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  • Continuum

    Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:40

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Ken Rhodes (UK Sales and Marketing Director, Continuum): Continuum is a rapidly developing and innovative publisher emphasising academic publishing in the humanities; the educational market, particularly trainee teachers and teaching professionals; religion; and History; along with a small coherent issue-based trade list.

    BD: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    KR: The main opportunity we see is for broadening the availability of product through effectively using digital technology. Mostly, at the moment, this is disseminating information to booksellers and through marketing channels via the internet but this will quickly develop into ebook sales and even ebook rental and sales of fragments (probably at the chapter level).

    BD: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    KF: Our publishing decisions are based on a wide variety of considerations depending on the subject area and level of the target audience. The main principles of our publishing, though, are quality and relevance. We are particularly interested in developing the writing careers of young academics with a commitment to communicating a clear understanding of their chosen subject to students or their peers.

    BD: What books are you most proud of having published?

    KR: In the last year or so, they would include Why Truth Matters, Arabs, The Seven Basic Plots and The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia. But also a range of student series including the Guides for the Perplexed, Reader’s Guides and The Buggers (helping teachers to control and motivate students...) We’re busy people.

    BD: What books are you working on right now?

    BD: The stand-out books for the autumn are Scared to Death by Christopher Booker and Richard North, The Home We Build Together by Jonathan Sacks, and alongside this a continuing stream of trade history hardbacks and paperbacks from our Hambledon imprint.

    *****

    These are The Book Depository's 5 favourite Continuum titles:


    Posted by Mark Mark

    Categories: publishers, Continuum

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  • Collins

    Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:40

    Book Depository What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Denise Bates: A broad-based audience for general non-fiction. As we publish everything from commercial TV tie-ins and high-profile cookbooks to narrative history and even specialist Natural History guides, our typical consumer varies accordingly. A lot of people know Collins as a brand from their school dictionaries and atlases, and from the Collins Gem series, but what they might not realise is that Collins also publishes highly commercial non-fiction such as the Dragons' Den tie-in, Rachel Allen's cookbooks, Kevin McCloud and even Neil Morrissey this autumn, on the joys of the Perfect Pint.

    BD: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    DB: As straight reference material moves - in fact, has moved - online, books need to have lots of personality and that added something to appeal. It means everything we publish has to have character, a real point of view and an appeal as an object - whether that's a gorgeous ribbon on a cookbook or an unusual format or cover finish. And of course digital competition is an opportunity as well as a challenge. We've recently signed up a series of parenting titles with quirky new website gurgle.com, for example, so the web is certainly creating brands that can successfully translate into books, as well as vice versa.

    BD: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    DB: Understanding clearly how, where and why it is going to be sold are the givens, and it needs to fit our publishing strategy for a particular category. Then it's down to excitement - is this a project or author that really creates a buzz and for whom we see a long-term future, ideally over more than one book? With some titles you can be remarkably close in predicting what they will sell - with others it's a case of betting on a dark horse, about which you have a gut feeling. And of course sales and marketing colleagues are very closely involved in the decision to acquire or not - we want to be investing in projects that we all, as a team, feel passionate about and that we can really get behind.

    BD: What books are you most proud of having published?

    DB: It's incredibly difficult to pick out any individual titles but in general I would say that the books for which we have had the idea are often the most satisfying. When you've spotted a trend, gone out and found an author and crafted a book that's right for the audience - and it performs - that's very pleasing. And taking an author to a new level is deeply exciting. When we took on the TV cook Rachel Allen, for example, she was a star in Ireland but not selling significantly in the UK. Now her books sell well in excess of 100,000 copies and she is as successful in the UK as she is in Ireland.

    BD: What books are you working on right now?

    DB:The lead times for illustrated books in particular are at least 18 months ahead of publication, so we're working on commissioning our list for autumn 2009 and beyond. Alongside that, we're putting the final touches to our autumn 08 list as retailers firm up their Christmas line-up and our PR plans start to take definite shape. The right book can always be slotted in very quickly, however, if really necessary - last week we signed up Kate and Gin, the dancing dog from Britain's Got Talent, to share the secrets of all those fantastic tricks in time for an October publication date. I think it's the first time we've pitched to a dog!

