by Nicola Timbrell, MA Publishing Subject Coordinator and 3 MA Students
This year eight MA Digital Publishing and Publishing Media students from Oxford Brookes University volunteered to help out behind the scenes at the renowned digital publishing conference, FutureBook 2016. They reported that it ‘was amazing’, and that ‘all of us shone individually and collectively’. Of course there was time to network with attending publishing professionals, listen to speakers, and learn a great deal about what is going on in the digital publishing industry.
While all were brimming with excitement and news, three students wrote up their experience of the day. I hope you enjoy reading their accounts, below.
by Catherine Hall
This event took place on 3rd November 2016 and was focused on publishers and retailers working within museums, galleries, and the heritage sector. Katie Bond of the National Trust, Samuel Fanous of the Bodleian Library, and Declan McCarthy of the Ashmolean museum kindly came to talk to us about the financial and business considerations that come into play when commissioning works.
Publishers from the cultural sector occupy an ambivalent position between other trade publishers and cultural bodies, which may explain why they have survived the recession so well. As others have folded, heritage publishing has moved more and more into the High Street. This is reflected by the kinds of works being produced in each of our speakers’ businesses.
by Martina Borg
As a relatively new MA Publishing Media student at Oxford Brookes University, I must admit to knowing very little about the Frankfurt book fair prior to joining the course. It was little more than a promising murmur when I signed up for the trip, but throughout our first month in the classroom we heard a new snippet of information about it practically every day ...
As the twenty-five of us on the trip came off the S-Bahn platform on Friday morning, we were swept into the venue along with throngs of other fair-goers. For book lovers, it is a bit like being a child in the busiest candy store you can imagine. The fair offers something of a unique opportunity for publishers to meet international partners and to discuss rights deals for upcoming works. Walking through the halls, I tried to fit in with the industry professionals milling to and from various publishers' stalls, and I was struck by the sheer number of appointments each publisher had throughout the day, from the big international power-houses, to the smaller, independent publishers hailing from practically all around the world.
by Gina Willis
On Friday 7 October 2016 fifteen MA Publishing students from Oxford Brookes University joined Oxford University Press staff from the global academic stock planning department for their annual away day. The aim of the day was to experience a modern concept of managerial training known as ‘Reverse Mentoring’, which involves the senior members of the group, (the OUP professionals) learning from the junior members of the group, (the students). This was implemented by splitting students and employees into five groups each being given a task.
by Jessica Roufaeil, MA Publishing Media
Academic publishing sometimes comes across as less attractive in the eyes of publishing students, who are dazzled by the idea of trade publishing — fiction, non-fiction, children’s. However, after Jonathan Glasspool, Managing Director at Bloomsbury’s Academic and Professional publishing, spoke to our publishing class at Oxford Brookes University, I believe that there may have been a few changes of heart.
by Francesca Zunino Harper
An OPuS event that took place on Thursday 29 September 2016.
It all started with the best possible ice-breaker and warm-up exercise: an entire hour filled with free red and white wine, courtesy of sponsors Atwood Tate recruitment agency. Is this the usual way to properly start a publishing career? If so, I’m definitely in. Having the social before the conference (thanks to the organisers, Beverley, Leander and Jane) certainly helps raise the temperature. When the talks began, the atmosphere was hot indeed, and so was the room, completely crammed with students and professionals. Of the four presenters - David Spencer from Elsevier, Emily Brand from the Bodleian Library, Robbie Cook from Rebellion, and Emily Pidgeon-Martin from Lidl – two were former Oxford Brookes students and all were genuinely enthusiastic about working in publishing, and about their studies in publishing at Brookes.
by Christian Wagner
I had a great day at the British Library in London on Wednesday 23 March, 2016. The Nielsen BookInsights Conference took a closer look at the behaviour and attitudes of book consumers and presented current trends to attendees of all kind, such as publishers, booksellers, photographers and students.
by Samantha Jacquest
Taking initiative was the main theme behind Emily Labram’s talk during the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies’ Lunchtime Seminar. Emily explained her career path from graduate student to Publishing Technologist at Bibliocloud, focusing on 10 “insights” she learned along the way.
As a postgraduate student, hearing how people have achieved success is always inspiring and reassuring; one common theme I seem to hear is that even when someone does not travel the career path they expected, the unexpected journey they take ends up being the right choice. Emily Labram was no different.
by Nicole Finucane
A recent addition to the team at Blackwells, Kieron Smith, Digital Director, has a background in the industry stretching over 20 years, having worked at virtually every major bookseller in the UK. With his vast experience in the field and his very candid views on the future of the bookseller in the Higher Education market, his take on understanding the academic ebook buyer proved to be a fascinating one. Blackwells launched their ebook platform about 18 months ago, which is run through their own technology and development team.
It may come as no surprise that Blackwells, the renowned academic bookseller, serves up to 1.2 million students every year. What many of us might not realize is that more 18-year-olds have entered university this year than ever before. Texts have become far more functional, with students opting only for instrumentalist content. Students in the UK these days are focusing their reading on set chapters or handouts, and this, as Smith highlights, varies radically from the behaviour of their predecessors, who might have read more widely.
by Samantha Jacquest
As a student who will be looking for jobs in a matter of months, networking opportunities can sometimes be the most valuable part of a postgraduate course. When I heard about Working in Publishing Day, organized by the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, at first I thought it would be a waste of my time, as I’m from the U.S. and will be heading back home when my degree is completed. I figured, I’m not staying to work in the U.K., so there’s no point in me attending this event. But after my experience, I am extremely happy I changed my mind.