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In this book the first major study of trade publishing for more than thirty years - Thompson situates the current challenges facing the industry in a historical context, analysing the transformation of trade publishing in the United States and Britain since the 1960's. He gives a detailed account of how the world of trade publishing really works, dissecting the roles of publishers, agents and booksellers and showing how their practices are shaped by a field that has a distinctive structure and dynamic. By reconstructing this dynamic he is able to shed fresh light on how bestsellers are made and on why many thousands of books and authors find themselves marooned in an industry increasingly focused on short-term growth and profitability. Against this backcloth Thompson analyses the impact of the digital revolution on book publishing and examines the pressures both economic and technological that are re-shaping the field of trade publishing today.