It seems like much of the current hand-wringing over e-books stems from the difference between two types of readers. On the one hand, there are those who see paper books mainly as outdated sources of information, easily replaced by a device. On the other, there are those who see books as worthwhile objects in themselves, carrying not only information, but unique aesthetic and tactile experiences, as well as personal memories (the trip where it was bought, the friend who recommended it).

They also carry the stories of the often large group of people it took to bring it all together (publishers, authors, agents, designers, printers, typographers, etc.). Perhaps rich histories of e-publishing will someday delight future generations -stories of how staff were cut, product made more uniform, costs brought down- tales of breathtaking efficiency. For now, I'll take publishers' histories of the traditional sort, the ones with all those inefficient personalities working to make something beautiful and lasting. Above are a few I've enjoyed over the last few years, along with biographies of some very entertaining insiders.

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