It’s More Than There, Their, and They’re: The Role Of The Book Editor in Decades Past, Present Days, and the Age to Come

Open Access
Shellhamer, Emma Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Gregg Rogers, Thesis Supervisor
  • Marcy North, Honors Advisor
  • editing
  • publishing
  • editor
  • book
  • English
Today’s book editor finds him or herself in a matchless moment of publishing history. Over the course of the last century, the demands of the job have shifted to compliment the ever-growing changes in our society, and they will only continue to change as we embark upon a future of technological advancement. Such revelations beg the question: What does it mean to be an editor in the publishing world today? What did it mean one decade ago, three decades ago, or six decades ago? How have the requirements of the job altered over time, and how are they transforming now? What do those currently immersed in the industry predict the career will look like just ten years into the future? What is the necessary skillset for someone interested in entering the industry in its current state? Drawing from historical and editorial theory research and interviews with current editors and professionals in the industry, this thesis aims to engage with, analyze, elucidate, and celebrate the career of the editor at a most unique point in its history. In depicting how editors manage their complex roles as supporter, advocate, marketer, copyreader, modifier, designer, and businessperson, readers will gain an introspective and widespread overview of the career path through the lenses of the past, the present, and the future.