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Durham University

University College


Durham Castle Lecture Series: Prof. John B. Thompson

15th May 2013, 19:45, The Senate Suite, Prof. John B. Thompson

“The Future of the Book”

15 May 2013

Professor John B. Thompson

Professor of Sociology and Fellow of Jesus College, University of Cambridge


“The Future of the Book”


Today, the publishing business is in turmoil. For 500 years, the methods and practices of book publishing remained largely unchanged, but today the industry finds itself faced with the greatest challenges since Gutenberg.

These challenges are the outcome of two processes. On the one hand, the publishing business has been transformed beyond recognition by a set of profound social and economic changes that have been underway since the 1960s, resulting in the publishing landscape we see around us today: a handful of large corporate publishers based in New York and London and owned by large multimedia conglomerates; an array of powerful agents who have become the unavoidable gateway into publishing for writers and would-be writers; and a retail landscape dominated by a dwindling number of retail chains, mass merchandisers and Amazon. On the other hand, the technological upheaval associated with the digital revolution is now having a major impact on the book publishing business. After a decade of numerous false dawns, e-books have now arrived and they are here to stay. This lecture explores these complex trends and discusses the future of the book and what and how we read.


This lecture is open to all, and seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Doors open: 7.45pm.
Lecture commences: 8.00pm
Questions and Answers: 9.00pm

The Durham Castle Lecture Series is devoted to bringing high-profile speakers to Durham who can contribute to academic and public discussion on issues of global significance. The presenters have made an outstanding contribution over a sustained period of time to their fields, making them ideal contributors to this new major lecture series.

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