http://www.lebenssalz.ch http://www.paulplaza.nl http://www.ostendsurfing.be http://www.qsneaker.nl http://www.wtcbentille.be http://www.thegooddeal.ch http://www.kantoorencreatief.nl

books

Trip to Bell and Bain for Striling’s 2016-17 Publishing Students

November 9th, 2016 by caroline_obrien | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Trip to Bell and Bain for Striling’s 2016-17 Publishing Students
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Bright and early on a cold autumnal morning we, the 2016-17 Publishing students of the University of Stirling, gathered for our trip to Bell & Bain, the UK’s largest and oldest independent book and journals printers and binders.

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Once we had arrived we were introduced to and given an talk by Derek Kenney, Bell & Bain’s Sales Director Designate, and Kenny Shepherdson, their Business Development Manager. During this part of the tour we were informed that Bell & Bain currently has 115 employees, with a projected turnover for 2016 of £13.2m. In Derek’s own words this makes Bell & Bain a ‘large small business.’ As much sense as that makes.

But, with just over a million sheets printed and bound per week  and approximately 2.45m journals and 6.5m books printed and bound in 2015 what exactly is meant by this statement becomes a little clearer.

After this introductory talk we were whisked away to Bell & Bain’s Burnfield Road production facility. There we were taken step by step through the printing and binding process of a paperback book.

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This process begins with the Production Department receiving orders from Bell & Bain’s customers through email. These orders are turned into work tickets which are checked before being sent down to the computer to plate room.

Here the lithographs are prepared for each order. These plates start out blue and are chemically burned until all that remains in blue is what is to be printed. A plate is made for each colour needed, four for CYMK printing. The machines which make these lithographic plates are capable of creating up to thirty in one hour.

After this, and a brief look in at the paper storage area, we were then taken into the most exciting, and second loudest part of the facility. The part containing the gigantic presses which print the images from the lithographs onto the specific paper needed by the publisher. These monstrous, roaring machines are capable of printing 10,000 sheets an hour. Although it was difficult to hear all the information over the sound of the presses and other machines, I was able to gather that, despite there being cameras in the machine physical checks are required every 500 sheets or so. This reminder that machines are fallible is easily memorable from the slogan provided by Kenny Shepherdson, ‘Rely on the eye.’

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Once printed the sheets are then folded. This part of the factory was, rather unexpectedly after being faced with the presses, the noisiest.

Finally the signatures are sewn together, glue is added and then the cover. There is a long conveyor belt after this to allow the glue time to cool and after that it is sent to the trimmer.

The result is a finished book, in our case this was a new adult colouring book (because the world needs more of those). But in the end, as Derek Kenney reminded us at the end of our tour, it doesn’t really matter as long as people are still reading. So whether print really is dead (something that Derek strongly denied) or if it will continue to thrive indefinitely, as long as we read we’ll be alright. Because once we lose our interest in books we lose our interest in learning and growing.

 

Thanks to Barb Kuntova for letting me use her photos.

Morven Gow, MLitt Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 7th, 2016 by morven_gow | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Morven Gow, MLitt Publishing Studies 2016-17
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htln29im

“How brave of you.” “How inspiring!” “I’d love to do that – good on you!”
Reactions to news that I have signed up to be one of the first humans trying to grow spinach in a cloche on Mars? Or perhaps to an announcement that I am contemplating a fire-walk, swimming Loch Lomond, and cycling the world? Neither of those. I find myself a Hero for the Middle-Aged Worker simply by returning to Uni.
What has brought me here to study publishing at Stirling? I wanted to shake up my skills and go back to the future, to focus on writing. After 30 years planning and buying advertising campaigns, with some PR experience, working on campaigns for some of Scotland’s bastions of culture (National Museums, National Galleries, National Library), newspaper publishers, retailers, banks, whiskies, political, and public health campaigns, I thought I would brush up my writing skills to suit the digital age adding what is known in the trade as content marketing to the skills I could offer my employer and my clients. A quick Google brought me to the Publishing Scotland website, and information about a day course on the subject. But I wanted something with more depth. I read information on the site about PG courses in publishing, and although I discounted the idea at the time, a small persistent voice (coupled with the louder voices of my friends) kept asking, “why not? Books are a passion for you, and you love a beautifully designed hip posh mag”. After a meeting with the course director, Frances, the idea blossomed, I applied – and here I am, loving my new life as a student on a well respected course, thinking new thoughts, on a beautiful campus, with fellow students from all over the world.
Now that the course has begun, I can see that the Publishing Studies course will repurpose me for the next stage in my life – rather like a classic G Plan chair, reupholstered and reoiled.
Officially self-employed, I am a consultant for my previous company combining blog writing and communication advice with media planning and buying, and looking for some experience in book and magazine marketing from publishers before I graduate, with an eye to moving into that area as a consultant at the end of the course.

