From the Beginning of Paperless Bookstm To Their Future

Photo of J. Neil Schulman
Book Publishing in the 21st Century contains a paradox. It's a book that talks about the future but which takes place in the past. So, it will be of as much interest to anyone interested in the history of "paperless" book publishing as it is to anyone who's interested in its future.

On April 1, 1991, J. Neil Schulman began teaching a class for The New School in New York which ended in June, 1991. The title of the class was "Book Publishing in the 21st Century." The class was part of a Masters program in Media Studies, and students ranged from a vice president with the largest book publisher on the east coast, to TV and radio news executives, to a computer company sales executive going for an MBA. All of the students lived in the New York area.

J. Neil Schulman was living in Hollywood at the time he taught the course, and never left Los Angeles for its duration.

What solves this mystery is that the class was taught via a computer conferencing program which Connected Education, Inc., of New York City ran under contract to The New School. Schulman sat at his computer and dialed up a computer in New Jersey via modem, and so did the students. The "classroom" was a computer messaging system. Schulman left messages for the students; they left messages for him.

Book Publishing in the 21st Century is the record of J. Neil Schulman's course material -- the messages he left for the students.

As founder and first president of SoftServ Publishing, the first company to offer paperless bookstm by major authors via download by modem--even before he started Pulpless.Comtm-- Schulman's witty though comprehensive approach asks what the impact of computer communications will be on the print publishing industry. He includes as part of the course his original business plan for SoftServ, and additional articles of his related to the course topics.

The new Pulpless.Comtm edition contains a brand-new foreword by J. Neil Schulman and an entire second volume with almost five megabytes (when decompressed) of additional material!

In this second volume, pulled together for the very first time, is the complete documentation of SoftServ Publishing, including all the public discussion topics drawn from the SoftServ RoundTable on GEnie, the SoftServ Publishing Toolkit used by its affiliated publishers and authors, and transcripts of Real Time conferences.

In this massive collection, you'll find discussions with such authors as Robert Anton Wilson, L. Neil Smith, and Jon Rappoport, and article-length messages by Victor Koman. You'll see the topic where Keith Kirts (author of the "Hawk" trilogy) was writing a novel online, posting a new chapter every day.

If you want to know whether the book you buy in the twenty- first century will be bound and printed -- or as text which you read from a pocket-size electronic screen -- this paperless book will tell you ... and it will show you how the first serious attempt to do it fared.

About the Author

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