Agents For Book Publishing OR Partners In Book publishing

Who are Agents For Book Publishing?

Teamwork is needed to produce a book and put it in the hands of readers. Each member of the team has a necessary part to play, and none of them
can be eliminated. Four basic elements must exist or be created if there is to be a book industry.

The first three elements are easy to understand: the author who writes the manuscript, the printer who turns the manuscripts into an edition of books, and the bookseller who sells the books thus produced. But it is the fourth partner who is in the most central position and whose job is least understand by people outside the book field: the publisher, who bring in the grand strategist and organizer of the whole undertaking, who brings the three other partners together, and who usually serves as the basic taker of the business risk of book publishing.

Those four elements of book publishing are always needed. The fact that one individual or firm may do more than one of the jobs does not change the fact that there are four jobs to be done. To take an extreme example, for sake of emphasis: suppose that a wealthy author who owns a printing plant writes a book, prints it, sells all the copies. In that case, one person would perform all four functions even that of publisher, since the same person also organized the operation, supplied the financial capital, and brought the parties together. But there were still four distinct jobs to be done: those of the author, the printer, the bookseller, and the publisher.

In areas where professional publishing has not yet developed, the authors serve as their own publishers, simply arranging with a printer to manufacture the books which the authors then sell to bookshops or directly to individual purchasers. But, to repeat, every book issued for sale has an author, printer, bookseller, and publisher. Let us now look at the functions of each and especially at the relation of the first three partners to the central figure in the partnership.

The Author

The author is the creator or formulator of the ideas to be given to the world through a book, the arranger of the words, pictures, charts, tables, and so forth, in which the ideas are to be presented. Although we usually think of the author as being as an individual, the author in a legal sense and in contract relations with a publisher may be a group or an institution or even a government.

The author is the first owner of the right to publish the work created, and will usually try to sell that right or lease it or assign it to a publisher to reproduce the manuscript in some way for distribution to the world under one or another of the business arrangements. But until permission is given to someone else, the author is the sole proprietor of the right of publication, and there is nothing to prevent the author from hiding the manuscript or burning it up rather than sharing it with the rest of the world.

The Printer

The printer is the manufacture. The printer receives the manuscript from the publisher, composes and prints and binds an edition and sends the manufactured book to the publisher. Under all normal circumstances, the printer plays no part in deciding what to print but merely does the job requested by the publisher and gets paid for it.

The printer is not a risk taker on any specific book project. The printer takes a business risk of course, in establishing a printing plant in the first place when
uncertain how much business will be, but payment for producing any specific book is a matter of firm agreement between the publisher and the printer
and does not depend (as does the profit of the publisher and the royalty income of the author) upon the sale of the book.

The Bookseller

The booksellers receive the books directly or indirectly from the publisher, buying them at a discount and selling them at a higher price to purchasers in a bookshop or in other ways. The bookseller is customarily the last person before the final purchaser in the chain that began with the author. Bookseller include not only the conventional bookshop but also all the other retail sellers of books who stand between the publisher and the ultimate consumer.

The Publisher

The publisher is the director general of the whole enterprise of book publishing. As the chart shows, the publisher is central in the general plan and has relations of some kind with each other elements. It is the publisher who receives manuscript from an author, enlists capital and engages the services of artists, translators and other editorial specialists, omissions and supervises the work of printers, and then directs the distribution to the potential market of the books thus produced.

It is the publisher who pushes the button setting the whole machinery of the book publishing process in motion.


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