Assignment 11 – Publishing

Auletta writes: “Amazon seems to believe that in the digital world it might not even need publishers at all.” Twentieth-century publishers generally performed several tasks: they have been gatekeepers who selected the most authoritative or readable works; they have been editors who checked, edited, and corrected manuscripts; they have handled production and design of volumes and overseen printing; they have marketed books, helping them to find their appropriate audience; they have distributed books to bookstores; and they have handled publicity and advertising. 

In a digital world, is it necessary to have a separate firm or organization to perform these functions? If so, do you see a continuing role for publishers in some of these functions, or can they be undertaken by someone else?  Be sure to make specific reference to the discussion in Auletta’s article of the roles of publishers and how they are now being questioned.

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