Publishing News | European Publishing
Claire Squires, Senior Lecturer in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University, recently wrote an article for the Financial Times on the cover design of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons.
Writing for a series in the FT called 'How to Judge a Book by its Cover', Squires explains how the design pictured here did not appear until 1938 (8 years after initial publication of the book). Ransome only started illustrating his own work with the third in the Swallows and Amazons series, Peter Duck, as a textual joke: the pictures were supposed to have been drawn by the children in the book.
The environment is a big issue in contemporary publishing. Recently, OPUS (the Oxford Publishing Society) hosted an event at Oxford Brookes University to discuss the issues. Marie Hanson, an MA in Publishing student at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies at Oxford Brookes University, reports from the event:
'Edward Milford, Chairman of Earthscan, opened his speech ‘Greening our Publishing' with the provocative question "Is it possible?" He raised key issues such as the sustainability of the ‘green' process, and identified it as an industry-wide problem, which cannot be solved by individual companies working in isolation. With that in mind he outlined his own company's Environmental Policy, stating that in order for it to be a success it must have a substantial effect on the production process; if the policy allows you to continue ‘business as usual', it's not likely to produce the most impressive results.
The annual Frankfurt Book Fair is the biggest book fair in the world. This year, part-time MA in Publishing student Jonathan Davis from the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies was invited to work on the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG) stand during the Fair.
'They came, they saw, they bartered and then they left. Outlasting the Frankfurt Book Fair before it outlasts you presents a unique opportunity to view the actions and behaviours of a rare breed of animal which come into full display every year at this time: the Frankfurt Book Fair buying public. If David Attenborough were to shoot a documentary on these creatures great and small this is where he would begin.
'I had the repeat pleasure of assisting my London Book Fair friends, the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG), with their activities in Germany this year and got a taste of what it's like to be on the other side of the exhibitors' stand. Attending the fair for the first time last year with the Oxford Brookes MA in Publishing programme and seeing the business between publishers happen in the flesh - I felt a repeat experience was needed as the sheer size of the event was slightly overwhelming. The IPG provided me with an accessible way this year to get my hands dirty for the last two days of the fair when the general public are allowed access to over 7,000 publishers and the tens of thousands of books available. All to be bought, bargained for and carried home by any means necessary.
Students from the MA in Publishing at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies have helped in the publication of Richard Charkin's blog in book form. Chark Blog was written while Richard Charkin was CEO of Macmillan, and ended in September 2007 when he left to lead Bloomsbury. But digital has turned to print (on demand), and the book was launched in September 2008. A team of students (Mary Berry, Nayumi Furuta, Rhianna Jones, Holly Vitow, Amy Wigelsworth and Shell Xu) indexed the book, and Caitlyn Miller, who led the indexing team, also worked with Macmillan to prepare the book for publication.
Greek publishing industry
Together with Christina Banou from the Ionian University in Greece, Angus Phillips has published a paper in Publishing Research Quarterly on the Greek publishing industry. The paper provides an overview of the publishing industry in Greece and suggests areas for further investigation. Topics covered include the structure of the industry and notable features of the book market, including the profile of publishers, the role of information technology, and national book policy.
The Greek market for books is small and as a consequence less attractive to international publishing groups. In 2006 around 9,200 new titles were published, of which over 40 per cent were translated titles. There were 730 publishing houses, mostly small and medium-sized companies, and many publishers remain family-owned enterprises. There are fixed prices for books in the first two years after publication, and there are around 2,000 bookshops in Greece.
Christina Banou and Angus Phillips, ‘The Greek Publishing Industry and Professional Development’, Publishing Research Quarterly, 24:2, June 2008.
The Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies (OICPS) once again had a stand at the London Book Fair in April, following the success of last year’s attendance. It was an excellent opportunity to meet many of our alumni who were working with their own companies at the fair, as well as many of our publishing contacts in the UK and international industries. Current students were greatly in evidence, wearing OICPS T-shirts and distributing leaflets and brochures for our forthcoming Digital Publishing series of courses. Two students helped out at the stand for the Independent Publishers Guild. We were busy throughout the Fair and, for example, hosted two well-attended seminars on children’s publishing. Sheila Lambie and Claire Squires wrote articles for the trade journal Publishing News to coincide with the seminars.
Students and staff from the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies recently visited the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Helen Swain, a student on the European Master in Publishing, reports:
Bologna welcomed Claire Squires, Caroline Hamilton and a number of Oxford Brookes students for the Children’s Book Fair 2008 on April 1 and 2. The beautiful, sun-drenched city itself caused immediate general infatuation of the eyes and taste buds, and initial impressions of the Book Fair were that it was smaller and more compact than its counterpart in Frankfurt. The Fair featured a significant graphic presence, with an impressive exhibition of illustrators’ drawings from all over the world and several interviews in the Illustrators’ Cafe. Another interesting aspect of the fair was the series of lectures and interviews on the subject of translation.
The 2008 Leipziger Buchmesse was held from 13 to 16 March 2008. This is an important spring event in Germany for the promotion of books from central and eastern Europe. The Fair had around 2,300 exhibitors and in the previous year attracted over 125,000 visitors. The Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding was given to the Dutch writer Geert Mak, author of In Europa (2004).
A former student of the MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University, Marie Halkjaer, has recently established her own publishing company in Denmark. Halkjaer returned to Denmark following the successful completion of her MA in 2005 and worked with several small publishers as head of marketing. She is now in the process of starting her own publishing company, Clockwise Publishing, which will publish its first book in May. She is also working as a freelance consultant.
Halkjaer recently published an article in the Danish magazine BogMarkedet describing how her experiences at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies helped to prepare her for the challenges of starting a new publishing company.
On March 10, 2008, Ophelia gave a fascinating, chilling and passionate talk to students and staff of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies about the history and work of English PEN and the Writers in Prison Programme, as well as the writers for whom English PEN is active.
From its apolitical beginnings in London in 1917 as a dining club for writers, International PEN has developed into an organisation with autonomous centres around the world, whose aims include the formation of a community of writers across cultures and the public upholding of human rights. In 1960 the Writers in Prison programme, which campaigns for writers imprisoned because of their work, was born. Since the late 1990s, English PEN has initiated new programmes building relationships between writers and communities and in 2004, the Writers in Translation programme was initiated, which provides grants to publishers to help them promote works in translation that they publish here in the UK.