This volume is based on a special issue of Logos that grew out of a meeting of an international group of book trade hands. It is the first broad-scale account and assessment of the commercial aspects of the U.S. book trade from publisher to library by way of book dealers and wholesalers. Two major phenomena, concentration into larger units and concern about the electronic future, are recurring themes in this collection. Concentration characterizes bookselling as much as publishing, and the electronic future preoccupies librarians even more than publishers.
Chapters and contributors to The Book in the United States Today include: "A Religious Country Reflected in its Publishing Industry" by Werner Mark Linz; "Children's Books: 500 Million a Year" by Charles E. Gates; "U.S. School Publishing" by Cameron S. Moseley; "The Paperback Conquest of America" by Betty Ballantine; "Medical Publishing in the U.S." by Eric J. Newman; "The U.S. College Textbook" by Robert R. Worth; "The American University Library" by Hendrik Edelman; and "Between Academe and the Marketplace: University Presses Face the 21st Century" by Naomi B. Pascal.
In the postscript, Gordon Graham discusses one of the defects of the U.S. book industry today, a shortage of collective memory. The common ground of the industry, he writes, is seen in securing legal rights and political advantage, not in any ideological attachment to the shared product, its history or its culture. The Book in the United States Today provides important information for publishers, librarians, authors, and book sellers.