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Journal Articles International Journal of the Book Year : 2013

Shifting Authority: (Ex)Changing Roles in the Evolving Publishing Environment

Christine Evain


Authority is a key concept within the publishing industry. The various actors of the publishing process hold some form of authority, from the publisher who is considered both a qualitative and quantitative authority, to the reader who has the authority to choose and the power to buy. Recent changes to the industry, including the development of "digital-born" material and the important growth in self-publishing, are shaking the foundations of traditional publishing and changing the relationships between its players, as actors bypass each other and develop new creative, production and trading methods. As readers become authors, authors become distributors, distributors become publishers and publishers become cost-conscious, the traditional publishing hierarchy is being redefined. This redefinition raises the following questions: What does it mean to be an "authority"? How do industry players achieve and sustain authority? What is the composition of these new hierarchies? As the industry moves to collaborative production, is the process becoming democratic? As publishers face increasing competition, is it possible for them to uphold the standards that have established their authority? What are the implications of the "reputational economy"? Is the book the ultimate victim of this power struggle? The aim of this article is to define changing relations, to look at the emerging business models and to analyse the effect of these changes on both book production and book content. The contents of this article are based on the personal testimonies of authors, distributors, publishers and other industry players as well as print, journal and Internet articles and industry case studies.
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Dates and versions

hal-01977319 , version 1 (10-01-2019)


  • HAL Id : hal-01977319 , version 1


Simon Carolan, Christine Evain. Shifting Authority: (Ex)Changing Roles in the Evolving Publishing Environment. International Journal of the Book, 2013, 10 (4), pp.53-64. ⟨hal-01977319⟩
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