Egyptians develop papyrus, writing surface made from papyrus reed. </li></ul><ul><li>Parchment – Writing surface from skin of goats and sheep; much less fragile than papyrus. </li></ul><ul><li>240- 105 BC: Paper developed by Chinese; moves to Europe in mid-11th century. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Development of Books <ul><li>Earliest books were papyrus scrolls </li></ul><ul><li>400-800 AD: Religious books hand-copied by monks in rooms called scriptoria. </li></ul><ul><li>1200s: Licensed publishers distribute hand- copied books such as The Canterbury Tales. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Invention of Mass Culture <ul><li>1455: Gutenberg develops movable metal type, makes printing feasible. </li></ul><ul><li>First mass-produced written word. The printing press allowed text to be stored in multiple “perfect” copies. </li></ul>
  9. 9. William Caxton 1422 - 1491 <ul><li>Helped establish the rules for English, standardizing word usage, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. </li></ul><ul><li>This was done by publishing books in English rather than Latin. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Books in the New World <ul><li>1539: First New World printing press in Mexico City. </li></ul><ul><li>1640: Printing begins in North America with Whole Booke of Psalmes. Book became early export for colonies. </li></ul><ul><li>1731: Benjamin Franklin establishes early circulating (subscription) libraries. Went on to become popular author. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Consequences of Gutenberg <ul><li>Standardized books and language </li></ul><ul><li>Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation </li></ul><ul><li>Made possible transferring ideas beyond community where they originated </li></ul>
  12. 12. Mass Produced Books <ul><li>1814: Steam-powered rotary press </li></ul><ul><li>1830s–1840s: Popularity of serial novels </li></ul><ul><li>Civil War era: Popularity of paperback dime novels </li></ul><ul><li>Growth of inexpensive books, magazines, and newspapers fuels growth of mass literacy </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Book Business <ul><li>Publishers </li></ul><ul><li>Authors </li></ul><ul><li>Booksellers </li></ul>
  14. 14. Publishers <ul><li>Major commercial publishers </li></ul><ul><li>University and small presses </li></ul><ul><li>Vanity presses and self- publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Government Printing Office </li></ul>
  15. 15. Major Commercial Publishers <ul><li>Just 20 companies publish nearly 80% of all books today. </li></ul><ul><li>Globally: Pearson, Reed Elsevier, Thomson Reuters, Wolters Kluwer, Bertelsmann Random House. </li></ul><ul><li>USA. McGraw Hill, Scholastic, John Wiley, Harper Collins, Readers Digest. </li></ul>
  16. 16. University and Small Presses <ul><li>May not be in the business for profit. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes breakaway successes. </li></ul><ul><li>EG. Prof at U of Chicago, Norman Maclean’s, memoir “A River Runs through It” about growing up in Montana. Published by U of Chicago, made into a major motion picture. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Self Publishing <ul><li>“ Vanity Presses” are publishers that print books with the author paying all costs of publication and discribution. </li></ul><ul><li>Surprises happen eg James Redfield’s Celestine Prophesy . </li></ul>
  18. 18. Authors <ul><li>Not everyone is a star. </li></ul><ul><li>Many books have limited promotion. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Book Writing Process
  20. 20. Booksellers <ul><li>Wholesalers/distributors—Ingram Book Group </li></ul><ul><li>Major bookstore chains—Barnes & Noble is largest bookseller </li></ul><ul><li>Independent booksellers—American Bookseller’s Association </li></ul><ul><li>Mail-order book clubs </li></ul>
  21. 21. Textbook Business <ul><li>Barnes & Noble has major campus bookstore division </li></ul><ul><li>GAO estimates on the average, a student spends $900 a year on textbooks </li></ul><ul><li>Schools try variety of ways to lower costs </li></ul><ul><li>Schools experimenting with e-book readers </li></ul><ul><li>Authors/publishers make nothing on used books </li></ul>
  22. 22. “Literature” vs. Popular Books <ul><li>Nathaniel Hawthorne vs. the “scribblers” like Sarah Josepha Hale. Pg134. </li></ul><ul><li>Hawthorne’s complaints about pop fiction are often echoed today. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Literature vs. Popular Books <ul><li>Stephen King —“The literary equivalent of a Big Mac and a large fries.” </li></ul><ul><li>Vampires, wizards, and the NYT Best Seller list </li></ul>
  24. 24. Literature & Popular Intersecting <ul><li>The Hobbit was written by JR Tolkien to amuse his children. </li></ul><ul><li>Has a lasting influence – movies, inspired Yes and Led Zeppelin, the game Everquest . </li></ul>
  25. 25. Books and Censorship <ul><li>Book banning in the United States is generally local and involves taking books out of libraries or off school reading lists. </li></ul><ul><li>Globally, authors can have works banned, threats of violence and death. </li></ul><ul><li>Salman Rushdie— The Satanic Verses </li></ul><ul><li>Sherry Jones— The Jewel of Medina </li></ul>
  26. 26. Books and the Long Tail <ul><li>Amazon.com—Offering all books rather than a selection of books </li></ul><ul><li>Tracks customers’ interests by recording what they’ve already bought. </li></ul><ul><li>Started 1995. One reason for initial success is in early days of Internet, people who owned computers were also likely to read books. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Electronic Publishing <ul><li>“ Audio e-books” have been popular for years. </li></ul><ul><li>Mostly, e-books now are books in form of a text file that can be read on Kindle, iPad, Droid, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Print-On-Demand is e-publishing where the physical book is not printed until it is ordered. </li></ul>

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