The Evolving Face of Publishing
An Exhibit at the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library
October 16, 2001 - December 31, 2001

This exhibit looks at the evolving face of publishing as it throws new and unexpected challenges to consumers, publishers, and authors. Models and relationships of the past between author and publisher, author and bookseller, publisher and reader have all needed redefinition. The bibliophiles of the past looked upon printed books as inartistic productions; today we are in a world where the printed word isn't necessarily printed anymore. Now and in the not so distant future, books are expected to cost little or nothing, never be out of print, and be eternally available through the wired or wireless world.


Traditional publishers are facing growing competition from the world of e-book publishers and Print on Demand (POD) houses. The traditional role of publishers, especially to physically produce, market, and distribute the book, has been challenged by a growing number of self-publishers who wish to have total control of their work. They either do everything or outsource the most expensive and time-consuming aspects of their work. The Internet has in turn challenged the dominance of any single traditional media, be it print, radio, photography, television, or cable. Print and media can now be delivered in a variety of formats, either singly or combined.

Every author today feels encouraged to self-publish either for economic reasons or to have a better control over the product or to cater to diverse audiences. However, many jump at self-publishing opportunities without having an understanding of the process or without making a realistic assessment of many factors in publishing, such as time, money, editorial skills, marketing, circulation, and distribution. There are a variety of publishing arrangements today, and understanding them enables one to work within a comfort level.

The academic world is also slowly coming to terms with electronic textbooks and course packs. Electronic textbooks will have significant potential over the next five years. It is estimated that one fifth of the sales of e-books will be e-textbooks. Textbook publishers until now have been introducing new technologies such as CD-ROM, audio-textbooks, and online learning, but the Internet has challenged their role as aggregators of content. Professors wish to aggregate their own content and wish to purchase as textbooks just the content that they need. Textbook publishers now need to break down textbooks into smaller malleable pieces of content and be able to build textbooks on the fly.

Students today expect the same conveniences with e-books as those associated with printed books such as underlining, tabbing, book-marking, and highlighting, and having a glossary and annotation. Furthermore, e-book readers can now support different modes of speed and intensity varying from active to passive reading. Computers can also highlight key words and phrases to enable a reader to skim and understand large works and key points. Other important developments in e-books, such as the establishment of an open e-book forum, and standards based on XML, will enable e-books to be device-independent. Users can then download e-books on a computer, laptop, a dedicated reader, or a palm device.

Digital Rights Management   

Libraries have been moving ahead with these developments. Several libraries have joined in this publishing revolution by subscribing to NetLibrary and Questia, which permit them to download e-content for a fee and make it accessible to their readers. At, libraries pay an annual fee plus purchase entire collections of electronic books (e-books) for their collection. Patrons are limited to the number of copies that the library has purchased. Ebrary allows one time free access, but any further use involving printing, downloading or saving to disk requires establishing an account and subsequent payment. Ebrary offers revenue sharing to libraries whose patrons access and buy the use of the content through All of's research materials are offered free of charge. Most of them are reference books. Periodical publishers are exploring ways to integrate e-book content with periodical publishing cycles.

The distance between book users and Internet users is further bridged by the development of the sBook. The sBook, or surfable book, turns reference and higher educational books into highly accurate Internet search directories. It protects traditional book line content as well as offers "directory pages" with links to information sources - books, journal and magazine articles - and enables searches using keywords. The first published sBooks make up a portion of the World Book Encyclopedia set: General Science and Medicine. The use of these new technologies has been augmented more and more by the provision of document security and/or Digital Rights Management. These developments prohibit the unlicensed use of intellectual property.

Audio Books    

Academic life for the visually impaired and dyslexic student has also become easier. Audio books or textbooks on CDs have come of age. An important organization named "Recording for the Blind or Dyslexic" has recorded as many as 83,000 books, many of them in Braille. These recordings on CDs display the text as well as allowing viewers to listen to the audio. Special dedicated players, such as the Victor Reader and Plextalk, have also been introduced.

Online bookselling has also established a firm hold in today's bookstores. is a total online bookstore, Barnes & Noble is both - a local and a virtual store. Small independent booksellers join shared e-commerce websites, such as, that enable them to sell their books without the administrative worries of setting up individual e-commerce sites. By entering a zip code you can search for a bookstore nearest you. Some online stores also provide deliveries to your destination. Some colleges allow their students to order books online and later pick up the bagged books at the campus bookstore.


However, even with these recent developments, the publishing world is still evolving. Comments such as "We believe the e-book revolution will have an impact on the book industry as great as the paperback revolution of the 60's," from Jack Romanus, president of the Simon and Schuster division of Viacom, and "We want to see electronic publishing blow the covers off the books," from Laurence Kirshbaum, chairman of the books division of AOL Time Warner, are a far distance from reality. Right now consumers aren't buying enough e-books to generate the revenue needed to cover the costs of conversion to digital formats. Most of the criticism is leveled against the "Readers." The technology has not reached consumer acceptability and the retail price structure has not been acceptable to most readers. If books on the screen cost more than tree-based books, then the time for e-books has yet to mature.

This exhibit includes posters, news clippings, research, and studies on the changing aspects of publishing. The exhibit committee of the library commends and thanks talented artist Mei-Huei Chen for her stunning banner and visuals and Prof. Emily Lehrman for her assistance with editing. Lastly we thank Dr. D.L. Ungarelli, Dean of University Libraries, and colleagues in the library for their support of this exhibit. There will be two lectures accompanying this exhibit. Viewers are encouraged to pick up a flier at the exhibit.


From the Microphone to the Microchip: Consuming Popular Music
Mr. David Sanjek, Director, BMI Archives
In this presentation, David Sanjek looks at the role of technology in the creation and consumption of American popular music.
Hutchins Gallery, Library, 12:30-1:30, October 23, 2001

Visual Literacy in the Digital Age
Alan Robbins, Associate Professor of Design, Kean University
In this presentation, Prof. Robbins looks at the role of visual information in our lives: What kinds of information can and cannot be presented visually? How do screen images differ from that of print? Do old rules of understanding images apply to the new networked world? Is there such a thing as visual literacy in the Age of Information? How do images shape our reality, and not just represent it? This lecture with slides will suggest ways of approaching these questions.
Hutchins Gallery, Library, 12:30-1:30, October 31, 2001

Program sponsor: B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library. Co-sponsor: Hutton House Lectures, C.W. Post Campus. This program, which is free and open to the public, is supported in part by the New York Council for the Humanities

Exhibit Committee
Manju Prasad-Rao,
Linda McCormack, Fung Har-Lee
Andrea Rylander, Jean Uhl

Mei-Huei Chen
Chen Weijen

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Website Graphics by
Mei-Huei Chen
HTML by Robert Delaney

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