“Small publishers and start-ups have lots of opportunities right now!”

April 27th, 2012 by Kate_McNamara | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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The Publishing Studies Visiting Speaker series went out on a high with a visit from Sara Hunt of Saraband. The perfect blend of information, optimism and advice, this was a fitting end to our course. At a time when much of the publishing industry are wringing their hands and quaking at digital advancements and social media marketing, Sara Hunt is smiling; “Be creative! Have fun!”. And Saraband certainly are. Rather than panicking in the face of change, Saraband have embraced social media and the many hours of work which it demands. “When you get it right,” Sara says, “it’s absolutely time well spent.”

Saraband began experimenting with social media in 2010 in order to promote Making Shore, the debut novel by Sara Allerton. Using a variety of sites they reached out to their customers and to bookgroups to get people talking about the book, and this was a great success. “Go out and do it,” Sara advises.“You can replicate it for all of your subsequent titles, and then it really will be worth while.”

However, it’s not enough to just use social media. You need to set yourself apart from all the multitudes of people and companies who are quickly catching on. Saraband do just that. Between their backwards rendition of Auld Lang Syne for Burns night and their April Fool’s day  blog announcement of whisper audiobooks to lull you to sleep (“the number of people who fell for it just because we used a standard format!”) not only do they not balk at the idea of social media, but they use it inventively, and with a sense of humour.

“If we can do it, you can too!” It’s a far cry from our furrowed brows and worried looks, which have accompanied the final days of our course, and an awful lot more appealing.

As the final minutes of the session ticked away and we began to realise with nervous apprehension that this was our last class, Sara delivered her closing words:

“This is a really brilliant time to be completely can-do…everything boils down to ingenuity, your ideas, and your commitment to working hard to follow things through.”

Saraband’s future is certainly bright, and thanks to the optimism of this final talk, we are more optimistic about the brightness of our own.

– Kate McNamara

These books fall like dominoes

April 20th, 2012 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on These books fall like dominoes
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World Book Night is coming, and so is a giant domino chain of books!

In honour of World Book Night, and to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, we will be setting up and knocking down the biggest book domino chain ever to grace the halls of the Pathfoot building at the University of Stirling. The event will be on Monday April 23rd 2012 (of course) between 4 and 4.30pm in the Pathfoot Crush Hall, and we invite you all to come and watch us knock a bunch of books over in a very organised, harmless (to the books) way.

We’d like to give a huge thank you to our contributors for the generous donations and support from publishers, libraries, book trade and reading development organisations, book binders and authors: Floris BooksStirling LibrariesAlban BooksCargo PublishingFreight BooksPublishing ScotlandLinda Cracknell of Best Book BooksBlasted Heath, Hazell Designs BooksCraig RobertsonAlloa Library, The Gaelic Books CouncilReadathon, Saraband Books and Canongate.

If you would like to participate, please email: You can also follow our exploits on Twitter via @stirpublishing and the hashtag #stirbkdominoes

– Alicia Rice

Salon du Livre 2012: success of the 32nd edition

April 4th, 2012 by Chrysothemis_Armefti | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Salon du Livre 2012: success of the 32nd edition
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The Paris Book Fair (Salon du livre) constitutes an important time of the year for publishers, booksellers and authors. People are paying to get inside this giant bookshop and buy books, but the Salon du Livre is also a professional fair where publishers and booksellers are being informed about the new developments in the book industry.

The final figures of the Salon du Livre show an increase of 5% compared to 2011, with 190 000 visitors from the 16-19 of March, according to Reed Expositions France. More than 36 000 visitors were students, a rise of 30% since last year. A little more than 30 000 were professionals, with representatives from 40 countries; 2000 were authors that participated in more than 500 meetings organized during the four days of the Salon du Livre.

However, the Salon du Livre showed once again its taste in an international literature with multiple faces: authors from Moscow, illustrators from Buenos Aires, Romania representing a conference on the literary vagrancy of Panaït Istrati and more specifically the Japanese literature and culture.

Japan was the country guest of honour, one year after the disaster, and Kenzaburô Oê, Japan’s second winner of Nobel Prize of Literature was celebrated properly. In addition, the manga hero Naruto celebrates his 10 years of circulation this year and since France is the country the more “Naruto maniac” with 1.5 million copies sold, fans came to see the cosplay parade and support the manga culture. Different activities took place at the Japanese Pavilion, demonstrating the culture of the country: tea ceremony of Sadoh, demonstration of ikebana (floral art), calligraphy, language lessons and kimono trying.

The fair was crowded with people trying their books signed by their favourite French authors. Between them, François Holland that signed 200 copies in one hour and a half, Daniel Pennac that signed also 200 copies of this new novel Journal d’un corps, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Katherine Pancol, Amélie Nothomb and many others.

