Friday, October 31, 2014
In Cicero's day authors ready to launch their newest work would gather their friends at home or in a public hall for a spirited recitatio, or reading. Audiences would cry out when they liked a particular passage. Nervous authors enlisted their friends to lend support, and sometimes even filled seats with hired "clappers." They were keenly aware of the importance of networking to get influential acquaintances to recommend their works to others. The creation of books started off as something both personal and social; the connection embodied in that dual nature is at the heart of what makes books so good at refining and advancing thought. It was just that the practicalities of publishing in the printing-press age made the personal connections a bit harder to see.
"From papyrus to pixels: The digital transformation of the way books are written, published, and sold had only just begun" — The Economist, October 11, 2014
(This fascinating in-depth reporting on self-publishing, book formats, and sales figures can be read here.)