Publication of the Oxford Companion to the Book

January 30th, 2010 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Publication of the Oxford Companion to the Book
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OCBThis week, Oxford University Press published the Oxford Companion to the Book, a two-volume reference work covering all aspects of book culture, including publishing, printing, reading and authorship, from ancient times to the present day.

Edited by Michael F. Suarez S.J. and H.R. Woudhuysen, the volumes begin with overview essays on subjects including the technologies and economics of print, children’s books and the electronic book, as well as chapters on books and publishing in different countries and regions around the world. The work then has over 5000 encyclopaedia entries, with definitions and descriptions ranging from the accordion book to the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, by way of mini-histories of Faber & Faber, the Harry Potter phenomenon, and even the telephone directory.

A publishing feat in itself, the Oxford Companion to the Book contains over a million words, and is the work of two general editors, around 30 associate and assistant editors, nearly 400 scholars, and a staff team at OUP. Claire Squires, Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, was the Associate Editor with responsibility for the Twentieth Century Book in Britain, and wrote the overview essay ‘The History of the Book in Britain from 1914’.

The reference work has already received rave reviews from the Sunday Times (‘fabulous … monumental … beautiful’) and the Sunday Telegraph (‘an extraordinary tribute to a revolutionary invention … magnificent’).

My Publishing Dream Come True…

January 30th, 2010 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on My Publishing Dream Come True…
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ContinuumI began the MLitt in Publishing Studies at Stirling in September 2009. Before October 1st had passed there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that the publishing industry is exactly where I want to be. It was the most wonderful realisation – excitement and happiness with the place I found myself at twenty-one years of age. Here I don’t simply refer to place as location but as a state of mind.

With each passing week I find myself more and more enthused by the career possibilities in my future. This happiness was increased immeasurably last week when, as a publisher and traveller, a personal dream came through. This coming summer I will be moving to New York for a few months to take up an internship with Continuum, a publishing house mostly concerned with academic publishing. Perhaps for some my excitement over an unpaid internship may seem a little over the top. But to be honest, I don’t care! This is the kind of opportunity I have been working for my whole life. I may not have realised it before but this is my dream come true and no one or no thing will ever take that from me now. As a publishing student I feel that this is the most wonderful opportunity that could have come my way.

So bring it on – visas flight booking and all the other necessary preparations cause come June, after graduation, I’m leaving on a jet plane!

— Helena O’Leary

All hail the Apple Tablet…?

January 27th, 2010 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | 15 Comments
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It’s widely reported in the media that Apple will ”unveil’ the long-rumoured Apple Tablet today, which may or may not deliver the iPod moment for e-books, revolutionise digital publishing, and be the saviour of the newspaper industry. Hotly awaited, the Tablet will add to Apple’s desirability in the world of technology (or will it?).

All promises to be revealed  in San Francisco at 1800 GMT.

What do you think?

Edinburgh City Reads, Iain (M.) Banks

January 24th, 2010 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Edinburgh City Reads, Iain (M.) Banks
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Edinburgh Central Library hosted the second of its Edinburgh City Reads events just before Christmas, with a reading by Iain Banks from his new novel Transition, followed by an interview from Alan Taylor and a question and answer session.

There was a very relaxed atmosphere in the Reading Room of the library when we arrived, despite choosing seats right next to a camera, where my embarrassing laugh was a risk of national exposure. Perhaps the wine helped. After reading the prologue from his new book, questions from Alan Taylor and a member of the audience encouraged Iain to speak about marketing books in the science-fiction genre as well as the fiction. Iain Banks has written 24 books, split pretty much evenly between the two, but uses the name Iain M. Banks for his sci-fi books and Iain Banks for fiction. Initially, his publisher discouraged him from using ‘M. Banks’, saying it was “too fussy” and because of its association with Rosie M. Banks (Wodehouse character). In time he settled into using it as his science fiction pen name, considering it American-sounding and also simply a better name to promote science fiction under.

Despite having achieved acclaim in both genres, the number of fans crossing over between his styles (particularly towards science fiction) may be slim. Iain joked about the snobbery involved in picking up a book and being repelled on discovery that it contains parallel universes or quantum physics. It would be interesting to know how sales of his books would have fared had they all been published either with or without the M (which stands for Menzies, by the way, and there are a couple of funny stories to go with it). This point is of practical concern to Little, Brown and Company, as it is the first of Iain Bank’s novels in which the requirement of an ‘M.’ is debatable. ‘Transition’ contains the multiverse theory that each event that occurs involves a different event occurring in another possible world. Several characters in the novel can travel between these infinite variations.

It sounds incredibly complicated, but reviews suggest that Banks’ latest book will be a success with fans. I wonder how well exposed it will be to his science fiction fans, who may choose not to bother after noticing the absent ‘M.’

Later there was time for a few questions from the audience. Having dared my girlfriend to ask “Where do you get your ideas from?” which we considered to be the most embarrassing question possible, we were both spared the effort when a woman in the front row spoke about multiverse theory for a couple of awkward gap-filled minutes before finishing with the noticeable absence of a question mark. The microphone was taken from her and given to a man who asked to what extent Iain was aided by drugs in his writing. I knew he was a keen whisky drinker (and he now does no other drugs, excluding the espresso machine), but the answer that followed was so open and frank that at first I wondered if he knew the camera was there, and then just found him more likeable.

I went to the event having only read Iain Banks’ first novel, The Wasp Factory, but will gladly go to see him at other readings and am now looking out both for books by Iain Banks, and by Iain M. Banks.

— Alistair Coats

Scottish Network of Modernist Studies meeting, 30 January 2010

January 22nd, 2010 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Scottish Network of Modernist Studies meeting, 30 January 2010

SNoMs event

A meeting of the Scottish Network of Modernist Studies will be held at the University of Stirling on 30 January 2010. The meeting will include a discussion on ‘Publishing Modernism’, led by Professor Claire Squires, Director of the Stirling Centre of International Publishing and Communication, and Dr Matthew Creasy, University of Glasgow.

Full details of the programme can be found here.

The Man Inside the Jacket

January 20th, 2010 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Man Inside the Jacket

It seems a strange concept to explain to anyone unaware of Tayto crisps – an Irish potato crisp company so well established the brand is now recognised unofficially as a signature food of Ireland – by us Irish anyway. Well anyway, on the front of each crisp packet is the figure of a potato dressed in a red coat and top hat who is referred to as Mr. Tayto. The crisp company’s marketing department have, over the years, created quite a character of Mr. Tayto. For example, twThe Man Inside the Jacketo years ago in the lead up to Ireland’s governmental elections Mr. Tayto ran for parliament and last year a nationwide campaign was held to find him a wife. The marketing campaigns are so effective it can sometimes be easy to forget that Mr. Tayto is a fictional character.

But I digress… the intention of this article is to make you aware of the Tayto company’s latest (and brilliant) campaign. In October 2009 Mr. Tayto released a book entitled The Man Inside the Jacket. The book serves as a ‘biography’ of Mr. Tayto’s life. Billboards advertising the book read things like “read all about my wild nights in the sack!”. Out of curiosity I bought the book while at home over Christmas. I found it to be full of funny (often cringe-worthy) puns and innuendos. It is definitely worth the read, purely for the originality of the concept. The marketing strategy undoubtedly worked… in the Christmas sales Mr. Tayto’s The Man Inside the Jacket reached number three on the Irish Times bestsellers list.


Helena O’Leary