The Future of Indie Bookshops

November 30th, 2014 by Helen Griffin | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Future of Indie Bookshops
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On Wednesday 19th November, in the Central Library in Edinburgh, SYP Scotland held a seminar discussing the future of Indie Bookshops. The panelists included representatives from four Independent Bookshops in Edinburgh: Gillian Robertson from Looking Glass Books, Elaine Henry from Word Power Books, Ian Macbeth from Golden Hare Books and Marie Moser from The Edinburgh Bookshop. Each representative spoke about what was next for them, what had changed over the last few years and what changes were still to come as independent booksellers adapt their business models in a bid to hold on to their share of the book market. The event was chaired by Peggy Hughes, Programme Director of the Dundee Literary Festival, Co-ordinator of the Dundee International Book Prize, and sundry other projects and publications at Literary Dundee. Peggy was also one of the judges for the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards 2013 and a Trustee for Reel Arts. By night, Peggy is also the Programme Director of the West Port Book Festival and one third of Electric Bookshop.




The Independent Booksellers:

Looking Glass Books


Looking Glass Books is a bookshop and café that was set up in Edinburgh’s Quartermile in 2012. Gillian Robertson explained that the bookshop was opened when the industry was already where it is now, and so they haven’t had to do a lot of adapting. Their strategies have been more focused on who they are, where they might go and how they might place themselves within the industry.






Word Power Books

Word Power Books

It has been 20 years since Elaine Henry cut the red ribbon to Word Power Books in West Nicolson Street. Even after their 20 year success, Elaine said that there are still people who come into the store and ask how long they have been open for. Sometimes thinking, ‘what are we doing wrong that people still don’t know our existence’, Elaine believes this to be one of the major challenges of being an independent bookseller. Independent bookshops are not one homogenous group, and Word Power Books is what Elaine would call a radical bookshop dedicated to supporting small presses and independent presses (although they would get anything in for their customers). Word Power Books also publish, having done 22 titles. Their latest book, The Liberty Tree, about the Scottish radical Thomas Muir, was a leading review in the Sunday Times. Elaine commented that this feat meant they had finally been given some recognition for what they do after 20 years in the business.


Golden Hare Books


Golden Hare Books opened 3 years ago and is based in St. Stephen Street, Stockbridge. Ian Macbeth described the shop as having a curated feel, like many independent bookshops, distinguishing itself from larger chains.








The Edinburgh Bookshop


The Edinburgh Bookshop, nestled at Holy Corner in Bruntsfield, was opened 7 years ago and bought by Marie Moser just 2 years ago. Since then Marie has benefited from a double turnover and successes such as winning the UK Children’s Bookseller 2014 and being named Scottish Independent Bookshop 2014. Discussing the obvious successes of her predecessor, Marie nonetheless talked about the importance of accepting what you are and what works for your customers rather than what you want to be or feel you should be. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out it was 15% of the book market, and although, as Marie acknowledged, ‘ it might be considered by some people to be a rubbish piece of writing, it was the biggest thing since Harry Potter’. Marie’s predecessor would not stock the book, telling people they would need to go across the road to Tesco. Marie’s position on this kind of mentality was simple: ‘As a small independent retailer you have to get off your high horse’.

Existing Relationships with Digital

When discussing independent bookshops’ relationship with digital, Marie challenged that as yet the world might be 50% digital but not everything in the world is digital. In Britain we buy physically half a million books a day, not E-books, physical books! That might be massively down on 20 years ago, but according to Marie, if you found any businessman who was setting up a business and you said to him you could sell him half a million units a day, could he honestly think that wasn’t one cracking business? In relation to social media, however,  Marie questioned the practical uses of Twitter. Although a tweeter herself, since Marie has come into the industry, her opinion has become more inclined to regard it as a platform for the way the industry talks to itself.

Continuing with this discussion, Peggy Hughes humorously compared being good at Twitter as like ‘being good at the egg and spoon’. Ian Macbeth also likened twitter to playing ‘Guitar Hero’, with links to articles and people’s opinions coming at you all the time, just like the coloured blocks in the game. Ian also felt that it was a platform where it was difficult to make your voice heard. Although he does tweet about events and interesting books that have come into his store, Ian believes that interpersonal links are far more important, with tools such as a mailing list being a much better way to keep in touch with your customers. Although many people do love a mailing list, in today’s digital age it may be seen as archaic. Overall, Ian felt that Facebook had less impact than Twitter but that mailing lists and store websites were much more significant tools for promotional activity from the standpoint of an independent bookseller.

In a rather different digital era, Elaine Henry first used microfiche to look up books. From stock-card indexing to today’s methods, Elaine has definitely seen first hand the rising demand for instant response. In terms of twitter Elaine said, ‘I don’t tweet because I just don’t have the time. This thing that you should be sending out three tweets a day, I just find it a challenge’. However, when informed by Peggy that she had been tweeted by Russell Brand, an astonished Elaine relented to find a positive outcome to the social media platform, laughing, ‘I guess sometimes Twitter can work to your advantage’.

Gillian Robertson also commented that she tweeted regularly, but was quick to point out that you can’t have blanket rules for every bookstore. Gillian did agree with Marie’s opinion that Twitter was a way in which the industry spoke to itself, but pointed out that it depends on whom you follow. Gillian follows local independent businesses and Edinburgh locals, which she believes, has been crucial to her success. ‘I don’t know if we would have been able to get off the ground without social media’.

Indie Bookshop VS. Amazon

Marie Moser was of the opinion that businesses could not be future proofed, claiming that in today’s day and age, ‘there is no room to be mediocre, if you are not interested and engaged you are not going to make money’. Marie’s basic view of digital was that it was a society and that Amazon was at the pinnacle of it.

Ian was quick to point out that it’s not just Amazon, it’s supermarkets, Waterstones, etc. Independent booksellers cannot match the discounts of these large retailers, and even if  they could, they wouldn’t want to. Ian’s theory is that if you can’t offer the same discounts you have to offer people something else. Amazon can never provide the same experience as bricks and mortar bookshops as they are selling on experience and Amazon is selling on instant gratification.


Within Word Power Books they have leaflets exhibiting quotes such as ‘think before you click’ and ‘discounts don’t come for free’. Marie’s agreement with these slogans prompted her to challenge the role of the publisher, arguing that there is a danger the industry is losing sight of volume and bestsellers versus actually making profit, therefore illustrating the idea that any fool can sell something cheap. Marie commented  that when you let big chains heavily discount your lead title you devalue that brand and you devalue the years of work that the writer undertook to make the product. The fact that publishers should value what they sell was most evidently what offended Marie the most.

Marie also argued that publishers, as an industry, are letting retailers hammer down prices. If you were to ask the public if they wanted to buy products as cheap as they could, it is inevitable that they would say yes. The reality, according to Marie, is that this is not true or we wouldn’t have luxury brands; ‘We will buy what we think is a fair price for something nice’.

The seminar ended on the positive note that since 2009 there has been a resurgence of independent bookshops. According to all four of the independent booksellers, what we need to do is look at what is driving this; it may be a small movement, but it can have a big impact. Overall, for independent bookshops world domination is not on their agenda, however, they do not just want to survive, because that’s a low bar; they want to thrive, and as far as the seminar proved, Amazon is not going to stop them.

Callum Walker, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

November 30th, 2014 by Callum Mitchell Walker | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Callum Walker, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015
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Hello! I’m Callum. I’d like to say that I’m from a far away place like several of my classmates… But I’m from Falkirk! I studied my undergraduate degree in English Studies and History here at Stirling University and the MLitt in Publishing Studies course made it impossible to resist one more year. As graduate life grew closer I began to realise that I wanted to enjoy a career in which I could combine my passion for literature and my interest in the business and communication between a product and people. The ever-changing world of publishing and the course at Stirling seemed like a perfect fit for me.

I had some experience in the publishing industry before the course when I interned at Gay Times Magazine in London last summer. This experience helped me to realise that I have a great desire to be a part of the process of creating a product that can affect, inspire and ultimately change people’s lives. Alongside my studies, I’ll also be interning at Edinburgh-based children’s and non-fiction independent publisher Floris Books next semester.

It is clear from our first few classes that we will be learning about the many different processes, job roles and sectors of the publishing business which I think will benefit me as I am not entirely sure where I want to end up yet in my future career. Whether I end up working in editorial, marketing or production… I can’t wait to find out!

Follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Visiting Speaker: Zoë Strachan

November 26th, 2014 by Kena Nicole Longabaugh | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speaker: Zoë Strachan
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zoestrachanOn Thursday 20th November, author  Zoë Strachan paid us a visit as part of our visiting speaker series. Based in Glasgow, Zoë has three published novels: Negative Space (Picador), Spin Cycle (Picador) and Ever Fallen in Love (Sandstone). She also writes short stories, plays, libretti and essays and is a lecturer for the University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing programme.

To start off, Zoë discussed how the publishing industry has changed since the publication of her first novel in 1999. Her first experience of publishing was of an incestuous world: everyone knew everyone and you needed connections to get your foot in the door. With the support of her literary agent David Miller, she was able to sign a two book deal with Picador.

Next, Zoë discussed the pros and cons of working with a large publisher like Picador. Picador had many valuable resources and her book was heavily copy-edited to a high standard. However, there were several staff changes during the development of her first novel that left her with three different editors throughout the process. She had a much better experience with her second novel and described her editor as an ally who “really made me think, really challenged me.” She also stated, “If you’ve got a good editor, a good publisher…it is a tremendous privilege.”

Zoë’s third novel was published with Sandstone Press after being rejected by Picador. She said there was less money involved than Picador, but as a small publisher Sandstone was able to give her much more support and personalised attention.

To the aspiring author, Zoë gave some hopeful advice: “You just have to get your manuscript on the desk of one person who opens it, gets it and likes it. Only one person has to like it.”

Zoë’s talk was delightful and informative and provided us with insight into the publishing process through the eyes of authors. Moreover, she praised the role of publishers as supporters and gatekeepers, a refreshing sentiment to hear in a time when many are questioning the role of traditional publishers.

Guest Speaker: Lindsey Fraser

November 19th, 2014 by Leia Forster | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Guest Speaker: Lindsey Fraser
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fraser ross

On the 13th of November, Lindsey Fraser of Fraser Ross Associates visited us here at Stirling to give a talk on the role of the literary agent.

Lindsey began by reminiscing of a time when book publishing was simpler. Books had one price; that which was displayed on the book jacket, and books were limited to paperback and hardback formats.

As the publishing industry adapted to reflect changes in the digital landscape, it became apparent that authors needed representatives who had their best interests at heart and would help them to manoeuvre the unfamiliar realm of publishing.

Having spent ten years working for the Scottish Book Trust, Lindsey and colleague Kathryn Ross had established that there was a need amongst Scottish authors for agent representation, and so they left the Scottish Book Trust in order to create Fraser Ross Associates. They are now part of the small literary agent community which forms The Association of Scottish Literary Agents.

When speaking specifically about the role of the agent, Lindsey said that she considers literary agents to be responsible for finding the best possible homes for books. She also expressed that a major part of the role is giving your writers confidence, and that it is important to remember that agents are sometimes the only contact that writers have with the world of publishing. Trust is essential in this relationship.

Lindsey went on to highlight that the agent is on the side of the author, and ultimately it is their aim to help the author make money from their writing. The agent also encourages the writer to respect publisher deadlines and teaches them how to deal with promotional events as well as showing them how to make the most of opportunities that are presented to them.

Talking more about the encouragement that should be offered to authors, Lindsey noted that they are particularly vulnerable after having their first book published and are beginning to consider the next. It is important to help them through this period of insecurity. She commented that authors have a tendency to look at what was not right with their book and need to be reminded of what was good. She also said that sometimes after having a book published, authors would like to have a period of rest, but there is an important issue here regarding the children’s book industry. Children grow up quickly, and their interest in certain books changes. If you are publishing a children’s series, you need to ensure that the books are published before your readership outgrows them. Sometimes it is necessary for an author to produce a number of books in quick succession, especially if their books are doing well.                                                                                                                              scottish bt

Nearing the end of the talk, we were informed of The Scottish Book Trust’s live literature scheme which provides funding for author visiting sessions at schools in Scotland. They pay half of the author’s fee as well as traveling expenses which allows more schools to benefit from visiting sessions while authors also get to promote their books and interact with their readers on a more personal level.

