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It seems typical for the United States that what could be called publishing science is very near to the practical and professional fields of book production and distributing. Also, it would be very near to the transformations that computer technology and online publishing bring to the publishing industry. In Germany, however, things are taken more in principle and more historically--therefore the university programs are offered under the label "Buchwissenschaft" or the study and knowledge of the book. Of course we also have programs that are near to the practice of bookselling and publishing, but these are offered only at the Fachhochschulen (Advanced Technical Colleges) in Leipzig and Stuttgart. The dichotomy between academic theory and professional practice has its roots in concepts of educational systems developed in the 19th century.
How to translate the German term "Buchwissenschaft" into American English? Book production has to do with natural sciences insofar as the materials (paper, binder's board, stitching and glue) have chemical structures. Or with technical sciences in regard to the printing machines involved. Publishing and bookselling are fields of business. The relations between author, publisher, and audience can be analyzed with tools of social sciences or cultural studies. Last but not least the book can be subject of media and information sciences. So how to name the studies that relate to the book? "Book science," "book studies," " publishing science," "library and information science," "publishing and communications," "business of book publishing," or what?
In German university programs the pragmatic approach is only a small segment of studies, which is quite different from the example of the "Center for Publishing" within New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. In our country the approach to the study of the book goes deeper. "Buchwesen" (essence or substance of the book) was the term noted, and already in 1949 a faculty chair for "Buchwesen" was established at the Gutenberg University in Mainz. The concept in Mainz was orientated historically to Gutenberg's era as the Golden Age of the German Buchwesen. As early as in 1926 volume 1 of the "Gutenberg-Jahrbuch" had been published in Mainz. Up to the present, the …