I can be found at@Morv60 on Twitter and at Morven Gow on LinkedIn

The Man Booker Prize 2016

October 28th, 2016 by Aleksander Pęciak | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Man Booker Prize 2016
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The Man Booker Prize logoWho would have ever thought that one of the most prestigious British book awards may be given according to one, simple criteria: “the best novel in the opinion of the judges”? The uniqueness of the Man Booker Prize lies also in the jury which is not (as someone would predict) contained only of literary critics or professors of literature – but also readers reflecting multiple backgrounds: politicians, actors or journalists. Honesty and simplicity that is expressed in this prize seem convincing even for me, a rebel always skeptical to the tastes of highly regarded authorities. And it must mean something.

The general idea behind the prize is to encourage readers to read the winning book – and a true success of it can be measured by the increase of its sales. Every year since 1969 winners are granted with £50,000 for their books published in The United Kingdom, which makes it one of the richest prizes in the world. In addition to the main prize since 2005 there has been the International Man Booker Prize awarded to those whose work’s translations appeared in English. The money are shared between the international author and the translator of the book. The winner of the International Man Booker Prize was announced earlier this year – “The Vegetarian” by Korean author Han Kang, a story about woman embracing her idea of living “plant-like” existence, translated by Deborah Smith, a founder of non-for-profit Tilted Axis Press.

In 2016 we can be sure that satire is still alive. On 25th of October Paul Beatty became the first American winner of The Man Booker Prize. Two years ago the prize changed its rules and opened to authors from outside the Commonwealth, what makes his winning even more significant. His winning book, “The Sellout”, “takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and snarl”, and is, as described by judges, “a novel for our times”. Parodying racial stereotypes, Beatty presents the story of Bonbon, African-American living in Dickens, Los Angeles, and his struggles with accusation of reintroducing slavery and segregation in a local high school. The author has received the trophy from the hands of the Duchess of Cornwall. A victory of Paul Beatty is also a victory of small and independent trade publisher – Oneworld. Based in London and active since 1986, Oneworld presents novels advertised as “intelligent, challenging and distinctive”. I could not imagine better gift for the year of their 30th anniversary.

The Man Booker Prize for Paul Beatty is also a great disappointment for the raised hopes for Graham Macrae Burnet’s “His Bloody Project” published by Contraband, the crime imprint of Saraband. It was the bestselling novel on the shortlist and had the best recognition amongst its rivals. A Man Booker Prize would be the true icing on the cake – “His Bloody Project” translation rights in six countries as well as film and TV adaptation permissions were sold. The publisher is struggling now to meet the demands for the books.

But in the terms of the mission of the prize, we can easily say that it is completed – sales for all the nominated books has risen, which proves its real impact on the readership and readers’ choices.

Elena Ferrante’s ‘Unmasking’: A Publicity Boost?

October 11th, 2016 by Otieno Owino | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Elena Ferrante’s ‘Unmasking’: A Publicity Boost?
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ferranteWhen, on Sunday 2nd October, news started trickling in about the Italian author Elena Ferrante’s ‘outing’ it was on Facebook that I first learnt about it. Soon the news spread on Twitter and went viral.

Following a trail of financial transactions by Ferrante’s publisher Edizione e/o, Italian journalist Claudio Gatti presents a strong case that translator Anita Raja has been the beneficiary of the success of Elena’s books, and that she is indeed the author of the critically acclaimed Neapolitan novels among other books. The publisher and Raja have not confirmed or denied this claim.

In this digital age, where writers and readers have become a community, and engagements between the two groups continue to become intimate, I was surprised by the reactions that followed. Deborah Orr commenting on the Guardian said the revelations violated her right to not know, while Aaron Bady, an American critic, questioned the logic of this ‘outing’. Most people in my reader circles were outraged at the sheer intrusion of privacy and the fact that whatever persona Ferrante had chosen to identify herself with was not important but the quality of her work, which many agree is among the best.