Despite the commercial success of the Salon du Livre, publishers and booksellers are concerned about the digital evolution of the book industry and the role of the giant players on it. Amazon occupied a big stand at the Salon du Livre in partnership with Géant Casino, supermarket chain and Virgin Megastore who are handling the Kindle distribution since last autumn. Amazon sold hundreds of Kindles at the price of 79 euros. Four other e-readers were present at the Salon du livre: Kobo in partnership with Fnac, Sony was presenting mostly its new touch colour tablet with 20 magazines and 10 comics at the price of 399 euros, with the cheapest e-reader in the fair at 55euros of the German manufacturer Trekstor and the Odissey, a French e-reader proposed by Bookeen with E-ink, wifi, touch screen at 130 euros. In addition, Google announced the opening of its digital bookshop the night of the inauguration, increasing the concerns of the booksellers.

In conclusion, the Paris Book Fair was a success in number of sales and visitors. The digital publishing occupied a great part of the fair despite the fact that e-books sales represent only a 2% of the book market in France. Publishers and booksellers seem to handle the changes during the digital evolution in the book industry and are taking into consideration suggestions of the readers that attended their public round-table discussions.


– Chrysothemis Armefti

Chrysothemis Armefti, MSc in International Publishing Management 2011-2012

April 4th, 2012 by Chrysothemis_Armefti | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Chrysothemis Armefti, MSc in International Publishing Management 2011-2012
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«A book is a window through which we escape», says Julian Green, the famous French-American writer. I feel like I was born among piles of books; in my whole life I have been surrounded by books and literature. I have been an avid reader since the day I learnt to read. Raised in my mother’s bookshop in Cyprus and a house full of my parents’ books, my future was already foreseen. I was gobbling up books like they were candies! And I was growing up with one dream: to become a publisher.

So I followed my love for books and literature from Cyprus to Paris and finally to Stirling! I have a Bachelor in French Literature with a minor in Publishing (Licence Métiers du Livre) and a two-year Master of Research in Lettres, Arts et Pensée Contemporaine with a specialisation in Literature, History, Society where I led a comparative study on the Great War literature and especially the war experience through the writing of authors who participated in the War.

During the last year of my Bachelor I did a three months internship at L’Harmattan Editions as an editorial assistant. At this moment, I am trying to deepen my knowledge on the publishing industry and develop marketing and management skills, pursuing the MSc in International Publishing Management at the University of Stirling. I should underline here that the University of Stirling is the only academic institution proposing a Master of Science in Publishing Management, at least in the UK. That was the main reason that led me to Scotland, among the modern approach in teaching that offers the University of Stirling and its great organization. The course is quite intensive with numerous assignments to accomplish, based on real-life publishers, which are preparing us for a job in the so competitive publishing market.

30th Birthday Celebrations: Publishing Showcase and Drinks Reception

April 3rd, 2012 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | 2 Comments
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It’s our 30th anniversary in 2012! We’d like to celebrate this with our current and past students, and our industry and academic networks.

We’re holding a showcase of our current student work, a debate, and a drinks reception on Thursday 3 May in Stirling as part of our celebrations. Please join us for all or part of the event:

3.15-4.45pm Discussion: The Past, Present and Future of Publishing (Katy Lockwood-Holmes, Floris Books; Bob McDevitt, Jenny Brown Associates; and Marion Sinclair, Publishing Scotland) Pathfoot B2

5-7pm Publishing Showcase of current student work, plus Drinks Reception Pathfoot Crush Hall

If you’d like to attend, please email to let us know.

If you’re attending the London Book Fair this year, please do join us and Publishing Scotland at our stand party on Tuesday 17 April (more details here).

Alternatively, if you can’t join us for any of those, please do join us on our social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). And if you’re one of our alumni, please do consider writing us an alumni profile for our website.

London Book Fair 30th birthday party with Publishing Scotland

April 3rd, 2012 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | 2 Comments
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The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication was founded in 1982, and so 2012 marks our 30th anniversary.

To celebrate our birthday, we’ve got a number of events planned.

The first takes place at the London Book Fair, where we’ll be joining with Publishing Scotland in the Isle of Arran whisky party. This takes place on Tuesday 17 April from 5.30pm on the Publishers from Scotland stand, H350. Please join us!

If you can’t make the party, please do drop by the stand and say hello or leave us a message, or come to one of our other events at Stirling: the World Book Night Book Dominoes on Monday 23 April, or our Publishing Showcase and Alumni Drinks Reception on Thursday 3 May.

Alternatively, if you can’t join us for any of those, please do join us on our social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). And if you’re one of our alumni, please do consider writing us an alumni profile for our website.

Publishing Scotland Conference 2012

April 2nd, 2012 by Sara_Gardiner | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Publishing Scotland Conference 2012
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I have never been to a conference before and I would definitely go to one again.

The day began with an introduction from Bob McDevitt and Marion Sinclair explaining how, as publishers, we should be able to adapt to the new digital world by having more direct contact with customers and physical bookstores. The aim of the publisher is not to challenge the age of the author but to challenge the price point of e-books and to get more people reading.

Alan Clements, Director of Content for STV reiterated Marion’s speech, acknowledging that the media industry should have more focus on content and accountability to their customers. So what does this mean for media and culture when each person may be looking at three screens in one sitting? Alan stated that working with technology and not against it is the key to controlling IP and sustaining the media industry we work in. He then candidly discussed the lack of communication between the publishing industry and TV, believing that if both industries work together on the adaptations of new books, it would give Scotland a place on the map.