Lindsey’s talk offered wonderful insight into the role of an agent in the publishing industry. She shared with us her refreshingly honest thoughts and opinions regarding some issues within the industry, and I particularly liked her comparison of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair to speed dating which highlighted once more the importance of networking in this industry.

Saltire Society Literary Awards 2014

November 19th, 2014 by Callum Mitchell Walker | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Saltire Society Literary Awards 2014
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SCOTLAND ALBA LOGOOn Tuesday 11th November several of our MLitt & PhD students enjoyed an evening of literature, music and canapés at the Saltire Literary Awards hosted at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. The Saltire Society, a non-political independent charity founded in 1936, hosts the annual ceremony to celebrate the finest Scottish literature produced in the past year.

The most prestigious award of the night, the Saltire Society Book of the Year, was won by an academic work detailing Scottish urbanisation in the 18th century, The Scottish Town in the Age of Enlightenment 1740-1820. Co-authored by professors Bob Harris and the late Charles McKean, the book was produced after a three-year long period of research and also won this year’s Saltire Society Research Book of the Year award. Exploring the transitional development of 18th century burghs and the importance of understanding these changes in society, the book was described as a “pioneering study” by judges. Professor Harris received a cash prize of £10,000 at the ceremony and told guests that he was honoured to win the award in a country “with such a rich tradition of writing”.

Winners in the categories of poetry, history, literature and first book, were awarded £2,000, including Alexander Hutchison for his collection Bones and Breath, which claimed the Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year award. Described as a “masterly new collection” from the poet, the book mixes satire with affection. The History Book of the Year award was won by social historian Steve Bruce for his exploration of cultural and religious change in Scotland in Scottish Gods: Religion in Modern Scotland 1900-2012. Ali Smith took the Saltire Society Literary Book of the Year award home for her novel, How to be Both, described by judges as “an exhilarating read” in which two narratives are linked despite being set centuries apart. Celebrating the emerging talent of first-time authors who have not previously been published, the First Book of the Year award was won by Niall Campbell for his “remarkably powerful first collection” Moontide, which was praised as “one of the most distinctive lyric voices to emerge from Scotland in recent years”.


1113921311400The Saltire Society Publisher of the Year award was introduced in 2013 and is supported by Creative Scotland. Celebrating the vitality and innovation of Scottish-based publishers, this year the award was won by Dingwall-based small enterprise Sandstone Press. The publisher was awarded £4,000 to assist further developments in the company’s business and was recognised for their “enthusiastic pragmatism” and the quality of their editorial work. Sandstone faced strong competition from a shortlist including Backpage Press, Freight, Birlinn, Bright Red and Floris. Executive Director of the Saltire Society Jim Tough praised the shortlisted publishers for showing “[the] creativity and adaptability needed to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace”.

Other awards of the night included the Saltire Society Literary Travel Bursary, supported by the British Council. The award went to St. Andrews University student Lenore Bell, who won a cash prize of £1,500. This prize will fund her research for a novel set in Edwardian Brooklyn in the USA.

Supporting the next generation of academics, the Ross Roy Medal is awarded to the best PhD thesis on a subject relating to Scottish literature. This year’s winner was Stirling University’s very own Barbara Leonardi for her thesis, “An Exploration of Gender Stereotypes in the Work of James Hogg”. Dr Scott Lyall, Chair of the judging panel, commented that “Leonardi’s writing is beautiful, and she shows real conceptual and socio-historical nous in opening up Hogg’s writing to a feminist and postmodern analysis”.

Congratulations to all the winners of the night and thank you to the Saltire Society for celebrating the Scottish imagination, and giving us a fantastic evening!





