Banned Books Advent Calendar

December 20th, 2011 by Katherine_Spiker | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Banned Books Advent Calendar
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When you think of an advent calendar, the first thing that comes to mind Is Christmas (and possibly chocolate). Banned books are definitely something that is not generally associated with this holiday tradition. However, the International Federation of Library Associations as created the worlds fist video Banned Book Advent Calendar.

This unique advent calendar works exactly the same way a traditional advent calendar works. Each day a new video is posted on sites like youtube and vimeo around the world, and highlighting a book that has once been banned in different parts of the world. The books in question have so far been very different and banned for different reasons. There have been obvious titles such as Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler and more surprising titles like Charlie and the Chocolate Factor by Roald Dahl. Many of the books in the calendar were banned because they were deemed too obscene or too graphic for readers. Others such as Mein Kampf were feared and hated because of what they represented.

It doesn’t matter why the books were banned. The fact that they were banned highlights censorship throughout history as well as in our modern world. This video calendar is overthrowing that stigma and celebrating the right of freedom of speech. The first twenty days of December has showcased books that have certainly left their mark on history. The last few days before Christmas is sure to be equally as captivating.

– Katie Spiker

Stephanie Quick, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2011-2012

December 19th, 2011 by Stephanie Quick | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Stephanie Quick, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2011-2012

After four years of set reading lists structured around eight academic semesters and nearly twenty modules, I finally surfaced from my undergraduate existence with a BA Honours in English Studies, in June 2011. I had hoped my hunger for reading would have been satisfied (exhausted even), but this was not the case. Some may argue however, that having reached for a Stephanie Meyer title hours after submitting my dissertation, I had exhausted a hunger for a certain type of literature (I was simply relieved to read something not laced with hidden metaphorical or contextual meaning). Following a brainstorming session with a careers counsellor I found myself staring at a list of apparent skills and interests, a disorientating list from which I found no vocational direction. A number of peers had mentioned post-graduate courses at the University of Stirling, I reluctantly laid my Meyer hardback aside and ‘googled’ my future. Amidst a dull and overwhelming list of degrees I found my way onto the familiar and safe ‘English Studies’ tab. Despite my background in writing (creative writing has been part of my life from an early age and my dissertation, under guidance of novelist Paula Morris, was comprised of two personal essays) I bypassed the creative writing degree summary and found myself emailing Claire Squires, I was applying for the Publishing Studies Masters course.

Everything from that moment fell into place; it was as if the course requirement and summary had been based on my characteristics brainstorm sheet.

I have been on the course for nearly a term now and have long forgotten the idle ways of an undergraduate student; I am exhausted, balancing a million and twelve things in my head (an extensive ‘to do list’ is crucial) and am no longer able to stroll around a shop without analysing its marketing strategy. I have also never been so motivated and excited to be involved in such an unpredictable and innovative society. With such a diverse but united group of equally driven classmates and tutors to work alongside, I am eager to get stuck into what has already proven to be a stimulating and rewarding course. With each class I find myself unexpectedly fascinated by the many sectors within the industry, whether it’s copyright laws, product design or editorial management. Along with my studies I hope to fit in my favourite past-time; running up hills.

Zixin Wang, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-12

December 19th, 2011 by Zixin_Wang | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Zixin Wang, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-12

I’m a postgraduate student majoring in publishing studies at the University of Stirling in Scotland. I am from Tianjin, China.  After graduating from university, I set up my mind to study a postgraduate degree. Then I come to the most beautiful campus at the University of Stirling.  Then I chose publishing studies as my major, as I do believe this major may help me a lot. This is my first time to go abroad for studying.  When I first came to Scotland in July,  people in Scotland are so helpful and warm-hearted. I treat Scotland as my hometown.  I like the architecture here,  I like the people here, I like everything here! I am interested in football. My favourite football club is Chelsea.

I absolutely argue that with the help of our teachers, we learn a lot about Scotland’s culture and publishing.

Spain’s Digital Times

December 19th, 2011 by Almudena_Santalices | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Spain’s Digital Times
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It seems these days we only think about ebooks. Two Spanish publishing houses, Ediciones B and Planeta, and Spain’s biggest bookseller Casa del Libro, just launched new products, all of them related to the electronic books.

Ediciones B has not only launched last month a new digital imprint, B de Books, but also claims to be “the first e-book publishing venture without DRM encryption”.  In the beginning B de Books will have 300 titles available and will be able to buy online in platforms such as Amazon, Libranda and Apple.  For its part, Planeta has released two new low-priced e-book imprints: Zafiro (for romance) and Scyla (for science fiction, fantasy and horror).

Casa del Libro is currently the e-book market leader in Spain, and launched November 23th its e-reader Tagus, a six-inch screen, Wi-Fi-enabled device, with a copy of the Real Academia Española dictionary.  It also offers cloud storage of an unlimited number of titles for an unlimited time. E-books can be browsed online and read offline on other devices after downloading a free app from Android Market and the Apple App Store. According to Xavi Solà, this release has given access to “the largest Spanish-language book catalogue in the world”.

Since this September Amazon has begun operating in Spain, offering printed titles, before launching the Spanish Kindle. It is also worth mentioning the positioning of Google Books. Luis Collado, director for Spain and Portugal Google Books and Ebooks says “the firm aims to make reading e-books as easy as using email”.

– Almudena Santalices

Sources: ABC / Publishing Perspectives.

Amy Raybould MLitt Publishing Studies 2011-2012

December 6th, 2011 by Amy_Raybould | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Amy Raybould MLitt Publishing Studies 2011-2012


Hello World, My name is Amy and I am originally from Birmingham in England but have uprooted myself to become a post-graduate Publishing studies student at Stirling University.  I have a Law degree and although on the surface this does not appear to harmonise with the idea of publishing, the two underpin each other in many ways. For both Law and Publishing you need ambition, enthusiasm, a broad mind, imagination, logical and perceptive thinking.

A professor of mine commented in my undergraduate degree that he wished I showed the passion I hold for books, ideas and imagination as I did for writing legal speeches and researching cases. But unfortunately my heart lies within literature, I am completely in love with the idea of somebody reading a piece of work whether it be a journal, a diary, a magazine or a book and that person connects with that work in a unique way. I think that is pretty incredible.  I’m excited to continue the publishing studies course, and to learn about the business, marketing, editorial and sales side of publishing. The course itself is by far the best thing I’ve ever done.

Stirling University is a fantastic place to start my journey into this fascinating Publishing globe!

The God Complex

December 6th, 2011 by Helen_Lewis-Mcphee | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The God Complex
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My mum’s just finished her book. I don’t mean she’s finished leafing through the latest Dan Brown or Marian Keyes. After months of hard work and hermitic habitude, she has emerged, blinking into the daylight with her brand new manuscript: 80 000 words currently winging their way through cyberspace towards her editor.

And, as if by magic, or miracle, there are all these new people in the world. Claudia, and Aileene, and Lydia, and Jim, and, in his own way, Marius. My mum didn’t just produce my sisters and me, she’s given life to countless characters. And she’s given them lives. With friends, and families, and jobs, and joy, and, often, tragedy.

That’s a pretty scary concept. What does an author do with all this power, all this potential? All these people, all these lives, and there she is, the omnipotent puppet-master, supreme lord of all she’s created. She can breathe life, cure cancer, bring people back from the dead.

But here’s the rub: all of that is just an illusion. There are really no puppets for the master. These characters take the scrap of existence they’ve been given, and they run with it. They make mistakes. They do things they’re not supposed to. They live their lives. And there’s apparently nothing she can do to stop them. All she can do is observe as their stories unfold and their lives unravel.

She cares about them. She worries about them. She cries with their joy, and with their pain. But in the end, she can’t protect them from themselves. All she can do is give them the best start she can, and hope they’ll do her proud with it. Maybe it’s not a God complex. Maybe it’s a Mum complex.

Another author recently said that “Writing a book is just like giving birth.” You live with this embryo of an idea, feeding and nurturing it for months from your very core, until it’s grown big enough and strong enough to survive in the big wide world. She finished by warning of the terrors of publishing: “It’s like handing your baby over to a stranger, who changes its name, puts horrible clothes on it, and leaves it out in the cold to die…”

Helen Lewis-McPhee

Louise Sinclair, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-12

December 6th, 2011 by Louise_Sinclair | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Louise Sinclair, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-12

When I graduated with a degree in English Language from The University of Edinburgh this summer, it was with very little idea of what I wanted to do.  Whenever I told people what my degree was in they would say “Oh, so are you going to be a teacher then?” and for a while that was my plan.  However, I wasn’t sure that it was really the right path for me.  It was not until almost the end of my final year that the idea of a career in publishing occurred to me, and at that point in time doing a Masters was the last thing on my mind (one dissertation seemed more than enough)!  I then began to do more research about Publishing and the more I looked into the course at Stirling University, the more I realised that it was an opportunity not to be missed.  Books have always appealed to me and reading is one of my favourite pastimes, so progressing in to a career in publishing seems natural.

We are now a few weeks in to the course and I’m already thoroughly enjoying it, even though the work is never ending!  The department and everyone in it is great, as are my fellow classmates and I can see that it is going to be a great year.  You can follow my exploits on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn.

Liz Small of Waverley Books

December 5th, 2011 by Amy_Raybould | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Liz Small of Waverley Books
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Liz Small of Waverley Books joined the Publishing Studies courses at Stirling University on 10th November 2011 to give a talk about marketing and sales in publishing. Liz immediately grasped our attention when she announced that “everything on the front desk will be given away to you all for free”. Obviously the prospect of free books to a room of 32 publishing students went down a real treat, we all sat excitedly awaiting the moment when we could rush to the front of the room and grab everything and anything that we could.

Liz gave us a brief overview of Waverley Books, of which she is the sales and marketing manager. Waverley Books is a very small firm, with only seven employees. However, it is an imprint of a larger publisher, Geddes and Grosset, who have become successful over the years due to their grasp of the referencing genre. They sell dictionaries internationally and this provides excellent revenue for the company.  Waverley is also part of the large DC Thomson Group, a Scottish based company which owns newspapers, magazines, comics and, most famously The Beano and Dandy!  

Liz went on to discuss the books which she had brought in for us to take away and read. She firstly talked about Mad about Macarons!, this book has a charming back story about a women who moved to Paris with her husband and found her way in French society by learning to make wonderful macarons, or macaroons as they are know in Britain. Liz found that macarons are currently popular and considered to be very fashionable therefore she knew the book would have a market especially in upmarket independent book shops within the London area. She also discovered that macarons are extremely popular in America and Singapore, 20,000 copies of the book has been sold so far and the majority of sales have been within the international book market. Liz said that as the book has sold well in the American market Waverley Books could possibly consider printing a US copy of the book specifically for its marketplace.

Liz then covered Waverley’s first novel, Mavis’s Shoe. The book is set the Clydebank area of Glasgow during the Clydebank blitz in WW2. The author was inspired to write this book because of the impact the Iraq war had on the world. Liz used clever marketing techniques to promote this book, she sent out as many books as she could to as many important and influential people within the industry.  She also set up a performance in WHSmith in Glasgow in order to gain immediate pull factor between the consumer and the novel.

The final book Liz talked about was The Broon’s Day Oot.  Liz stressed that Waverley’s association with DC Thomson who own the famous Scottish comic, was not as much of an advantage as you would think as they still have to put in a full pitch to secure the right to use the characters. Waverley printed The Broons, Days Oot!, which sees The Broons speaking outside the comic strip format for the first time, is a guide to Scotland’s best days out. Liz worked with the Daily Mail newspaper and created a roadmap and quiz book to coincide with the release of the book; this was a successful and great marketing ploy to get this product to the masses. It is also invaluable marketing as it can create a word of mouth buzz about the book.

Liz closed her talk with allowing us students to rush to the front of the room and grab the book that we really wanted!

– Amy Raybould

Anna Keville, MLitt Publishing Studies 2011/2012

December 5th, 2011 by Anna_Keville | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Anna Keville, MLitt Publishing Studies 2011/2012
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In my final year studying English Literature at the University of Glasgow I realised I was going to need to make a decision about what to do after graduation (and for the rest of my life). I’d done a very good job of avoiding the decision up until that point. They were innocent days.

After doing a degree in reading books and quite enjoying myself, it made sense that I should aim to work with them. Getting a job in Design and Production in a publishing house would be ideal. I love to read but I have a passion for how a book looks and feels. Feeling woefully underprepared to get such a job it seemed a publishing course was what I needed. There are a few in the UK but Stirling suited me best. It offers practical skills, which I’m very much in need of. It is in Scotland, a lovely bonus for me having lived here for four years. It also seemed very supportive, which it has turned out to be. Our lecturers actually care that we learn what is needed and that we can make our way in the world when the year is out. So far I’m enjoying learning lots of new things and gaining more and more confidence that when it’s time to face the grown-up world of too few jobs, I may be one of the lucky ones.

Aileen-E Taylor, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-2012

December 4th, 2011 by SCIPC | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Aileen-E Taylor, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-2012
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I’m Aileen and I’m a MLitt Publishing Studies student at the University of Stirling.   I studied Politics and International Relations as my undergraduate degree in Aberdeen.

Through my undergrad degree I never had the foggiest notion of what I wanted to do with my life.  After a couple of years of travelling and working in Australia, I began to seriously think about what I wanted as a career.  After some half hearted career searching I came across this course and well, love at first sight!  I couldn’t believe I never thought of publishing before.  I’d always been known as the family bookworm and while I was growing up I spent most Saturdays in the local library.  Reading and bugging my friends to read this awesome new book I’d just finished has always been my favorite thing to do. While most ‘getting in to publishing’ advice says a love of reading and books isn’t enough of a reason, it’s a good starting point and one the whole class shares.  Before applying for the course, what really piqued my interest in the publishing industry is that it offers a fascinating mix of creativity and business know-how.

The MLitt in Publishing Studies is also a great starting point.  There is a wide range of theory and practical skills being taught to us.  We have weekly guest speakers who talk to us on a variety of areas in publishing.  I am so glad to be here as I know by the time of graduation we will all be well prepared to find that first job.