Next to speak was Steve Bohme, Research Director from BML. He showed the conference, through the analogy of weddings, how the publishing industry is coping with the downward trend in print books for the third year running. Steve questioned how the role of the designer will change with the popularity of the e-book, and how the e-book effect will change the way in which it affects the publishing industries sales.

Discussing social media and marketing, Jon Reed, Social Media Consultant spoke of the effects social media marketing has on the selling of a product and exposure of a company (follow him on Twitter @reedmedia). Jon Reed is the founder of Publishing Talk, giving hints and tips on the best ways to market your company and/or product. He discussed how the social media buzz should revolve around the product and build interest in the niche area; to support social media, companies should still continue to e-mail their customers.

Jon also said that authors should be trained in using social media to promote their novels and to update their own profiles and if training cannot be given, guidelines will then become useful to the author. Included in the author questionnaires, should be the question regarding the authors current social media use, in order to increase author visibility. Through social media networks, content should be made valuable by giving away free information on the author/novel or company. The ultimate goal as a publisher is to add value to a novel while also supporting their authors.

Author Nicola Morgan then spoke about author/publisher relationships along with the (lack of, in her case) communication between the two. Nicola made the point of authors being the last to hear about changes to their work; what Nicola insisted on in a business relationship was honesty. Her response to being dropped by her publishing company was to consider self publishing, however, as she discovered during the self publishing process, this then eats away at the time the author has left to write new material.

The speakers at the conference were all so passionate about their area of work within the publishing industry, and also believe that the industry will be able to adapt to new media in the future, but finding the right ideas for this is the key.  The Publishing Scotland conference showcased many intelligent, passionate and enthusiastic people with many opposing ideas.

“Punching above our weight in an international arena”: selling international rights with Canongate

April 2nd, 2012 by Nuria_Ruiz | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on “Punching above our weight in an international arena”: selling international rights with Canongate
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The Publishing Studies Visiting Speaker series got off to an excellent start this March as Andrea Joyce, Associate Rights Director at Canongate, paid a visit to demystify the mysterious world of selling international rights. Although a medium-sized house in the world of Scottish publishing, we soon discovered that Canongate has a real international presence through its titles; in Andrea’s own words, they punch above their weight in the global arena. Oh, and we learned just what working in rights encompassed too!

Andrea noted almost immediately that the rights department can easily be undervalued and overlooked in publishing, and she made a salient point. Of the 100 top selling UK titles in 2011, only 6 were in translation. Not the best advertisement for the absolute wealth of beautiful foreign writing out there. Our own rights experience as MLitt students came as a small part of a module on publishing dynamics, unlike our marketing and editorial modules which were self-contained. During an earlier visit from Skillset’s Suzanne Kavanagh, not one of us stood up and proclaimed an undying passion for selling translation rights and drafting co-edition licenses (but then again, not one of us wanted to be a bohemian editor of poetry either). So it was interesting to hear that this attitude is not only part of the student experience; part of the problem, argues Andrea, is that publishers might assume they don’t need the profit generated by rights sales, and that literary agents feel they are better placed to handle an author’s rights than their publisher. This is not always the case, certainly not for Canongate, and Andrea made a compelling and convincing case for the integral place of rights in their publishing strategy.

Publishing authors from all across the world, and conversely getting their own authors published in forty-five countries, is a “great source of strength” to Canongate. Certainly, the figures seem to back this up. In 2011, the rights team struck 202 deals across 45 countries, up from 175 in 2010 and 150 in 2009. Europe is their major market, with Germany claiming 20 per cent of deals, Italy 14 per cent and France 13 per cent (by value). Selling international rights has also allowed Canongate to venture into the competitive US publishing market, launching with established publisher Grove/Atlantic and already claiming 9 per cent of deals by value.

So what’s the secret to success in the international rights market? Timing, timing, timing was Andrea’s first piece of advice. We live in an increasingly interconnected world; people everywhere know when something new is launching and more importantly, they know where to get their hands on it if it’s not provided where they are – and thus bypassing territorial rights agreements and the publishing value chain altogether. With the gargantuan growth of Amazon, publishing simultaneously in the home language has proved crucial to ensuring Canongate’s rights success in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. But more than this, it’s also about trusting your taste to timing. The Radleys, the international bestseller by Matt Haig, landed on Andrea’s desk as she was departing for the Frankfurt Book Fair. Timely, with its young adult crossover potential and paranormal setting, a short captivating read was enough to convince Canongate of its potential – and many other international partners too. In rights, you have to be flexible, speedy and creative in order to take advantage of an opportunity, which sounds pretty exciting in my book.

And this was Andrea’s parting shot; it’s actually an exciting time to be working in rights. If you don’t believe me when I say that she has me totally convinced about the value, necessity and importance of selling international rights, just think where we would be if this little guy hadn’t purred his way across the world …

– Nuria Ruiz