This paper offers an original approach to examining the UK book-publishing industry over the past 30 years: as a case study within the context of boundaryless career theory. Boundaryless career theory has inspired a broad body of research but there is a research gap relating to its application in publishing. The paper considers how an industry that was largely boundaryless (with regular and often rapid transition of individuals between different organizations and functions), and was at the same time highly boundaried from external involvement (little penetrated by those without either previous connections or understanding), is now opening up to a range of external forces and personnel. This development has largely arisen from the digital revolution and the associated processes and practice of self-publishing. The paper considers the various existing stakeholders in the industry, and the impact that current changes may have on previous business models. Finally, it considers the transferable skills being gained by those acquiring publishing expertise and offers predictions about how these trends will impact on the publishing industry in the future.
This paper builds on a previous paper in this journal (Baverstock, Logos 24 (3), 2013) which covered the establishment of Reading Force, a shared-reading initiative to promote improved communication between members of British Armed Forces families and to help mitigate the particular difficulties of service life. It begins by considering the range of difficulties experienced by Forces families and the literature associated with their effective management and support. It then considers the various means of communication with Forces families and associated opportunities and barriers. It examines how project effectiveness was assessed, and why accessing data and hence precise analysis have proven difficult, and considers other methods of estimating outcomes. Finally, prospects for future project development are considered.
This paper argues that a research interest in self-publishing is justified. It begins by tracing the origins of the author’s interest in self-publishing, and highlights an ongoing unwillingness, particularly within academia, to acknowledge the significance of developments in this field. The paper then examines the relevance of the self-publishing process, and the learning experience of participants, to three specific areas: the economic and cultural significance of both process and output; the overlap in systems and mentality between academic and selfpublishing authors; and finally the likely impact of self-publishing on the traditional publishing industry. It ends with a conclusion that self-publishing, rather than being considered a separate and undesirable entity, should henceforth be considered part of publishing.
Reading Force is a project within the Armed Forces to encourage improved communication between families and communities through shared reading. Forces families were encouraged to form informal book groups within both their immediate and wider family (particularly including family members who were not geographically close), to choose a title that all would commit to read (or have read to them), and to contribute their thoughts and responses in a free, bespoke, project scrapbook. Completed scrapbooks could be kept by the family or submitted to obtain feedback and a range of donated prizes. The scheme was launched as a pilot in the UK garrison town of Aldershot in 2011 and has since been extended. This paper reports on the project’s initial establishment through practice as research; how what was learned in the process could support the designated community; and the project’s outcomes and anticipated future.
To explore the reason why some biographies by or about politicians are more successful than others, and to help publishers consider the range of factors that may impact on their commissioning decisions, we sought to establish a range of likely influencing factors and to combine them in a formula. This is not a magic prediction tool, but rather a range of considerations that need to be worked through for various publishing propositions before decisions are made. As an exercise, and a starting point for wider discussions, it may benefit a group of individuals preparing for an editorial meeting at which commissioning is to be considered.
This paper considers a specific aspect of a practice-as-research project—the Kingston University Big Read. It explores how to achieve optimum attractiveness and perceived value among students and staff for a free book circulated for the purposes of a pre-arrival shared reading scheme. After consideration of the academic literature relating to the distribution of free books and the theft of books, there follows a detailed examination of marketing practice in the publishing industry relating to the dissemination of free and promotional items through collaborative endeavours. The solutions adopted are described, along with the outcomes perceived in the market, and recommendations are made for the future.
This paper reports and reflects on the processes and outcomes of a shared reading programme targeted at new students embarking on a university qualification at Kingston University. It isolates the various stages involved, from selecting a book for sharing, to the despatch of a bespoke edition to new students and wider distribution within the institution. It then explores and assesses the effects the scheme had on the community, by role and department, through both informal measures of impact and post-delivery surveying of those involved. Recommendations are offered for further development of the project.
Based on research into the benefits of reading for pleasure and the operation in the US of pre-arrival shared reading schemes for those about to embark on a university education, in the context of wider research on how to engage new students in their institution, an exploration was made of the likely response to such a shared reading scheme in a London university. A representative sample of first-year undergraduates was asked about how they spent their leisure time, their attitudes towards and involvement in reading for pleasure, and their reactions to such a potential scheme. The findings were that students were reading for pleasure more than had been anticipated, that they were generally keen to read more, and that a shared reading scheme would be welcomed by the majority of students. The outcomes are discussed, along with the decisions made as a result, and recommendations are made for future research.
Seeking to improve student enrolment, engagement, and retention, Kingston University began a pre-arrival shared reading scheme in 2014–2015, sending a free book to every student about to start at the university and making copies available to staff in all roles and departments across the institution. A number of associated events were organized and outcomes monitored through a variety of project-specific and institutional metrics. Continuing with the scheme in 2015–2016, Kingston University and Edinburgh Napier University joined together as research partners. Edinburgh Napier, having participated in the process of choosing a book for all to read, made the same single title available to their students and staff. In this paper the processes and outcomes of the collaboration are reported, including the differences in project implementation in the two institutions and what they learned from each other. Recommendations are made for how universities can work together on projects of mutual desirability, pointing out particular associated sensitivities, in this case when managing a long-distance collaboration, and what can be learned for the future.