Reviews

“‘[L]ate’ might sound a bit ominous, but we still are in an age of print, a claim borne out by Striphas’s indefatigable rummagings around in oft-neglected aspects of contemporary book culture….The author is fascinated by the mechanics of how books get into readers’ hands, to the extent that he probably wouldn’t take umbrage at being called a distribution nerd, but his enthusiasm is charming.”  —Steven Poole, The Guardian

“Striphas sees the culture clearly in its parts and as a whole, and this collection of historical and commercial analysis should fascinate those seriously involved with book culture and/or the industry.”  —Publishers Weekly

“Unlike some other works that have drawn popular attention with provocative or alarmist claims, or broken bold new theoretical ground, this volume instead stands as a solid work of scholarship that fills in several significant gaps in popular and academic understandings of its subject matter, presenting a cogent, historically informed explication of trends and phenomena….Highly recommended.” —Darby Orcutt, Choice

“Neither overly alarmist nor excessively nostalgic about the fate of books in a digital age, The Late Age of Print provides a lucid, balanced view of how books are changing in response to a fast-evolving media environment. Looking closely at a number of recent developments, including electronic books, big-box bookstores, Oprah’s book club, and the Harry Potter phenomenon, Ted Striphas proves to be a highly reliable guide to the question of what might happen to books and book reading in the years to come. He will interest anyone who has ever wondered how writing and reading will be conducted in the future.”   —Janice Radway, Northwestern University, and author of A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire

“I thought I understood American publishing. After reading this work, I am struck by how little I actually knew.”   —Siva Vaidhyanathan, University of Virginia, and author of The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System

“Forget the premature obituaries for books and reading. Striphas insists that book remain a vital presence in the twenty-first century.”  — Bryce Christensen, Booklist

“Employing wide‑ranging  research, careful  analysis, an impressive vocabulary, and a good sense of humor, Ted Striphas…has crafted a thought-provoiking commentary on trends in book culture from the early twentieth century to the present….This deft cultural study—part communication theory, part history, part sociology—places the modern history and present state of the book in the context of the everyday lives of readers as a means of understanding a period of transition characterized by both permanence and rapid change.”  —Maurice C. York, College & Research Libraries

“It is rare to say of a university press hardcover that it is a ‘must-read,’ but for those interested in the confluence of culture and economics as it relates to books, that is what The Late Age of Print is: a key text advancing our knowledge.”  — Richard Nash, The Critical Flame

“[T]he book’s achievement is far from small, and few could walk away from this book without their understanding of publishing and bookselling broadened and deepened.  Those who hope to understand the [book] industry at its crossroads should read The Late Age of Print, and hope that more books like it are written.”  —Scott Esposito, The Quarterly Conversation

The Late Age of Print is exciting, clear, topical, interesting, and important. Ted Striphas has a voracious curiosity and is a great finder of material. How many of us have reflected on the history of bookshelves or have bothered to understand the mechanics of ISBN numbers or their political-economic-intellectual significance? Who knew the full story behind Oprah’s Book Club, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble? This book provides a fine overview of the best English-language scholarship on books and print culture. Tackling the broad meaning of books over the past century, it says something broader about life in our era.  Striphas gives the best integrated overview of the book in our moment and participates in public debates about education, literature, culture, and capitalism. In its mix of theory, history, and avid documentation, this book points the way toward future cultural studies.”   —John Durham Peters, University of Iowa, and the author of Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition

“If one reliable measure of the merits of a scholarly work is its concrete influence on how its readers perceive the world around them, then I am convinced The Late Age of Print will make a lasting contribution to cultural studies and communication studies. This reader will certainly never see a book on a bookshelf at Borders or Barnes & Noble — or Lippincott Books in downtown Bangor, for that matter — in the same way again.  In its materiality as a strategically fashioned product of a sophisticated global web of printing, transportation, distribution, marketing, selling, and tracking, the book on the shelf will henceforth look different.”  — Jeffrey St. John, University of Maine, Quarterly Journal of Speech

Striphas’s book will frustrate a casual reader seeking panaceas or prophecies, but it will reward anyone, particularly those in the book industry, seeking to better understand the evolution of books in America over the past hundred years.”  —Anne Trubek, The Book Studio

“Although written by an academic and published by a university press, The Late Age of Print is a book that ought to be read outside of academic circles. It stands against many popular publications confidently declaring the end of the printed book or decrying the loss of the traditional book.”  —Richard J. Cox, University of Pittsburgh SIS Faculty Blog

“I appreciated how often Striphas knocks down notions many of us cling to, or rather complicates them. He problematizes our general demonization of big box stores. He makes a point to capture the past failures of e-books in many variations to take off. He won’t let us just take a stand and run with it, but as any good scholar, he instead teases out the finer points. Perhaps some readers will find this frustrating, as if he’s holding them back from strong feelings that will make change. I don’t feel held back, however, just better informed.”  —Brian @ Survival of the Book

The Late Age of Print…is the best book about books I’ve read this year.”  —Michael Lieberman, co-owner of Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers, on Book Patrol

[T]here’s a wealth of data, narrative, and ideas here, vaulting this slim volume into the heavyweight class of tome. Striphas discards canards about the publishing industry and creates his own narrative, which makes Late Age fascinating to read…”  —John Matthew Fox, BookFox

“Campus librarians, literature instructors, and recreational readers may find the work as beneficial as those readers involved in multiple facets of the book industry or researchers of popular culture, industrial trends, and the effects of cultural shifts on consumerism. The concise accessibility of the language invites readers to ponder the questions posited within the chapters as well as enjoy what might have become bland historical details in a lesser work.”  —Vicky Gilpin, Southwest Journal of Cultures

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eko Prasetyo, Danny Hefer. Danny Hefer said: RT @metrofx: What is the fate of books in digital culture? "The Late Age of Print" by @striphas explains it. http://bit.ly/aS63m8 [...]

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