The Late Age of Print

Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control

Ted Striphas

Columbia University Press

The Late Age of Print

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Pub Date: January 2011

ISBN: 9780231148153

272 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $26.00£22.00

Pub Date: April 2009

ISBN: 9780231148146

272 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $75.00£63.00

Pub Date: April 2009

ISBN: 9780231519649

272 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $25.99£22.00

The Late Age of Print

Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control

Ted Striphas

Columbia University Press

Ted Striphas argues that, although the production and propagation of books have undoubtedly entered a new phase, printed works are still very much a part of our everyday lives. With examples from trade journals, news media, films, advertisements, and a host of other commercial and scholarly materials, Striphas tells a story of modern publishing that proves, even in a rapidly digitizing world, books are anything but dead.

From the rise of retail superstores to Oprah's phenomenal reach, Striphas tracks the methods through which the book industry has adapted (or has failed to adapt) to rapid changes in twentieth-century print culture. Barnes & Noble, Borders, and have established new routes of traffic in and around books, and pop sensations like Harry Potter and the Oprah Book Club have inspired the kind of brand loyalty that could only make advertisers swoon. At the same time, advances in digital technology have presented the book industry with extraordinary threats and unique opportunities.

Striphas's provocative analysis offers a counternarrative to those who either triumphantly declare the end of printed books or deeply mourn their passing. With wit and brilliant insight, he isolates the invisible processes through which books have come to mediate our social interactions and influence our habits of consumption, integrating themselves into our routines and intellects like never before.

The Late Age of Print is exciting, clear, topical, interesting, and important. Ted Striphas has a voracious curiosity and is a great finder of material. How many of us have reflected on the history of bookshelves or have bothered to understand the mechanics of ISBN numbers or their political-economic-intellectual significance? Who knew the full story behind Oprah's Book Club, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble? This book provides a fine overview of the best English-language scholarship on books and print culture. Tackling the broad meaning of books over the past century, it says something broader about life in our era. Striphas gives the best integrated overview of the book in our moment and participates in public debates about education, literature, culture, and capitalism.

John Durham Peters, University of Iowa, and author of Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition

Neither overly alarmist nor excessively nostalgic about the fate of books in a digital age, The Late Age of Print provides a lucid, balanced view of how books are changing in response to a fast-evolving media environment. Ted Striphas proves to be a highly reliable guide to the question of what might happen to books and book reading in the years to come. He will interest anyone who has ever wondered how writing and reading will be conducted in the future.

Janice Radway, Northwestern University, and author of A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire

I thought I understood American publishing. After reading this work, I am struck by how little I actually knew.

Siva Vaidhyanathan, University of Virginia, and author of The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System

This collection of historical and commercial analysis should fascinate those seriously involved with book culture and/or the industry.

Publishers Weekly

Forget the premature obituaries for books and reading. Striphas insists that books remain a vital presence in the twenty-first century.


The Late Age of Print is an important history of the book and their impact on (mostly) American culture.

Sacramento Book Review

It is rare to say of a university press hardcover that it is a "must-read," but for those interested in the confluence of culture and economics as it relates to books, that is what The Late Age of Print is.

Richard Nash, Critical Flame

This book is a gold mine of information and thought about book culture in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Gwen M. Gregory, Information Today

A solid work of scholarship that fills in several significant gaps... Highly Recommended.


A magnificent achievement that makes a compelling series of arguments about the continuing importance of books and book publishing.

Publishing Research Quarterly

Striphas does an excellent job.

Alan Jacobs, Books and Culture

What is it that you purchase when you buy a book? In describing the answer, [Striphas]is admirably clear about the choices publishers or booksellers made, and why.

Technology and Culture
Introduction: The Late Age of Print
1. E-books and the Digital Future
2. The Big-Box Bookstore Blues
3. Bringing Bookland Online
4. Literature as Life on Oprah's Book Club
5. Harry Potter and the Culture of the Copy
Conclusion: From Consumerism to Control
Web Features:Watch a video of Ted Striphas discussing The Late Age of Print

Winner of the Outstanding Book Award from the National Communication Association's Critical Cultural Studies Division

About the Author

Ted Striphas is assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Culture and adjunct professor of American Studies and Cultural Studies at Indiana University. He is the coeditor of the book Communication as... : Perspectives on Theory and a special issue on intellectual property published by the journal Cultural Studies. To learn more, visit his Web site at