According to Homi Bhabha, hybridity in the context of identity where two cultures or languages collide is a third space where new views and stances can emerge. I explored the concept of this third space by writing a novel in English, which is my second language, instead of in my mother tongue, Slovenian. I investigated the effects of language switch on my choice of subject matter, my writing process, and my perception of my work and myself as a writer and as a person. I examined language-related challenges of writing in my second language, the benefits of a new insight a second language offers, and how multilingualism leads to a more fluid identity and a change in perspective.
Launched in 1999, at a time of radical change for the publishing industry, Persephone Books has become a successful independent publisher of neglected female authors mainly from the 20th-century inter-war period. Publishing being an industry primarily shaped by the differential distribution of symbolic and economic capital (Bourdieu, ‘The Market for Symbolic Goods’, in The Rules of Art, Polity Press, 1996, p. 9), competing principles of cultural legitimacy within an increasingly commercial climate clarify the position of modern publishing at the intersection of culture and commerce (Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, Columbia University Press, 1993, p. 27). This article explores how Persephone Books’ understated assertion of publishing’s ‘middle ground’ and commitment to the historically reviled ‘middlebrow’ genre have reconciled the perennial tension between culture and commerce to create a thriving yet unintentional publishing brand.
Streaming services for audiobooks and ebooks have grown rapidly in recent years. The shift in consumption patterns has transformed both reading and publishing. One visible change is the attraction and importance of backlist titles. The article investigates how the relationship between frontlist and backlist in the bestseller segment has developed, and discusses the shift in the power balance between the two. By examining large-scale consumer behaviour data (6.23 million streams) from one of the key players in subscription-based digital bookselling – Storytel – we track book consumption both in detail and at a structural level. Our results show that backlist titles are increasingly important for bestselling authors who continue to publish frontlist titles, especially for fiction written in series. Streaming services foster new types of book consumption behaviour thanks to a combination of technology, media, reading habits, and social change.
Online book fairs are being held in Vietnam to replace traditional offline events that have been shelved owing to the COVID-19 crisis. This study aims to explore book consumers’ perceptions regarding digital book fairs and their evaluation of the first-ever national online book fair held in Vietnam. In-depth interviews were conducted to obtain insights from people who had attended the online book event. The findings provide acceptance of and support for the organization of digital book fairs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees generally appreciated the convenience of the national online book fair and the promotional programmes offered by various publishers and distributors. Furthermore, some attendees enjoyed the novelty of the event and the feeling of being included in the reading community. Nevertheless, most of the attendees highlighted several limitations, especially the lack of social and face-to-face interaction. These findings have implications for online book fair organizers, publishers, and book distributors alike.
An anthropological view of the publishing industry sees it as a culture with its own assumptions and patterns, in which publishing companies are macro-communities associated with micro-communities of readers. Anthropology sees ‘digital culture’ in a comparable way. Awareness of the cultural characteristics of publishing as a culture and of digital culture can turn their differences into synergies that benefit both. Examples from anthropological research and from publishing show that some processes are comparable. One is the process in which material value is transformed into cultural value, with the benefit of increasing the cohesion of a community. Another occurs when communities interlink their cultural processes in cultural–commercial ecosystems, to mutual benefit. Anthropological insights suggest how strategies, at project level and at the level of international cooperation, can bridge the cultural divide between traditional publishing values and digital opportunities and so help businesses survive and succeed in times of change.
The interwar years in Britain are regularly referred to by historians and literary commentators as the Golden Age of detective fiction (c. 1920–1940). This article focuses on the Collins imprint the Crime Club, established in 1930. It assesses the significance of this imprint in the context of the Golden Age, with a focus on its commercial animus, drawing on theories about class-based markets and the commercialization of print culture. The article examines the marketing methods used by the Crime Club to promote its titles, such as newsletters and card games, and takes into consideration the arguments of 1930s literary critics. It aims to show that detective fiction had a significant role in the commercialization of print culture during the 1930s and that its success heavily relied upon the support of a middle-class readership.
Process engraver and printer Emery Walker was a pivotal figure in the English, American, and continental European Private Press Movement from the 1880s until his death in 1933. This article looks at his theories for the typography, design, and production of books, and how those theories were developed by key designers and close associates of Walker such as William Morris, T. J. Cobden Sanderson, and Bruce Rogers and through the practical teaching of figures such as J. H. Mason and Edward Johnston. It examines how the theories were then taken up by the exponents of fine printing from the early 20th century through to the 1930s, focusing on the presses of Bernard Newdigate, Harry Kessler, Harold Curwen, and Francis Meynell. From these presses, and also via Stanley Morison and the Monotype Corporation, Walker’s theories are shown to have spread into mainstream book publishing in the first half of the 20th century. The article considers questions of whether the improvement in the readability of books in the early 20th century has had a continuing impact in book publishing, and makes suggestions how to access the incunabula referenced by the designers discussed, as well as collections of private press books and other early 20th-century fine printing.
In 1989, a literary landmark in New York City closed. Scribner’s Bookstore, 597 Fifth Avenue, stood at the epicentre of Manhattan’s retail district. The Scribner’s publishing company was then 153 years old. In the 1920s, driven by genius editor Max Perkins, Scribner’s published Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Wolfe. Scribner’s Magazine was The New Yorker of its day. The bookshop and publisher occupied a 10-storey Beaux-Arts building, designed by Ernest Flagg, which eventually won protection from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Medallions honoured printers Benjamin Franklin, William Caxton, Johann Gutenberg, and Aldus Manutius. The ‘Byzantine cathedral of books’ offered deeply informed personal service. But the paperback revolution gained momentum, bookshop chains like Barnes & Noble and Brentano’s adopted extreme discounting, and the no-discounting Scribner’s business model became unsustainable. Real estate developers swooped in. The bookshop’s ignominious end came when Italian clothier Benetton took over its space.