“Revolutionary, Disruptive Technology”: The Business of Books


What is particularly crucial to understand is that books were not dragged kicking and screaming into each new area of capitalism. Books not only are part and parcel of consumer capitalism, they virtually began it.

In an essay for the Virginia Quarterly Review, former head of Soft Skull Press Richard Nash explores the business of literature with an almost alarming degree of thoroughness.

It’s all there, from the printing press’s revolutionary effect on art and science, to the economic innovations of copyright and casual browsing, to the digital age (in which the book may not be quite as benighted as we all fear).

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →