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This ground-breaking study, the first of its kind, outlines a theory of publishing that allows publishing houses to focus on their core competencies in times of crisis. Tracing the history of publishing from the press works of fifteenth-century Germany to twenty-first-century Silicon Valley, via Venice, Beijing, Paris and London, and fusing media theory and business experience, The Content Machine: Towards a Theory of Publishing from the Printing Press to the Digital Network offers a new understanding of content, publishing and technology, and defiantly answers those who contend that publishing has no future in a digital age.