Could Ferrante have been an exception? That even in this age, a writer could stay out of social media, blogs, and only offer a few interviews on select mainstream media and still move books? The number of her books sold tell their own story. The success of the Neapolitan novels My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child have shifted a combined 372,760 copies in the UK according to an article in The Bookseller, which cites Nielsen Bookscan Data.

What a massive boost from a publicity point of view. Online literary magazines such as The New Yorker and LitHub, have picked up the story as well as other major news sites and magazines including the Guardian, New York Times, Independent and the Daily Mail, to name a few. Many readers who would not have heard about Elena Ferrante will by now have heard something about her.

But there could be good news from this after all. According to the Bookseller, retailers say that Ferrante’s ‘unmasking’ may lead to increased sales in books. And perhaps Claudio Gatti will have to find ways of looking into Anita Raja’s financial records again to verify if the figures correspond with increased sales.

By Otieno Owino

Marketing and Publicity and PaperLove

June 24th, 2015 by Courtney Murphy | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Marketing and Publicity and PaperLove
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Rachel Hazell, a.k.a. the Traveling Bookbinder

Rachel Hazell, a.k.a. the Traveling Bookbinder

I interned for Rachel Hazell, a bookbinder and paper artist based in Edinburgh. Rachel has been a self-employed book artist since 1998 when she founded her first company, Hazell Designs Books. She is passionate about books but more than anything else she’s passionate about paper itself. Her strong drive to share her passion for paper with others has taken her around the world: she has taught bookbinding and book art workshops in Scotland, Paris, Venice, California, and as far afield as Antarctica.

My work as an intern primarily involved marketing and publicity for PaperLove, Rachel’s online paper art course. The PaperLove e-course is five-week class that explores a range of paper art and paper craft. It is advertised as a course “Developed to enable everyone, no matter where they live, to work with Rachel to develop their creativity through the medium of paper”. Each week of the course is devoted to a specific theme or craft. The themes for each of the five weeks are: paper, collage, word, book, and mail. You can learn more about the course here.

The PaperLove e-course runs two times each year. As soon as my internship began in January I started

Countdown to PaperLove

Countdown to PaperLove

working to promote the March run of the course. Working with a limited marketing budget Rachel and I focused on using social media and electronic word-of-mouth marketing as a way of reaching potential “PaperLovers”. We used Instagram to host giveaways and to advertise the course. (The Society of Young Publishers recently did a feature on Rachel’s delightful Instagram account here.) On Facebook we used the Paperphilia page to share free DIY tutorials as a way of giving potential students the chance to try out paper crafts and get a sense of Rachel’s teaching style.

A large part of my internship consisted of liaising with artists and bloggers who helped to promote PaperLove. I contacted paper artists, collage artists, bookbinders, and bloggers all over the world and worked with them to get publicity for PaperLove. We offered interested artists a five-day PaperLove sampler course and requested that in exchange for the sampler they write a feature about PaperLove on their blog. Artists all over the world took part, including a visual artist based in London, U.K.; a paper artist and author in Delaware, U.S.A.; and a jeweler and crafter in Bucharest, Romania. It was interesting to see what each artist did with the sampler class projects, and the features these artists wrote really helped to extend Rachel’s reach and to spread the word about PaperLove. I also worked to get PaperLove onto craft websites and community sites. It was exciting to see PaperLove featured on CraftGossip.com. CraftGossip did two features on Rachel’s paper art: one feature on PaperLove and a second feature on Rachel’s DIY tutorial on how to make Mini Post Books.

Lemongrass soap lovingly wrapped in book text

Lemongrass soap lovingly wrapped in book text

Interning for a book and paper artist was never ever boring. While much of my work was done from home on my laptop, whenever I went into Edinburgh to meet with Rachel at her studio I got to take a break from my laptop and busy myself with whatever crafty tasks needed doing. One day I used pages cut from old second hand books to wrap up bars of soap for Bed with a View, Rachel’s literary-themed studio apartment retreat in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The next day upon my arrival at the studio I was presented with one of Rachel’s literary sculptures and asked to count the number of blossoms in a paper “bookquet”—a bouquet of flowers custom made from the pages of a book.

It was such a privilege to work with Rachel on promoting the PaperLove course. I learnt so much about marketing and publicity while working alongside Rachel and her PR, branding, and long-term strategy person. I also learnt a lot about paper: I now know all about European paper making methods, the history of writing implements, and I’ve mastered some basic paper folding and bookbinding techniques. My internship with Rachel Hazell has truly been a highlight of my year on the M.Litt. course.