    *****

    These are The Book Depository's 5 favourite Collins titles:

    Posted by Mark Mark

    Categories: publishers, Collins

    Write a comment | Comments: 0

  • Zymurgy Publishing

    Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:40

    Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Martin Ellis (Zymurgy Publishing): Zymurgy has a number of key markets: people who enjoy biographies and memoirs, north east local interest titles and the gift market for its little humour books.

    BD: What are your principal challenges?

    ME: Promotion and publicity for books once they have been out for more than six months.

    You see, Zymurgy Publishing is a one man band based in Newcastle. (Zymurgy is the chemical term for fermentation, an organic process. I knew the word because of an interest in beer and thought that it would be a memorable name even if people can't pronounce or spell it!) The first book I published was Natural North, a photographic celebration of wildlife in the north of England in November 2000.

    So, as a small publisher, Zymurgy is keen to promote titles for years not months, whilst the media is mostly interested in the latest titles. After all the time and energy from everyone involved in publishing a book, books need to have a long life -- Natural North is still a great book!

    BD: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular book/author?

    ME: Do I like it and will I be able to sell enough copies for it to be commercially viable, after all publishing is my living and not my hobby.

    BD: What books are you most proud of?

    ME: After publishing Bent Not Broken, Lauren Roche, the author came all the way from New Zealand to promote the book and work with women effected by issues raised in the book. I have received a lot of feedback from women who have enjoyed Bent Not Broken and found it to be an inspiration.

    To Make The People Smile Again, George Wheeler's memoir of his experience of the Spanish Civil War has introduced the Spanish Civil War to many people. The book has sold well in Britain, been translated into Spanish and published by a global Spanish language publisher, and it has also been dramatised on BBC Radio and broadcast on the World Service to an audience of millions.

    It is also pleasing to know that The Little Book of What Men Don't Understand About Women has entertained thousands and no doubt fuelled battle of the sexes arguments.

    BD: What books are you working on at the moment?

    ME: I am working on two titles aimed at the Christmas gift market. One book is a collection of children's jokes, based on the principal that children love telling jokes to their family and friends. The other title is a collection of interesting facts and information relating to the body. There are also a number of titles that are being developed for publication next year.

    *****

    These are The Book Depository's 5 favourite Zymurgy Publishing titles:


  • Shearsman Books

    Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:40

    Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Tony Frazer (Shearsman) That very tiny niche which consists of people interested in contemporary poetry, and "literary" poetry at that - quite a lot of contemporary poetry has no literary pretensions at all.

    BD: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    TF: I can't speak for the industry as a whole, but the key to making this press work is down to (a) keeping costs as low as possible, (b) finding the right new titles and (c) somehow finding a way to let the public know about (b).

    The most difficult thing for any small press - and this is a small press, despite the level of output - is to be taken seriously by those at the centre of things. I would like to see more and better reviewing of new poetry books, although I don't actually kid myself that this would necessarily help sales - few reviews do that unless they're in the TLS, or in one of major dailies.

    BD: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    TF: Quite a lot of the list consists of writers whom I especially admire and whom I've chased after to get onto the list: Nathaniel Tarn, R.F. Langley, Roy Fisher, Christopher Middleton, Peter Cole, for instance; there are also a lot of writers who have come to be part of the family from regular appearances in Shearsman magazine. Then there are the translations, a majority of which are either classics (modern or otherwise) or poets I've read in their native language and wanted to see available in English. Finally, there are the surprises, that come through the post-box. The longer the press keeps going, the more of these there are - simply because we now publish more books and because we're better known. A good deal of our American list, for instance, consists of poets that came to us by word-of-mouth, which is as it should be.

    BD: What books are you most proud of having published?