Aidan Moffat and the Lavender Blue Dress

November 17th, 2014 by Lara Gascón | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Aidan Moffat and the Lavender Blue Dress
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On Saturday November 15th, the acclaimed Scottish singer-songwriter Aidan Moffat was in Waterstone’s Bookseller located at Stirling Thistle Marches Shopping Centre as part of the promotional tour of his first children’s book, The Lavender Blue Dress. It has been published by Cargo Publishing in time for Christmas so if you lack of ideas, this books could be a nice present for young children. The book is beautifully crafted with art by award winning illustrator Emmeline Pidgen and a removable double sided dust jacket with a ‘cut out and play’ paper doll. The book also includes a CD with the book read by Aidan and music by Bill.


The event started at 3pm and finished twenty minutes after. Even if it was not the most crowded book launch event I’ve ever attended, Moffat approached the few children that were in the bookstore, getting down to their level by setting on the floor. Then, he started to read the book. The kids listened to him, completely, attentively and in silence. There was a little girl that seemed particularly captivated bythe author’s words; eyes wide open, looking at the illustrations of the book while she played incessantly with the curls of her blond hair.


After the reading, the author got up and went sitting on a chair for signing copies of the book. Most of the people that were queuing were fans that bought the book because they wanted to have the opportunity to talking with the composer. The rest were parents that offered the book to their kids, but also wanted author’s signature and dedication. And the fact is that, as usually happens, the author’s personal brand seams to attract more customers than the book itself.

Even if Aidan Moffat is a long way from celebrities that are launching children’s books with the help of ghost-writers, is undeniable that being previously known as a singer catches the attention of future readers. I myself wanted to know more about what could have been the result of this book after knowing that the author was best known for writing songs about sex, drugs and death. “So please just ignore all the moods and the maybes, lift up your skirt and I’ll fill you with babies”, sings the singer that is writing for kids.

However, Aidan has crafted a sweet and heart-warming tale of family, friendship and the really important things in life. But he didn’t do it alone. Moffat told the media that the story was based on a tale he heard as a child:

The Lavender Blue Dress is a story my grandfather used to tell me and my cousins,” he said. “I used to spend every weekend at my grandparents’ and it was a story he told regularly. A few years ago I wrote it down and put it together as a story which I occasionally read live at gigs. I don’t know where my Papa got the story – I think he made it up. It was very simple and I’ve embellished it a bit.”

The Lavender Blue Dress tells the story of Mabel, a little girl who wants nothing more than a beautiful dress to wear to the Christmas ball. The crux of the story is that the family can’t afford the dress in question so they make it for the girl. As the author explains, it’s very much a story about love, and about love being more important than material items.


You can view the teaser trailer here:

Moffat says that he would like to publish further children’s books if The Lavender Blue Dress is well received, there’s a second one that he has finished and he has ideas for a couple more:

“The second one is about how to cope with your parents arguing, which I can imagine is something
every child has to deal with.”

Personally, I really like the moral background of the book. I have always thought that children’s books are a basic tool to teach and reinforce kids’ essential values as sharing, helping, being kind…And as I could confirm, Aidan Moffat can transmit this ideas in a charming piece, with catching and lovely illustrations that bring author’s words to life.

Source: Cowing, Emma, “Arab Strap singer Aidan Moffat pens children’s book”, The Scotsman,, November 17, 2013