Visiting Speaker: Dr Sam Rayner

January 7th, 2015 by Callum Mitchell Walker | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speaker: Dr Sam Rayner
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staffphotosam

On Thursday the 4th December we enjoyed the last visiting speaker of the semester, Dr Sam Rayner, the Director of the Centre for Publishing at the University College of London (UCL). Dr Rayner’s talk focused on her paper ‘Star Texts: The Next Generation’ in which she explores the dynamic modern world of publishing and its impact and potential impact on teaching and learning in society. Dr Rayner analyses the way in which publishers edit and package content for new readers and new markets, the shaping of the literary canon, and the emergence and significance of several types of ‘Star Texts’. Before beginning her talk, Dr Rayner pre-warned us of her use of Star Trek puns (which she admitted she had toned down), however the class was eager to hear about her research on ‘Star Texts’.

But what does Dr Rayner mean by Star Texts?

Dr Rayner began by expressing that throughout her academic and professional life (whether it be teaching, research, working in libraries or bookselling), texts and their status and consumption have been fundamental. This made her interested in observing how we read, keep, study and rate books. As a literary and publishing researcher, Dr Rayner recognised that certain terms related to texts with cultural standing—‘The Canon’ and ‘The Classic’, have “become elusive and complicated by two other means of quality control”—‘The Prize Winners’ and ‘The Book Club Recommendations’. Dr Rayner collectively calls these four groups ‘Star Texts’, and argued, “these texts create clusters in the impossible constellation of the research environment that they belong to”. This term, ‘impossible constellation’ comes from Prof. Ruth Mateus-Berr from the University of Applied Art Vienna, during a conference on artistic research, and she used the term to attempt to describe the “several contradictory methods, understandings and histories” that could be applied to artistic research. Dr Rayner believes that this ‘constellation’ was a particularly useful way of understanding how texts exist in the 21st Century. Her research therefore focuses on the tension between a literary work, and the responses to the literary work in question. Dr Rayner suggested that whilst the text remains unchanged, there is a constant transformative process of the work, born out of the interaction and response from each specific reader.

‘The Classic’

Dr Rayner went on to discuss importance of the transformative star text group of ‘The Classic’. These texts, Dr Rayner argued, are those that most commonly stand the test of time. But what makes a text a ‘Classic’? Dr Rayner pointed out that scholars have very varied views on this question. The ‘Classic’, academics argue, should arguably be “timelessly appealing” and “elevate its author to the status of a god”. Dr Rayner also added that ‘Classics’ can be very subjective, and one individual’s list of ‘Classic’ texts won’t necessarily be the same as that of another individual. However, we do find a curated ‘Classics’ section in a bookshop, and publishers for centuries have created ‘Classic’ lists. This type of text is chosen, designed and marketed by publishers rather than academics (not suggesting they are purely commercial products, however). Dr Rayner asserted that the ‘Classic’ should appeal to every type of reader. She also pointed out that publishers such as Penguin attempt to modernise by means of packaging, engaging with digital, and marketing these timeless texts.

‘The Canon’ 

Dr Rayner next went on to explain another type of ‘Star Text’ known as ‘The Canon’. The establishment sets this group for primarily educational purposes and to define identities within culture. This type of text exists to represent the view of the individual and the preservation of tradition. Dr Rayner went on to discuss how texts have become ‘canonised’ in education through curriculum and have moved away from chronological presentation, towards a clear genre focused syllabi of texts. ‘The Canon’, Dr Rayner believes is undergoing a time of extreme change, and the impact of celebrity culture and national feeling are determining the way texts are canonised in education. Dr Rayner also addressed the issue of whether or not students should be given a prescribed reading list, as arguably this is a means of industrially restraining the individual’s imagination. Perhaps a more effective system would rather encourage young people to love reading and get into a habit of it, Dr Rayner shared to the argument.

‘Prize Winning Fiction’ 

The next type of ‘Star Text’ Dr Rayner explained was the ‘Prize Winning Fiction’ category. Dr Rayner argued that in the modern world of publishing, being nominated for literary prizes quite often means being read or not being read by the reading public. Dr Rayner also discussed how effective creative writing courses are in the emergence of this type of text and the development of a synergy between academics, creative writing and publishing bestsellers. The question was also raised over what should constitute as a ‘prize winner’. Should it be by measured by unit sales or by its literary quality? Furthermore, who should decide on these status elevated texts? Academics, publishers or readers?

