Publishing and the Related Fields (Part3)


You can read part1 from Issue7: Publishing and its Related Issues

You can read part2 from Issue8: Publishing and its Related Issues part 2: More about publishing

Abdolhossein Azarang [Writer and researcher; Member of the Great Islamic Encyclopedia]: 

Publishing is neighbor to many fields and even it has border interference with some of them. Hence, any sort of development in the latter will affect the former and any new achievement their gain would find its way into publishing area and vice versa. The neighbor and vicinal fields of publishing are:

• Book studies and other paper and non-paper resources;
• History of readable and publishing resources;
• Communicational media, history, development and their studies;
• Materials, form, function, application and the effect of audio and visual media;
• Economy and financial studies related to readable industries and materials;
• Cultural, social, educational developments;
• Identifying audiences and analyzing various audiences of readable materials and their developments.
• Application of various media in education, researches and spare times of the society.

Actually any other field which plays a role in sociology, culture, education, researches, spare times, communications, information, etc. is somehow related with publishing. Any study on the mentioned areas and any achievement gained form studying them affect directly the policies and planning for publishing institutes. Here, some examples and historical cases about this direct relationship and its direct and indirect effects are succinctly explained.

Before emergence of electronic publishing, books were the most important product of publishing industry. Since industrial and machine-based production of books, several factors found their ways into publishing area which actually some of them have become tools or a part of production processes of publishing.

For instance, development of printing technology since 15th century was contemporary with the emergence of a new class of urban people. Members of this social class used to work in plants and factories, commercial institutes, import-exports companies, transportation and official departments. They were not like the rural workers whose daily or nocturnal times were uncertain, but they used to start their work in a certain time of mornings and finished it in the certain time of evenings. Their fees were certain and they had a weekend which over time and through strengthening various guilds and workers unions working schedules and fees became organized and the spare times were increased.

This structural development which was accompanied with economic, commercial, social, industrial, technical, management developments also affect the publishing. Publisher figured out a development in their society and found a class which would be audience of their published books, a class who had new interests and inclinations and if the publishing industry was able to meet its needs, it would a profitable market. If the urbanization would not take place after industrial developments, novels and short stories and generally writing stories never would be developed and the most important and most profitable and somehow the most effective branch of publishing never would be formed.

Since late 15th century, and especially during the early 16th century, booksellers in the west world figured out that readers need other resources, different from the manuscripts, for reading. They had direct contacts with readers and buyers of books and inevitably they became familiar and informed about their preferences, interests and expectations.

Some of these booksellers were smarter and found the differences between interests of readers and producers of books, they found writing and grammatical errors in some books, they found unreadable and hard to understand some texts and it was a starting point of a new phenomenon and activity which later become known as ”Book Editing”.

Booksellers who had both sharp minds and more money or enjoyed stronger cultural incentives invited authors to work on improper texts in order to edit and refine them based on semantic and grammatical norms. As a result, the first generation of book editors were emerged which after several developments in both book and publishing arena, they reached an exquisite and even determining status in the field of publishing in 19th century.

Thus, a simple form of audience analysis, while there was no trace of social and communication sciences, brought about a development in the publishing industry which changed its path. A new kind of editors emerged in the 19th century who were known as publishing editors. They are editors who not only have a deep knowledge about three main pillars of publishing, i.e. developers, publishers, and readers, but also are familiar with other aspects of publishing and factors which both affect the publishing and are affected by it.

In the developed publishing there are a group of editors who run the publishing institutes, set their policies, plan for them, select authors and subjects, run intellectual currents and affect the culture and civilization development without any form of exaggeration.

The so-called traditional booksellers of the 16th century, who used to sell manuscripts and had certain and limited customers, without having any picture of the future of books and publishing, made a simple decision which made a rail over which the publishing train started to move and after passing a distance it found another path. This historical event is an example of the influence and effect of bookselling on publishing which considered interest of readers in editing books. Later when various sciences were developed or emerged, new activity fields became active, smart and qualified factors found their ways to the publishing and brought about long-standing developments which their more obvious examples need to be underlined in the next parts of this article.


(To be continue…)



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