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Book Value Categories and the Acceptance of Technological Changes in English Book Production

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Simon Rosenberg

For more than 20 years now, the publishing industry has been highly influenced by innovations in digital technology. This is not the first time that technological changes affect the book trade. Both the printing press and industrialized production methods vitally changed the book industry in their time. With a macroscopic, comparative approach, this book looks at the transitional phases of the book of the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries to locate distinctive patterns in the acceptance of new technologies. Using specific book value categories, which shape the acceptance context of innovations in book production, helps us find continuities and discontinuities of these patterns. It also offers a better understanding of current developments in publishing in the digital age.

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Acknowledgement

Acknowledgement

This book is a revised (and slightly extended) version of my dissertation that was accepted by the Philosophische Fakultät of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster in 2013. I am grateful for the support of this publication by the Open Access Publication Fund of the University of Münster.

As Peter Gabriel once said “There are very few books written by a committee, and for a very good reason.” Yet, from the very first ideas all the way to the published physical object, the number of people that helped me with this one is staggering. First and foremost, I would like to thank my first supervisor, Prof. Dr. Gabriele Müller-Oberhäuser, for her continued support, trust and especially for her many, many critical questions that made this book so much better. Prof. Adriaan van der Weel, Leiden University, was very kind to act as my second supervisor and was a crucial support for this publication, especially concerning the last chapter of this book. I would also like to thank Prof. Hermann Josef Real of the Ehrenpreis Centre for Swift Studies and Prof. Bernfried Nugel for, among other things, accepting my book in their series “Münster Monographs on English Literature.”

Colleagues, fellow PhD-students and student assistants from my days at the Institut für Buchwissenschaft & Textforschung and the English Department at the WWU, too many to mention, backed me in all their different ways. (You know who you are.) I would like to thank especially Birgit Hötker-Bolte for being not only a great administrator, but also friend, who never tired of reminding me to finish this book. Further special thanks are in order for Dr. Sandra Simon, who has read huge parts of early drafts of this book (when she was supposed to be writing hers) and steered my work in a better direction.

I would also like to thank my friends who supported my years as a PhD student in the way only friends can. Apart from sharing the ‘occasional’ bottle of red wine, Dr. Kai Elprana in particular offered many hours of conversations about revisions (“How much time do you have?”). His curiosity about this project left him knowing a surprising amount about the fifteenth-century book trade in England. (You’re welcome!)

My proofreaders during the final stages were kind enough to offer quick and vital help on, at times, very short notice. Ellen Barth, M. A., Sue Kummer and especially Erin Kummer, M. A. deserve a special mention. Thank you very much for turning my sometimes-erratic English sentences into decent English. All remaining errors are entirely my own.

Buchwissenschaft ist selten eine Garantie für eine erfolgreiche Karriere, die zum ökonomischen Reichtum führt. Glücklicherweise gab es zwei Menschen, die niemals meine Entscheidung anzweifelten oder mich von meinem Weg abbringen wollten. Ihre Unterstützung war die wesentlichste. Daher möchte ich dieses Buch Barbara und Werner Rosenberg, meinen Eltern, widmen.