    TF: Lee Harwood's Collected Poems, Vallejo's complete poetry in 3 volumes, Gloria Gervitz's Migrations, Pessoa's Alberto Caeiro poems, Tom Lowenstein's Ancestors and Species, and recently, D.S. Marriott's Hoodoo Voodoo. There are others, but these stick particularly in my mind.

    BD: What books are you working on right now?

    TF: My time has been consumed recently by a verse-novel called The Lovemakers, by the Australian poet Alan Wearne. This originally appeared in Sydney in 2 volumes in 2001 and 2004, but went out of print, despite winning every prize available down under. The Shearsman version is a single-volume version running to just under 700 pages. It's a great read and a tour-de-force of poetic styles at the same time.

    Then there's Andrew Duncan's essay-collection The Council of Heresy, Kent Johnson's collection of poems, Homage to the Last Avant-Garde, an extraordinary book of Russian poems by Anna Glazova, plus Judith Infante's Love: A Suspect Form, which deals with the story of Abelard and Heloise.

    I've also been working on some of the 2009 publications, one of the highlights of which is Kenny Knight's first collection, The Honicknowle Book of the Dead, a kind of deadpan autobiography in verse, set in a working-class suburb of Plymouth. On top of this there are a number of major translations, which I can't mention here as the rights and/or support are still being negotiated, and a collection of essays on the poetry of J.H. Prynne, which I think fills a considerable gap in the market, and is readable, unlike most critical volumes on poetry.

    *****

    These are The Book Depository's 5 favourite Shearsman titles:


  • British Museum Press

    Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:40

    Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Margaret Robe (British Museum Press): Our publishing mission follows that of the British Museum, a museum of the world and for the world. We publish books across ancient and contemporary world cultures, their art and artefacts, their past and their future. Our list includes titles for very different markets – including general readers coming fresh to a new subject, experts seeking the very latest research and discoveries in their field, and children and families. These highly-illustrated books cover archaeology, history, the Classical world, the Renaissance, treasures from the Middle East, Asia, the Americas, Africa, and much more – all drawing on the extensive collections of the British Museum.

    BD: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    MR: It's hard to gauge to what extent readers will embrace digitization of books, and how that will affect booksellers and publishers. For now, it's important for smaller publishers to remain open-minded and listen to advice from colleagues in the trade before costly decisions are made. However we see new media and Web 2.0 as a wonderful tool, allowing readers from around the world to go online, link up and learn more about the museum, its amazing collections, and our publications, even if they cannot visit London.

    BD: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    MR: We aim to publish across the Museum's collections, so that every area is represented. The collections are so extensive that this encourages a wide variety of types of publications. Many of our authors are curators and experts working in the museum itself but we do publish external authors too. We're very lucky that we have our own shops in the museum, and so we get direct feedback from a fantastic customer base. Of course we publish exhibition books and catalogues for exhibitions such as the First Emperor and Hadrian, but we also publish general books, including small gift books, children's books which support Key Stage 2 of the national curriculum, and many illustrated books on different topics.

    BD: What books are you most proud of having published?

    MR: We published last season a terrific book for families and children, called 500 Things to Know About the Ancient World, which was awarded the prize for Best Publication by the Association for Cultural Enterprises, an organization that promotes dialogue & development between the museums and heritage sites in the UK. Some of our best-selling topics are, of course, Ancient Egypt and hieroglyphs, and many of our best-selling titles are in this area.

    BD: What books are you working on right now?

    MR: We've just published the exhibition books for Hadrian: Empire and Conflict, together with a range of titles on Rome and Roman history, such as Concise Introduction: Ancient Rome and, for children, V-Mail: Letters from the Romans at Vindolanda Fort near Hadrian's Wall. We're now working on the books for our Babylon show in November, and finishing other key autumn titles such as Masterpieces of Medieval Art, a lovely illustrated giftbook on Dogs: History, Myth, Art and the new British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt.

    *****

    These are The Book Depository's 5 favourite British Museum Press titles:


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