About This Course
This new MA course has been designed for those wanting to become professional publishers of printed pages and digital texts - making creative and business decisions informed by knowledge and experience of the culture, history, technology, and social impact of the book.
Through this course you will develop a broad knowledge and understanding of: the processes by which books are produced; the shape of the book publishing industry; the economic and cultural forces that define it; and ,the role that digital and other innovations play.
You will gain practical, hands-on experience in the production of print and digital books, taking texts from acquisition through to marketing and distribution. You will also examine how books acquire value as objects of desire, as objects of entertainment and culture, and as objects for the development and dissemination of knowledge and information.
This course provides the opportunity to study the book as a commercial and cultural product. You will explore the range of values that society invests in books, and how that value has altered with cultural, commercial and technological developments. Understanding and experience of the book publishing industry is informed by study of the book’s role in society - past, present, and future.
What will you study on this course?
You will study both the product and the process of book publishing. Each part of the publishing process (acquisition, editing, production, marketing and distribution) will be explored, along with the financial processes underlying them, to understand the processes that underlie it and the role it plays in the publishing value chain.
Independent publishing provides a model for recognizing the potential value propositions that a publisher can provide. The business itself is studied within the context of the broader industry and the market forces which shape both. The potential value of innovation, disruptive or sustaining, is studied through practical application and exploration of the history of the book.
Practical, hands-on experience of book production will include the acquisition, design and publication of a book. You will have the opportunity to use industry layout and page design software (e.g. InDesign, Affinity Publisher) to design book layout for print. You will become familiar with standard mark-up languages, stylesheets and packaging formats to create a digital book, and will gain in-depth knowledge of the technology and standards used in ebook development.
You will take the following compulsory taught modules:
- Profession of Publishing (15 credits)
- The Publishing Workflow (15 credits)
- Researching the Publishing Industry (15 credits)
- Digital Publishing (15 credits)
And choose further modules from a list of options that may include:
- Intellectual Property Law (15 credits)
- Adopt a Book (15 credits)
- Jane Austen: Then & Now (15 credits)
- Material Texts & Editing (30 credits)
Towards the end of the course, you will choose one of three research options. You may choose to:
- Complete a brief provided by a publishing business (60 credits) or
- Pursue a piece of research of own design (Dissertation, 60 credits) or
- Develop a proposal for an independent publishing business (60 credits)
Modules for the current academic year
Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the Publishing and Book Culture Modules page.
Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.
A minimum 2.ii undergraduate degree or equivalent in a relevant (e.g. Creative Writing, English, English Literature, History, Media Studies, American Studies, Law).
Applicants with equivalent qualifications and/or relevant publishing or industry experience and applications from working professionals with non-graduate qualifications will be considered on an individual basis. Please contact us for more information.
For students whose first language is not English, an IELTS score of at least 6.0 (with no element below 5.5) or equivalent is required.
Professionals in the publishing industry emphasise that success in the field builds from passion for books, an understanding of audiences and markets, and a recognition of the value of data and professional practices.
This course, with its balance of publishing practice, industry awareness, and appreciation for the ways that the book is valued in the marketplace and in culture, provides a strong platform for entry into that field.
The expansion of digital publishing, the growing sophistication of interactive e-books and the popularity of e-readers and tablets have brought new dimensions to the industry. Graduates will be prepared for opportunities in editorial, design, production, marketing and sales departments and the growing digital market.