As the ongoing e-book revolution spreads, many authors and readers lament the possible demise of printed books.
Despite growing e-book sales, publishers seem to have found robust niche markets for printed books. Well-designed book covers and aesthetic features in some printed books seem to appeal to many readers.
The continued market for printed books alongside e-books will not surprise historians of the “Print Revolution” and early modern printing. The development of moveable type and the printing press created incredible new opportunities for fifteenth-century publishers. Yet, manuscript books continued to thrive in certain markets. Editors produced many hybrid books as art objects, incorporating hand-painted illuminations, unique leather bindings, and other elaborate features. Anthony Grafton, Lisa Jardine, Andrew Petegree, Eveyln Welch, and other scholars of Renaissance printing and material culture have greatly qualified the “revolutionary” dimensions of the “Print Revolution” by examining the production and dissemination of these hybrid books.
The New York Times reports on current strategies employed by publishers of printed books today.