‘The Book Club Recommendations’

Following on from Dr Rayner’s previous group of ‘Star Texts’ was the final group of ‘Book Club Recommendations’. This group can also be a prizewinner, but experiences the treatment of being associated with a well-known figure or celebrity. In these cases, the power of an individual’s brand is worth thousands in sales of a title if they have been selected as part of their ‘book club’. This phenomenon arguably gave the book back its ‘social history’ and within these book clubs, the well-known figure(s) (such as Oprah or Richard and Judy) play an active role in choosing, recommending and associating themselves with a title. Dr Rayner described how in a sense these individuals act as mediators between the author’s text and the audience. Book clubs show more than any other type of ‘Star Text’ the tension between the cultural and the commercial that exists in the book trade.

Merely ‘Solar Flares’ or Eternal ‘Burning Stars’?

Dr Rayner developed her argument by observing the conflict between cultural and academic responses of texts and the importance of reader interaction and marketing campaigns on the success of these titles. In the vast ‘constellation’ of texts in the current market, Dr Rayner believes that grouping these ‘Star Texts’ helps us to identify what drives us when we choose what we are reading. The development of technology also makes the text organic, with digital transforming the way in which we read, store and share text. Dr Rayner’s paper raised several interesting debates on the textual environment and what defines a text as a ‘Star’ and indeed what cultural, academic and commercial forces play a part. By the end of Dr Rayner’s talk, we were ready to “boldly go where no researchers have gone before” and explore the future of ‘Star Texts’ and textual constellations!

 

 

 

This year’s round-up of the best literary gifts for Christmas 2014.

December 1st, 2014 by Hannah Elizabeth Roberts | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on This year’s round-up of the best literary gifts for Christmas 2014.
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Do you have someone in your life who is obsessed with books, reading and anything literary related but have no idea what to buy them for Christmas except from a book or gift vouchers? Then this might be the list for you. I have searched the internet for the best literary gifts around and have come up with a selection that is sure to please any book fanatic this holiday season:

  1. Literary T-shirts: Buzzfeed have compiled this rather impressive list of book themed clothing that are sure to light up your loved one’s face on Christmas morning. My favourite is the ‘Atticus Finch’ To Kill a Mocking Bird t-shirt. I have definitely noticed a rising trend for book or literary themed clothing in the past couple of years so these are a must buy!

Publishing tshirt

(http://www.buzzfeed.com/jenniferschaffer/team-edward-rochester?bffb)

 

2. Literary Mugs: It’s rare that you will find a book lover without a mug of tea or coffee in their hand. Why not treat them to the Literary Gift Company’s selection of adorable mugs?

matilda mug

(http://www.theliterarygiftcompany.com/matilda-mug-15849-p.asp)

 

 3. Fancy Book Shelves:

Buzzfeed have again come up with a list of brilliant book-related gifts. How does a wall of floating book shelves sound? Find them online!

 

 

book shelves

 

(http://www.smartfurniture.com/products/Conceal-Floating-Bookshelves.html)

 

4. Literary Jewellery: If you’re like me and love jewellery and books then these should be on your Christmas wish list. Either for yourself, or for someone special. The Literary Emporium have a fantastic selection of themed jewels for you to choose from! The Ernest Hemingway ‘Cat Lover’ necklace is on my wishlist.

 

cat necklace

(http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/partners/literaryemporium/products)

 

5. Unusual Bookmarks: For those of you like myself, who have a mountain of half-read books on their bedside table, these bookmarks are just the thing you need. Practical and cute! You can find these on Amazon.

 

 

book mark

 

(http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009QY1D9I/?tag=buzz0f-20)

6. Your/ You’re set of teacups: Need I say anymore? These are available via Etsy.

 

teacups

(https://www.etsy.com/listing/150117826/grammar-teacup-and-saucer-set-of-2?ref=tre-2725348424-14)

 

So, there you have it, my selection of alternative book related gifts for you to give to someone special this Christmas.

All you have to do is decide what to buy!

  • Hannah Roberts, M.Litt in Publishing Studies, University of Stirling, 2014-15.

 

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.

Visiting speaker: John Innes – Think Publishing.

