Contemporary Book Publishing/online 012

This course on contemporary book publishing should appeal to students who wish to understand the forces at work to change both traditional and non-traditional book publishing, now and in the future. The knowledge gained in this course will be useful for students contemplating a wide number of careers, including those dealing directly with books, such as librarians, teachers, and writers, to those whose work will depend on various forms of book-length knowledge. In addition, students will improve search skills through weekly assignments using Google search, and at the end of the class, they will produce an ebook themselves. Students from any discipline who are interested in the changes in book publishing are welcome.

--Graduate Students may take this course entirely online (section 012) or in person with a fixed meeting time (section 002).

--Undergraduates may only take it in person with a fixed meeting time (section 002).



Graduate students (588) who take the face-2-face section (002) will attend class every Wednesday, from 3:30 until 6, in the SIRLS Multi-Purpose Room. In addition, they will participate in other online activities with other students. All graduate students will write a 3,000 word paper on a type of publishing activity, focusing on recent or probable future changes in traditional practice.

Graduate students (588) who take the online only section (012) must view the recorded Wednesday class on Thursday if possible, since it contains information that will be useful for completeing the week. They must also answer the questions from the recorded class in the D2L Class Question forum. They will also participate in other online activities with other students. All graduate students will write a 3,000 word paper on a type of publishing activity, focusing on recent or probable future changes in traditional practice.

Undergraduate students (488) who take the face-2-face section (002) will attend class every Wednesday, from 3:30 until 6, in the SIRLS Multi-Purpose Room. In addition, they will participate in other online activities with other students. Undergraduate students will not be required to write the paper until they enroll as 588 students. They must enroll in section 002 of 488, but in all other respects they will be treated as graduate students and subject to 588 conditions.

Academic Year: 


Course ID and Name: 

Section Number: 

Course Syllabus

Course Prerequisites: 

For SIRLS 588 students, 504 is a prerequisite.

For 588 students from other disciplines and 488 students, there are no prerequisites.

Course Description: 

For SIRLS students, this course addresses compentency A1 (creation of information), B5 (publishing as an information profession).

This class examines contemporary book publishing in its current traditional and non-traditional forms, both print and electronic. In order to understand the status mainstream publishing often enjoys today, the course quickly reviews the rise of publishing in the 20th century. Changes, beginning in the 1980’s, have resulted in the current trade book publishing situation, and in the last decade, traditional publishers have increasingly published eBooks. We will also study the rise of non-traditional publishing alternatives, both print and electronic, and the attempts of alternative publishers to disrupt traditional book selling patterns. We will end with trends that might foreshadow changes in the book environment in the first half of the 21 st century.

Weekly Schedule for a 15-week Course (subject to adjustments for the calendar)

Week #




Introduction: Publishing Sectors

Syllabus, lecture to read


Golden Age of Publishing: 1900-1960

Lecture, article, website


Changes in Book-Selling 1960-present

Thompson, ch 1


Rise of the Agent: 1960-present

Thompson, ch 2


Changes in Publishing: 1960-present

Thompson, ch 3


Dynamics of Mainstream Publishing

Thompson, ch 5


Changing Conditions & Challenges

Thompson, ch 8


Mainstream Publishing Electronic Books

Lecture, Mid-terms


Problem of Discovery: Marketing Practices

Thompson, ch 7


Self-Publishing: POD

Bradley and colleagues, a b


Self-Publishing: Electronic

Bradley and colleagues, c d


Disruptive Publishing: Issues

Websites to View


Mainstream Publishing Innovations

Lecture, Articles, websites


Multi-Media “Books”

Lecture, Articles;


Towards the Future of the Book




Course Objective: 

Students will demonstrate knowledge of the changes in the publishing industry from the beginning of the 20th century to the present.

Students will be able to relate changes in the industry to changes in the output of published books.

Students will be able to evaluate the traditional and changing book industry in terms of its impact on bookstores, readers and libraries.

Students will be able to describe and discuss the disruptive forces that are changing publishing.

Students will be able to make a simple eBook and understand the various ways to get an eBook to market.


Required Course Materials: 

 John B Thompson, Merchants of Culture, Polity, 2011.

Other required articles will be available in D2L.

Course Requirements: 


· Weekly lectures/discussion:

Graduate students (588) in section 002 (face-to-face) and all undergraduate students (488) will meet face 2 face on Wednesdays in the SIRLS multi-purpose room. Online only graduate students will view the recording of the lecture and answer the discussion questions in D2L.

· Terms and Concepts: a list of terms and concepts will be posted at the beginning of each week. Students are encouraged to ask questions about these in the face-2-face class or in the weekly forum for the topic.

· Weekly search tips and assignments. There will be a weekly search tip and a search assignment related to the week’s topic. Students are to find an answer to the search question and post in in the Weekly Search forum, along with a link if relevant and an analytical component relating to what we are learning. Students are expected to read 80% of the items posted by other students as supplementary reading.

· Weekly multiple choice quizzes will be taken in D2L at the end of the week.

· Midterm Terminology Exam: at mid-term, a terminology exam will be given consisting of terms from the weekly exams.

· Mid Term Short Answer and Essay Exam: An exam consisting of short answer and an essay will also be given.

· Final Terminology Exam: a final terminology exam will be given during exam week, consisting of terms from the weekly exams since the midterm.

