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History of the Book 2: The Publisher’s Secret


Admission requirements

Course open to BDMS students (and BDMS exchange students) only. All others should contact the course lecturer.


This special course deals with the historical role of the publisher. Some of the questions that will be discussed are: What functions did the publisher have in the past; what was his relation whith his author(s); how did he finance his business; to what extent was he able to reduce his risk; what strategies did he use to reach his clientele; what were his relations with other publishers?

Course objectives

  1. To learn how to do book historical research by (critcally) using primary source material and secondary literature;

  2. To learn how to write a book historical research paper.

  3. To develop an awareness and understanding of the similarities and differences between publishing today and in the past.

Time table

The timetable will be available by June 1 on the website

Mode of instruction

Research seminar, starting with introductory lectures, followed by weekly research meetings and oral presentations.

Course load

The course load of this course is 140 hours.

  • hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 30;

  • time to do research, write a paper and prepare and oral presentation: 110.

Assessment method

Written assignment (75%); oral presentation (25%).
To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
1) the final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average;
2) the final grade for the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average combined with (ii) additional requirements. These additional requirements generally relate to one or more of the subtests which always have to be sufficient.

In the case of a fail, you are entitled to resit the written examination.


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

  • Eliot, Simon, & Jonathan Rose (eds.), A Companion to the History of the Book (Blackwell, 2009).

  • Unwin, Sir Stanley, The Truth about Publishing (Guildford: Lyons Press, 1995).

  • Specific secondary literature, on the basis of the individual student’s chosen subject.


Enrollment through uSis is mandatory. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable

Contact details

Media Studies student administration, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;

Coordinator of studies: Ms S.J. de Kok, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 3, room 1.01b.