Reluctant Capitalists Bookselling and the Culture of Consumption

ISBN-10: 0226525910
ISBN-13: 9780226525914
Edition: 2007
Authors: Laura J. Miller
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Description: Over the past half-century, bookselling, like many retail industries, has evolved from an arena dominated by independent bookstores to one in which chain stores have significant market share. Yet unlike other retail industries, bookselling, many  More...

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Book details

List price: $30.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 5/15/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 328
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

Over the past half-century, bookselling, like many retail industries, has evolved from an arena dominated by independent bookstores to one in which chain stores have significant market share. Yet unlike other retail industries, bookselling, many people believe, should be "above" questions of profit. In "Reluctant Capitalists", Laura J. Miller investigates what drives this belief and how it is affected by the changing retail environment. Miller argues that the independent/chain dynamic is not entirely new--it started a century ago when department stores began selling books and has culminated in the advent of Internet marketplaces. Miller uses interviews with bookstore customers and members of the book industry to explore how these changes have met resistance from book professionals and readers who believe that the book business should somehow be ethically superior to market forces. In the process, she also teases out the meanings of retailing and consumption in American culture at large, underscoring her point that any type of consumer behavior is inevitably political, with consequences for communities as well as commercial institutions. "Chain superstores, notes Laura J. Miller's fascinating new study "Reluctant Capitalists: Bookselling and the Culture of Consumption", are the latest manifestation of a centuries-old struggle between bookselling Davids and Goliaths--a battle over where Americans actually shop versus stores with, Miller tartly notes, 'a style of retailing that Americans at least profess tomiss.'"--"Voice Literary Supplement"

Acknowledgments
Commercial Culture and Its Discontents
From Dry Goods Merchant to Internet Mogul: Bookselling through American History
Providing for the Sovereign Consumer: Selecting and Recommending Books
Designing the Bookstore for the Standardized Consumer
Serving the Entertained Consumer: The Multifunction Bookstore
Bargaining with the Rational Consumer: Selling the Low-Cost Book
The Revolt of the Retailers: Independent Bookseller Activism
Pursuing the Citizen-Consumer: Consumption as Politics
Ownership Histories of Major American Chain Bookstores
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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