Rich Adin is starting a series on this on his An American Editor Blog. While I think it’s a bit off topic to reprint them in full here, the articles are worth reading for Rich’s usual thoughtful attitude towards books and what surrounds them. I suggest you go over and take a look. Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the first one:
I have been thinking about what goes into my decision whether or not to buy a particular book. An ever-increasing numbers of books are available every year — enough to overwhelm any dedicated book buyer. I suspect that the only time the decision was (relatively) easy was in the days of scribal versions and the early days of the printing press and moveable type. I recall reading that even at the time of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, thousands of books and pamphlets were being written and published every year.