A review of Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century by John B. Thompson. Will getting an e-reader change your life? Scott McLemee takes one step forward, two steps back. A review of Books as Weapons: Propaganda, Publishing, and the Battle for Global Markets by John B. Hench. Tim Carmody on 10 reading revolutions before e-books. Hard times for hardcovers: Jack Shafer on the fallen status of books. Every Reader a Reviewer: Barbara Hoffert on the online book conversation. Reading just for pleasure: While it is plainly true that one can read a book more or less closely (substitute a beach blanket and a daiquiri for a pencil and a desk), it is equally true that something of everything we read is retained, to be recalled, by chance more often than design, on some or another future occasion, a dinner conversation, a tutorial essay, or a game of Trivial Pursuit. A review of The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time by David L. Ulin. What’s the point of reading so many books when I can barely remember what’s in them? The idealistic view of Great Ideas — slim paperback volumes of philosophy, polemic, essays, belles-lettres — is that the existence of the series demonstrates that Penguin has not abandoned Allen Lane's notion, now 75 years old, of making excellent literature attractive through good design and reasonable pricing. Is big back? A mini-boom in big books would seem to complicate our assumptions about the Incredible Shrinking Attention Span.