An e-book revolution has been gathering steam and transforming the world of books for at least a decade now. Academic researchers and writers have been following the changes closely, and participating in many of the new initiatives. Historians have participated actively in developing e-journals, e-books, multimedia book/DVDs, the e-Gutenberg project, humanities digitization projects, blogs, and web resources.
Meanwhile, the entire publishing industry has been in seemingly perpetual crisis over the past generation. The growth of big box bookstores, the rise of Amazon.com, the decline of independent booksellers, and the weakening of college bookstores have all forced adaptations by academic and independent publishers. University and independent presses have had to respond to broad market forces and new technologies, often at the cost of less rigorous attention to excellence in publishing.
Now, one of the most important university courses preparing future publishers is getting a radical make-over. The course at Columbia University is now trying to assess the emerging directions of the ongoing e-book revolution and prepare a new generation of publishers for a radically altered publishing landscape.
The New York Times reports on the course.