Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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The Changing World of Publishing: Conversation with Donald S. Lamm, Chair, W.W.Norton Publishing Co., by Harry Kreisler, 2/5/98

Photo by L. Carper

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Donald Lamm, who is chairman of W.W. Norton, an independent and employee-owned publishing house. Mr. Lamm is the 1998 Regents' Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  1. Background ... education ... love of books ... early influences ... the road not taken
  2. W.W. Norton ... joining Norton ... the founders ... roots in public education ... publisher of Freud ... employee owned
  3. What Does a Publisher Do? ... golden age of publishing ... taste, intuition, and experience
  4. Changes in Publishing ... conglomerates ... nurturing The Ugly American ... the delusion of bidding wars
  5. Books and the Marketplace ... universities ... libraries
  6. Authors ... care and feeding ... huge advances ... the new importance of agents ... surviving as an author
  7. The New Technologies ... theft of copyrighted works ... unexpected promotion ... online booksellers
  8. The Future of Independent Booksellers ... word of mouth ... a community following ... competing with superstores
  9. The Will to Read ... a "horror scenario" ... longevity of books in culture
  10. Conclusion ... advice to aspiring writers ... advice to aspiring publishers

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