Once upon a time, I thought that the book I bought in the booksbop was the book the author wrote. Yes, silly I know, but my earliest literary training skimmed over the issues of editorship, marketing, book cover/design and the lies and damned lies of best-seller lists. Then one day I read an anecdote in which an author (Amelia E. Barr) recalled that a printer at the New York Ledger (printer mind you, not editor) bad changed 'Calvinist' for ' Presbyterian ' . Sassenach that I am, even I knew that such an alteration changed the tenor of the remarks about a very Scottish serial, its reception, and so on. Paper Empires: A History of the Book in Australia 1946-2005 reminds readers of the complexity of the book industry.
The book is divided into three sections - The Rise of Publishing, Book Business, and Reaching Readers - each of which contains an introduction, a number of chapters, and several case studies. Case studies is a slightly misleading term, for in fact, each case study is about two to three pages in length. This format means that the book covers more topics than the section headings suggest; for those wanting to know more, the Notes on Sources has further reading suggestions.