October 15th, 2014 by Heather Margaret McDaid | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting speaker: John Innes – Think Publishing.
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Whale Dolphin Conservation“We want to create content that connects with the reader, and has its own aims and objectives,” says John Innes, associate director of Think Publishing, the second of the MLitt’s visiting speakers for 2014-15. Heather McDaid reports:

The company currently has 58 staff, 38 clients and 45 titles they handle, with 4.5 million copies per year printed. But it’s not just content creation they handle; as with any competitive company within publishing they offer a full service to meet their clients’ needs. This can range from editorial and design, advertising and research, to finance account management.

Just like the service they provide, their client base is broad and varied. Publications include Historic Scotland and CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), as well as Whale & Dolphin, with digital copies available on ISSUU. Though there’s a stark contrast in some of the content, Innes notes there are lots of similarities in dealing with membership magazines that makes it easier.

“We need latitude to make it look interesting,” he notes, explaining that it’s hard to work within a rigid brand. To avoid it looking like a corporate brochure, they need to evolve the publication to keep it interesting for readers. He deems it “Brand+” – they take the basic brand and add to it to create a better product.

In order to do that, he continues, they need to satisfy all three of their customers without encroaching on another – the client, the reader and the advertisers.

“Every issue we produce should be better than the last” in at least one way, and they use workshops heavily in order to meet the client’s needs while creating a quality product. This goes beyond a mere print publication at times, with digital content being generated for almost every client, from extracts to video content. People are platform agnostic, he adds, but it’s still important to make each one functional and appealing.

With this digital age, there is one key issue: “there is no such thing as news in an internet environment”, instead they’ll try generate interviews and analysis, not “news that happened last week”. In a world where information is available instantaneously, print publications can’t compete.

But what about those who would like to work with Think Publishing? “The best question to ask is ‘why?'”, says Innes. They need people not only with an interest in their work, but the ability to ask why they do certain things, why competitors do certain things, and whether that’s something they should consider. They need people who want to make the publications better and more interesting, and encourage people to look into their internships if it sounds something they feel they’d be suited for.

The First in Our Visiting Speakers Series, 2014-15

October 7th, 2014 by Kiley Pole | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The First in Our Visiting Speakers Series, 2014-15
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On Thursday October 2, we had the first in our visiting speakers series. Chani McBain, Leah McDowell and Nadia Suchdev provided us with a plethora of information on not only their specified topics but also their experiences in the publishing industry.

To start the session off Leah McDowell and Nadia Suchdev introduced us to the Society of Young Publishers Scotland (SYP). We learned how the organization is run by volunteers with the aim to help and inform those who have been in the publishing business for less than 10 years, or those like us who are attempting to break into the business. SYP Scotland offers different events and workshops available to members (to become a member it costs £24 per annum) that help put their name out there and start the all dreaded networking. Included in the membership is free entry to all events, a newsletter, job bulletins, discounted tickets to the annual SYP Conference and participation in the mentoring programme.

Some of upcoming events include, “How to network for those who hate networking” on October 23rd and the Booksellers Panel Event on November 19th.

Leah and Nadia also encouraged us to not only join, but apply to become committee members. As a member of the committee you would have a hand in putting on the events throughout the year that really help people.

You can find them on Facebook SYP Scotland and on Twitter @SYPscotland.

Chani McBain spoke to us about Floris Books and more specifically the internship available from them. She gave us some useful advice about using our time in the course to make those connections and getting a lot of different experience in the different fields of publishing. Her main tagline about internships being that we might be wrong. In our heart of hearts we may think we are meant to be editors when in reality we are best suited for production or marketing, that really we could love a field that we never thought possible.

The internship at Floris Books is one day a week (which day that is they are flexible and willing to work with us) in a “marketing focused” capacity. That does not mean that the intern (one this semester and one next) will solely be stuffing envelops, although that is part of it, but that they will be working on press releases, marketing briefs, and flyers to name a few. Since Floris Books is a small company, composing of 11 employees, the interns will have the opportunity to witness and be part of many small projects and get to see the whole publishing process.

What Floris lacks in number of employees they make up for in their plethora of teas to chose from.

These three ladies gave us lots of useful advice, stemming from their experiences as newcomers to the industry and from when they were students as well. Namely, that internships are good, if not essential in getting to know the business as well as getting to know yourself. Are you really an editor? Or, are you a literary agent? This is our industry, it pays to become involved. Take advantage of every opportunity, not just internships but events, panels, book and literary festivals. And, when it comes dissertation time, choose a topic that is useful, something that not only will inform you about the industry but something that is geared to the type of job you want.