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The Business of Books

English Literature 486 - Spring 2020

Book publishing shapes our literary and intellectual landscape in defining ways, yet only with the recent rise of Publishing Studies has the theory and practice of publishing become a serious subject of attention within the academy. This course offers a broad introduction to publishing, with a practical emphasis on contemporary literary publishing. We will explore how publishing communities form in relation to aesthetics, demographics, and technologies, and will consider how ethics and business practices are defined within these communities. On the applied side, we will study editing, contracts, marketing, sales & distribution, infrastructure, and media, and students will write reader's reports, marketing plans, and a final paper analyzing a contemporary publishing project and placing its work in relation to the historical and cultural context, demonstrating how each particular publishing practice is adapted to its own cultural ecosystem. Industry professionals will visit to speak with the class by Skype, and Professor Riker brings two decades of experience as a book publisher, author, and reviewer. Alongside these other activities, over the course of the semester students will follow the progression of a book published by the nationally acclaimed publishing house Dorothy, a Publishing Project, of which Professor Riker is the publisher.
Course Attributes: BU HumAS HUM

Section 01

The Business of Books
INSTRUCTOR: Riker
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