Friday, December 6, 2013

Innovation in Book Publishing, 1980s Style

Photo by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid under Creative Commons.
While researching a future installment of Historicist, I came across this nugget in the acknowledgements section of one of my resources. It's not clear if this particular passage relates to original 1984 edition of James C. Worthy's Shaping an American Institution: Robert E. Wood and Sears, Roebuck, or the 1986 update I'm using:

This book was readied for publication during a period of major technological innovation in the publishing industry. While early versions of the manuscript were typed in traditional fashion by [name of typist], subsequent versions, including the final one, were prepared on a sophisticated word processor by [name of typist]. Instead of a typed manuscript, the University of Illinois Press received a set of floppy disks from which type was set by electronic means, thereby materially reducing the time and costs of manufacturing this book.
Who wants to place odds that 30 years from now, a reader will chuckle at the notion of my typing this post in the "compose" screen of a publishing site, or that I file articles via platforms like WordPress?

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