The Untold Story of Books

A Writer's History of Publishing

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Pub Date Jul 02 2024 | Archive Date Jul 01 2024
Unnamed Press | The Unnamed Press

Description

"Bibliophiles will be enthralled.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

From Gutenberg to Amazon, Michael Castleman’s The Untold Story of Books is the first and only history of publishing told from a veteran author’s point of view. Witty, entertaining, and full of remarkable new insights, it is a deeply researched, fascinating history of the idiosyncratic book business—aimed at authors, aspiring authors, booksellers, industry professionals, and everyone who loves to read books. 

Organized into three distinct book businesses, all defined by the evolution of printing, The Untold Story of Books explores how each new book business upended its predecessor, forcing authors, publishers, and booksellers to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. It’s a story full of surprises: why did books become favored Christmas presents? Because of a poem written in 1823. Why is New York the nation’s publishing capital? Because of the Erie Canal. Why are book endorsements called “blurbs”? Because of a satirist’s joke in 1907. And why is copyright often an illusion? Because publishing was founded on book piracy, which today is easier and more rampant than ever. 

Arriving at the present day, Castleman paints a compelling portrait of an evolving book business full of new promise and peril.

Michael Castleman grew up in Malverne, NY, a Long Island suburb of New York City. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan, and earned an M.A. in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. He has lived in San Francisco since 1975. 

"Bibliophiles will be enthralled.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

From Gutenberg to Amazon, Michael Castleman’s The Untold Story of Books is the first and only history of publishing told from a veteran author’s...


Advance Praise

“Entertaining, fascinating, deeply researched, and crisply written, The Untold Story of Books is full of surprises. I worked in publishing for thirty years and was amazed how much I learned about the industry. No other book provides such a comprehensive and witty overview. The Untold Story of Books is a must-read for authors, aspiring authors, and anyone who loves books. The publishing industry is often shrouded in mystery. This book lifts the veil and provides a fresh, new, compelling perspective.” —Mark Chimsky, former editorial director of Harper San Francisco, former director of trade paperbacks at Little Brown, and former editor-in-chief of the trade paperback division at Macmillan

“Castleman has created a unique, highly readable title… It’s delightful the way he relates the history of the technological innovations that have propelled book publishing. One of my favorite elements is the way he explains the economics of publishing from a writer's point of view. I’ll be telling many people about The Untold Story of Books. It’s a tremendous contribution.” —Laura Lent, former chief of collections at San Francisco Public Library

“Quirky, comprehensive, opinionated, and massively entertaining, The Untold Story of Books combines Castleman’s fifty years of bittersweet experience as an author with his vivid, amusing history of book publishing. Castleman beautifully conveys the essence of writing—of creating—today.” —Daniel Ben-Horin, author of Substantial Justice

“The Untold Story is excellent: fun, amazingly comprehensive, surprisingly informative, and often amusing. A great read.” —Jeffrey Klein, author of The Black Hole Affair, and former editor-in-chief of Mother Jones magazine

“The Untold Story of Books is full of fascinating and entertaining history, most of which was new to me, plus a comprehensive and realistic (if sometimes discouraging) picture of what is happening in book publishing today. Past and present—all informative and enjoyable!” —Gillian Roberts, author of the Amanda Pepper mysteries

“Entertaining, fascinating, deeply researched, and crisply written, The Untold Story of Books is full of surprises. I worked in publishing for thirty years and was amazed how much I learned about the...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781961884083
PRICE $18.00 (USD)
PAGES 270

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