Researching the Publishing Industry
Run by School of Arts, Culture and Language
15.000 Credits or 7.500 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Eben Muse
Overall aims and purpose
This module asks the question: how do publishers add value to the work of an author? Publishing has been described as the process of "managing the scarcity of good authors and content to drive profitability" (Clark & Phillips 2014). Publishing is also part of the creative industries, creating a unique artefact that encapsulates intellectual, economic, human and symbolic capital. The publisher adds value to a text through a chain of activities, (defined by Thompson (2012) as the "Publishing Value Chain") which includes editing, proofreading, design, promotion, marketing, and other activities. New, digital innovations and technologies have dramatically changed that value chain, so that it becomes necessary to reconsider it, to rethink exactly how a publisher adds value to the work of the author. In this module we will study the Publishing Value Chain and the changing context in which publishers operate. We will consider how the individual roles and people working in publishing contribute value and how their roles have evolved with commercial, social and technical changes. We will use soft systems thinking and analysis to ask whether the whole of the system is greater than the sum of its parts.
The Publishing Value Chain and how publishers create value
Systems design and soft systems thinking and analysis
The job roles that contribute value within the chain, as well as the skills and expertise required for those roles
The external factors that impact and define the job roles within a publishing house
How elements of the value chain, the practices and the people, integrate to create a systematic whole
Methods for researching the practices, business models, and value propositions of publishing
70% and above Typically (A), the work of a candidate reaching Distinction will show many of the following qualities: • Thorough knowledge and understanding of relevant theories and types of analysis. • Thorough knowledge of a range of sources and the capacity to engage these critically. • Introduction and discussion of original ideas. • Relevant, well-organised and sophisticated argument. • High ratio of analysis to exposition. • Maturity, clarity and cogency of expression. • Excellent handling of quotation and references.
60-69% A (B) candidate’s work reaching Merit will show many of the following qualities: • An advanced level of factual knowledge. • Significant [substantial] knowledge of relevant theories and types of analysis. • Some evidence of original thought. • The ability to organise and argue effectively, make balanced judgements, and demonstrate critical thought. • Fluent and accurate expression. • Competent use of quotation and references.
50-59% A Pass (C) candidate’s work will show many of the following qualities: • A satisfactory level of knowledge, analysis and expression. • Some familiarity with, and understanding of, relevant theoretical issues. • Generally sound organisation of argument, with some critical ability. • Accurate expression. • Competent use of quotation and references.
Have practical knowledge of the various research methodologies used within the publishing industry.
Identify, evaluate and apply methodologies appropriate for research into the publishing industry.
Make creative use of primary sources for rigorous analysis of business models, practices, and value propositions in the book trade
Demonstrate a good understanding of the UK and international publishing industries, including the roles of the media conglomerates, independent houses, and self-publishers.
Recognise and evaluate the commercial and financial factors that impact on the practices and roles within a publishing system
|INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION||Poster presentation||
Create a job description, including responsibilities as well as required jobs and experience, for a role within a publishing company
|CASE STUDY||Publisher case study||
Research and produce a case study of a publishing business
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Presentations on the functioning of publishers and methods for researching and analysing them.
Debate and discussion of readings and lecture materials.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- Extract and synthesise key information from written and/or spoken sources in English / Welsh and/or the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
- The ability to organise and present ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument in written and/or oral assignments and class discussions. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
- Critical skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of primary and secondary sources in the target language and/or English or Welsh (incl. filmic, literary and other sources). (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.14, 5.15)
- Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other written and project work; bibliographic skills, including the accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions and appropriate style in the presentation of scholarly work. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.14, 5.15)
- The ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints and to place these in a wider socio-cultural and/or geo-historical and political and/or socio-linguistic context and to revise and re-evaluate judgements in light of those of the course leader, certain individuals or groups studied and/or fellow students. (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.15 and 5.16)
- The ability to write and think under pressure and meet deadlines. (Benchmark statement 5.15)
- The ability to write effective notes and access and manage course materials including electronic resources / information provided on online learning platforms and library resources. (Benchmark statement 5.15, 5.16)
- The ability to work creatively and flexibly both independently and/or as part of a team. (Benchmark statement 5.15).
- The ability and willingness to engage with and appreciate other cultures and to articulate to others (in written and verbal form) the contribution that the culture has made at a regional and global level. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
- The ability to comprehend, critically engage with and apply relevant theoretical concepts to materials being studied. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
- The ability to engage in analytical, evaluative and original thinking. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
- The ability to organise and present ideas and arguments in presentations, classroom discussions and debates. (Benchmark statement 5.14, 5.16)
- Sensitivity to and appreciation of contrasting types of press and media in the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.7, 5.10)
- The ability to develop and manage an independent research project in English/Welsh. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.15, 5.16)
- Skills in the critical reading and analysis of literary and/or musical and/or filmic texts. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
- The ability to develop and manage an independent research project in the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.4, 5.10, 5.15, 5.16)
Resource implications for students
There are no extra resource implications, although students are encouraged to purchase the core texts.
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/qxe-4055.html
Bullock, A. (2012). Book production. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
Baverstock, A. (2019). How to Market Books. London; New York: Routledge.
Bhaskar, M. (2013). The Content Machine: Towards a Theory of Publishing from the Printing Press to the Digital Network. London, New York: Anthem Press.
Clark, G., & Phillips, A. (2019). Inside Book Publishing. London ; New York: Routledge.
Davies, Gill, & Balkwill, R. (2011). The Professional’s Guide to Publishing: A Comprehensive Introduction to Working in the Publishing Industry. London: Kogan Page.
Thompson, J. B. (2010). Merchants of Culture. Polity Press.
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- Q3RS: MA Publishing and Book Culture year 1 (MA/PBC)