The success of e-books is affecting all aspects of the publishing industry, recently leading to a change in the material discussed at Columbia’s Publishing Course, a annual six-week summer session to educate college graduates on book editing, sales, cover design and publicity. This year, the course focused on “The Digital Future” of publishing and the transition to e-books. The course, which deems itself the “shortest graduate school in the country,” provides students with lectures and panels explaining the industry’s basics, and then requires them to form their own fictional publishing houses, ultimately selling their finished products days later to industry professionals.
The course began in 1947 at Radcliffe College, but was moved to Columbia in 2001 after Radcliffe merged with Harvard University. The course’s director Lindy Hess says to The New York Times, “My philosophy is for the course to reflect the industry as it is, so students graduate and they know exactly what’s happening. Students have to learn all the old stuff and get a grasp on the digital world.”