Visiting Speaker: Dr Simon Frost, Bournemouth University

November 14th, 2014 by Sarah Boyd | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speaker: Dr Simon Frost, Bournemouth University
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Simon FrostAs an extra addition to the Visiting Speaker series, Dr Simon Frost, Senior Lecturer in English at Bournemouth University, came to talk to us about his current research project. Entitled ‘Private Gains and Retailed Literature: Pathways to a Sustainable-Economic Account of Reading‘ (though Frost pointed out that his subtitle keeps changing!), this ambitious project is being undertaken in association with John Smith’s, the higher-education bookseller familiar to most students for their on-campus shops.
It’s probably worth mentioning at this point that Dr Frost’s project is quite a complex and, in some ways, esoteric one and that it is very much ongoing and developing, so at times it became a little difficult to take on all of the information he was conveying. The seven-and-a-half pages of notes I took during his presentation are testament to this! However, I’ll do my best to cover what he had to say.
First, Dr Frost outlined the aim of his project, to produce a defence of literature (the project is focused on fiction) in economic terms, rather than the cultural terms in which arguments for literature’s value are usually expressed. This was one of the trickier ideas to get our heads around but Frost put it in layman’s terms, saying that he’s trying to find out why a customer would choose to buy books, rather than booze! Essentially, his belief is that pointing to literature’s cultural importance does not mount a strong enough defence for the funding and resources allocated to it and that we require a discussion that engages with the economics of literature in sustainable terms or, in other words, attempts to discover what readers gain from the books they buy in more practical terms.
We then looked at the structure of Frost’s project, which is organised into three ‘threads’:
  • ‘theorisation’ – produce a model of how readers gain from books, bridging the literary and economic by investigating the idea that books meet intangible needs for readers.
  • ‘tuition’ – a number of students will be involved in the research for this project, particularly in compiling the results of an extensive survey, aiming for 750 completed surveys.
  • ‘professional practice’ – working in conjunction with John Smith’s, examine the shift from ‘bookseller’ to ‘book-based supplier of solutions’, in particular the move to provide new services based on outcomes/gains.

John Smith's BooksIn order to explain how he became involved with John Smith’s, Dr Frost gave us a potted pre-history of the current bookselling situation in Britain. John Smith’s has been around since 1751, so it has survived and responded to the major changes that have happened in the bookselling industry over the last several centuries, from the 1899 establishment of the Net Book Agreement (NBA) and its encouragement of dedicated bookstores, to the collapse of the Agreement in the 1990s which led to the downfall of almost all chain booksellers on the British High Street. More recently, the rise of online bookstores (themselves largely a result of the NBA’s collapse) has forced John Smith’s to rethink its business, as Amazon and its ilk have disrupted the traditional tutor-student-campus bookstore relationship. Their response has been to stop thinking of themselves as ‘booksellers’ at all and instead re-brand as a provider of solutions for students and Higher Education (HE) institutions. Indeed, their website is tagged as ‘John Smith’s Student Store’, with no reference to bookshops at all.

In effect, this has resulted in John Smith’s working with HE institutions to provide students with all the resources they need to successfully enter, negotiate and exit higher education. Their Stirling store, for instance, lists 15 departments, providing products from art supplies to bikes, mobile phones to university-branded clothing. They are no longer thinking about how they can sell the most books to students but about how they can meet all the needs that students might have, how they can become the main provider of solutions to students’ demands and problems (as well as aiding HE institutions to meet their outcomes). In this way, their rethinking of their business model fits neatly with Dr Frost’s project, as it relocates books as one part of a service that anticipates and provides everything that students will gain from appropriating. So, a copy of ‘Mrs Dalloway’ is no longer just a tool for education and cultural influence but also a product that can be analysed and quantified in economic terms.

aspireFor the final part of his presentation, Dr Frost went into more detail about how the relationship between students, their HE institutions and this new incarnation of John Smith’s works. An essential part of this is the distribution of bursaries to students in England (introduced as a mitigating response to the raising of tuition fees). Universities receive a sum of money from the government and parcel this out to selected students in bursaries, often around £300, which are intended to widen opportunities for students from low-income backgrounds (and, ideally, to be spent on university-related goods and services, rather than down the pub, though we did have a discussion of whether or not the social environment provided by pubs – and cafes, equally expensive though perhaps less stigmatised – is a valuable part of the university experience!). John Smith’s have become involved in this process via their ‘Aspire‘ smartcard, which can be pre-loaded with the bursary money and limits what it can be spent on. This allows for a number of interesting features, from each card being tailored to its recipient’s needs, to facilitating data gathering and feedback to the institution. Of course, as several members of the class pointed out, this has some moral and legal implications, particularly with regards to privacy (the idea of tutors being able to keep tabs on whether you’ve purchased their reading list or not is more than a little Big Brother!) and this is an area that Dr Frost will be looking into as his study develops. At the moment, though, his main questions in this area are:

  1. Is the diversity of purchasing agency (i.e. those involved in the process of purchasing) now so great that it produces a break from the linear rational-choice model of purchasing?
  2. Do the limits imposed by the ‘Aspire’ model constitute an interruption of free will or free exchange? They limit the convertibility of one resource to another (the bursary can be turned into books or bikes but not beers) but do they also limit free choice? Such limits are common in the public world but how do they function in the semi-commercial and commercial spheres?
It was fascinating to hear about a project still in progress, with Dr Frost acknowledging that he is still in the process of gathering information and developing the theories and concepts that will form his ultimate conclusions. His observation that his ‘inner critic’ was working even as he spoke was one that I – and I’m sure most of us – identified with, but it’s reassuring to know that the pros suffer too. It was also great to feel that he was genuinely interested in our responses and in engaging in conversation with his audience – it’s always encouraging to feel that we’re being taken seriously by people already working! I’ll be interested to see the results of his project and how it shifts and develops as it progresses.

Courtney Murphy, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

November 14th, 2014 by Courtney Murphy | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Courtney Murphy, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015
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cemI am a self-confessed librocubicularist  (n., a person who reads in bed), I am guilty of tsundoka (n. buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands), and I take bookshelf organization very seriously (for inspiration check out

I am a dual US-Canadian citizen and I’ve spent most of my life in Virginia and Ontario. I hold a BA (Hons.) in Psychology and Philosophy from Queen’s University at Kingston and an MLitt in Philosophy from the University of Glasgow. After completing my studies in Glasgow I returned to Virginia where I taught Philosophy at Bryant and Stratton College in Hampton, VA and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. After a few years of lecturing I decided to leave academia and pursue a career in publishing. I leapt and the opportunity to return to Scotland and pursue the MLitt in Publishing here at Stirling. It’s interesting to learn about the process whereby a book goes from a manuscript to a novel on the shelf at Waterstone’s, and it’s great to be surrounded by like-minded people who share the same passion for books and reading.

Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Lectureship in Digital Media and Publishing

November 14th, 2014 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Lectureship in Digital Media and Publishing
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We’re very sad to announce that Dr Padmini Ray Murray will be leaving us at Christmas (for a post in India on the teaching faculty at the Centre of Public History at the Srishti School for Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore). We’ll miss her greatly, but we’re sure future collaborations will ensue.

That said, we’re happy to be announcing a vacancy for a Lecturer in Digital Media & Publishing, to teach and research both in the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, and also in our Division of Communications, Media and Culture.

Full details and the job specification are available from here. Please do contact our Director, Professor Claire Squires, if you’re interested in informally discussing the role.

Hannah Roberts, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-15

November 10th, 2014 by Hannah Elizabeth Roberts | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Hannah Roberts, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-15
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10458845_10152568751381522_6342255735242906730_nMy name is Hannah Roberts and I am a recent graduate of the University of Stirling. I graduated this year with a BA (Hons) in English and Journalism and found myself, like most graduates, thinking about where to go next. I had always dreamed of obtaining a Masters degree so I decided to become a postgraduate student and of course, there was no other place for me but Stirling.

I had looked at the MLitt in Publishing course a number of times throughout my third and fourth years of my undergraduate degree and couldn’t shake this feeling that this was the course for me. This was down to a number of factors; reading and literature have always been a passion of mine, I saw the MLitt as a chance to develop my analytic and technical skills from my undergraduate degree and also,  I saw the course  as an excellent chance to gain a qualification in a new vocational field. So, I applied and here I am!

In terms of experience, I worked with Stirling University’s student newspaper Brig from 2012 until 2014, eventually becoming Opinion Editor in my fourth year of my undergraduate. During my time at Brig, I was nominated for ‘Best New Writer’ and ‘Best Feature Article’ in 2012 and the opinion section was nominated for ‘Best Section’ in 2014. I’ve also tried my hand at starting my own blog and  will be starting to do PR and Social Media for a well known British supermarket in the near future.

Most of all, I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring  in terms of building relationships within the publishing world and in the classroom.