In literate societies, publication is a major mode of the dissemination of knowledge. Far from being a neutral middleman in this process, the publisher influences both the production and consumption of intellectual works. The publisher forms an important part of the institutional setting in which authorship takes place. By commis- sioning authors to write some works, and through his influence at the editorial stage, the publisher influences the content of what is written. The publisher acts as a gatekeeper, determining which works will be made avail- able to the public. He oversees the reproduction of works in multiple copies, determining the kind of book which is made from a work. Although normally not responsible for the distribution of books to consumers, the publisher plays a role in distribution both across geographical space and to different groups of readers. Through his role at the stages of production, assessment, reproduction and distribution, the publisher influences the consumption of knowledge. However, consumers also influence the publisher, and the publisher's decisions are made in light of his conception of the audience.
Library and Information Science
Neavill, G. B. (1975). Role of the publisher in the dissemination of knowledge. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 421(1), 23-31. doi: 10.1177/000271627542100104