It would appear that the book as a cultural institution is in danger of extinction. Indeed, there are those who assert that computer technology has made the library obsolete. But while important books may be read by a diminishing minority, it is a demanding and significant minority that can be disregarded only at great peril.

Now, it is true that the printing, publication, and distribution of books are clearly in crisis. While more books than ever are being published, Sir Thomas Gresham's law telling us that bad money drives out the good applies with equal force to books.

It is an irony that, while modern technology has created electronic typesetting and printing--which, whenever used, have dramatically reduced the cost of book production--the intensive labor, paper, distribution, and marketing expen- ses have, at the same time, risen so steeply as to jeopardize the long-term survival of the printed book as a...

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