The Organization of Book-Publishing Houses in a Changing Era

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The printed book in a hybrid environment is still a privileged medium. During recent decades, significant changes have taken place in the publishing industry worldwide. This paper looks into the structural organization of large publishing houses to offer a detailed examination of the editorial department and the role of the editor. Relevant literature is reviewed and empirical evidence is presented. Empirical research examined the organization of publishing companies and existing departments, focusing on the responsibilities of the editor and the editorial department. The survey took place in May to June 2010 and included all large publishing houses in Greece, i.e. those which publish over 80 titles annually. The survey found that the organization of these publishing companies is influenced most significantly by the their familyowned and -managed structure as well as by advances in information technology. Novel organizational entities for electronic production, promotion, distribution, and advertisement are making their presence felt. The editorial department remains important in this framework, and the editors are, among other things, responsible for book selection and list-building. However, the role of the editor in Greece, although significant, is often not clearly defined, and may even be underestimated, owing to the structure of the industry, the family-managed publishing companies, and the central role of the publisher. The Greek book-publishing industry remains small, limited by the number of Greek-speakers, and the results presented may be representative of small industries that furthermore face economic recession. This is one of very few studies providing theoretical and survey results for the organizational structure of publishing houses.

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