· Final Short Answer and Essay Exam: a final exam consisting of short answer and an essay will also be given during exam week, covering material since the midterm.

588 only:

· A 3000-word paper on a specific type of publishing is due on the last day of class. The topic needs to be chosen by the fourth week in class but may be on a topic covered later in the course. Sources need to be drawn equally from scholarly articles and news items. A minimum of 10 from type of source is required. The paper should be accompanied with an annotated bibliography.

Course Grading: 

Course Grading

488 Undergraduates



Weekly Quizzes


Weekly Search Assignment


Midterm Terminology Final


Midterm Short Answer and Essay Exam


Final Terminology Final


Final Short Answer and Essay Exam




588 Graduate Students



Weekly Quizzes


Weekly Search Assignment


Midterm Terminology Final


Midterm Short Answer and Essay Exam


Final Terminology Final


Final Short Answer and Essay Exam


Term Paper and Annotated Bibliography









Instructor’s Grade

Indication of Work

UA Grade on Transcript



Exceptional—rarely given










Very Good




Meets Expectations



Somewhat Below Expectations



Below Expectations—

Needs some imprvmt


In graduate school, a grade of C, is considered an indicator of academic trouble.



Below Expectations—

Needs improvement



Verging on Unsatisfactory





59 and below






Course Policies: 

· All written work will be evaluated for format, organization, style, grammar, and punctuation as well as content, argument, paragraph coherence as indicated by a topic sentence, and a thesis or purpose statement in the introduction as relevant.

· Written work turned in for this course is expected to be formatted in accordance with the American Psychological Association style guide, including correct citation style within the paper and in the Works Cited list.

  • The instructions for course assignments will be posted in D2L
  • Honors students will be required to do more scenarios.

Attendance, Due Dates, and Missing Work

As described above, lack of attendance or failure to stay for the entire class will earn you a zero in your participation grade for that class session.

For online only students, participation in weekly D2L question discussion forums and group forms is a basic condition of enrollment in the class, equivalent to beginning the class. Students who do not log-in to D2L and participate in the required forums during the first two weeks will be subject to administrative drop.

All holidays or special events observed by organized religions will be honored for those students who show affiliation with that particular religion.

Arriving late and leaving early is extremely disruptive to others in the class. Please avoid this kind of disruption. Late arrivals and early departures endanger your attendance and participation grade.

Exams are due during the prescribed hours. Rescheduling an exam can only occur with prior notice or in the verified emergencies mentioned above.

Course Conduct and Campus Policies (be familiar with all campus policies):

· Food and technologies are issues in classrooms. Cellular telephones are distracting, so turn them off and keep them out of sight. Laptops can be utilized, but only for note-taking purposes. Texting in class or using laptops for purposes other than note-taking will result in a zero participation grade for that week. Please follow classroom rules regarding food and beverages in the classroom.

· In that this is a safe environment for sharing and generating unique ideas, please try to be “open” to diverse perspectives and learn from others who may pose views that differ from your own. If you find course material that goes against your “grain” or beliefs, try to wrangle with new ideas and consider a variety of perspectives instead of simply rejecting ideas that do not conform immediately with your own. When sharing your own ideas, do not subject others to inappropriate language or problematic assumptions about social groups.

· Rules on academic dishonesty will be strictly enforced. Plagiarism is literary thievery, taking the words or ideas of another and representing them as your own. Do not copy another student’s work, pull text from online sources, or turn in the same work for this class that you have used in another class. All work turned in must be original and specific to this course. Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties (e.g., failing grade or removal from the University). Students are encouraged to share intellectual views and discuss freely the principles and applications of course materials. However, graded work/exercises must be the product of independent effort unless otherwise instructed. Students are expected to adhere to the UA Code of Academic Integrity .

· Arrangements can be made if you have a physical challenge or condition that could impair your participation and/or performance in this course. Please notify me immediately if you need accommodation, and register with Disability Resources so that I can make the accommodation: Disability Resources Center, 1224 East Lowell Street, Tucson, AZ 85721, (520) 621-3268, FAX (520) 621-9423, email:, You must register and request that the Center or DRC send me official notification of your accommodations needs as soon as possible. Please plan to meet with me by appointment or during office hours to discuss accommodations and how my course requirements and activities may impact your ability to fully participate. The need for accommodations must be documented by Disability Resources.

· The Arizona Board of Regents’ Student Code of Conduct, ABOR Policy 5-308, prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the University community, including to one’s self. See:

· All student records will be managed and held confidentially.

· Information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policy, may be subject to change with advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.


Technology in this Course:

This course is delivered by D2L. In addition, it will take advantage of other virtual delivery modes of information, such as databases in the library, information on the Web, and the virtual conferencing software, BlackBoard (formerly Elluminate),  Please prepare now for this experience by familiarizing yourself with D2L, the web-based courseware supporting our course and BloackBoard Collaborate, the virtual conferencing software. Training for D2L can be found online at: Training on use of the discussion board, in particular, can be found at: Help on BlackBoard Collaborator can be found at



Also, always have a back up plan. If your ‘default’ or most preferred computing location fails, be prepared to find a computer to use when you need a backup machine (i.e., familiarize yourself with services offered at local libraries, coffee shops, the ILC on campus, or office stores like Kinkos).

Contacting the Instructor:

Jana Bradley,

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences