This glossary of publishing terms is a simple look-up guide to key publishing terms, abbreviations and acronyms



Association of American Publishers


Extra value added into a product, for example a DVD in the back of a printed book


Sum paid in advance to the author in anticipation of the author earning royalties from sales of their work. Advances may be paid on signature of contract, delivery of the typescript, and on publication.

Advance copy

Printed copy available ahead of publication. Advance copies are sent to the author and used in marketing.

Aga saga

Novel set amongst the Aga-owning English middle class


A literary agent may act on behalf of an author and negotiate the contract for a book with the publisher


An aggregator will license the rights to distribute content online from a variety of publishers

Airport edition

Export paperback edition of a book sold at airport shops ahead of the main paperback edition

AI sheet

Advance Information sheet containing essential bibliographic and marketing information


An article processing, or publishing, charge


Application for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers



Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland


A publisher’s established titles; compare frontlist


Book Industry Communication

Big Deal

A large bundle of journals sold by a publisher as one package


Sample printed section


The selling copy that appears on the back cover or front jacket flap of the book

Book club

Traditionally a mail order bookseller; now also a reading group

Born digital

Products originated in digital form


Shorthand for the fast-growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China


A paper’s thickness


Journals are often packaged up into bundles of titles for sale to institutions such as university libraries; also a printed book and ebook may be bundled together


Chick lit

Genre of fiction principally aimed at single women in their 20s or early 30s


Cataloguing in Publication


Shorthand for the second wave of fast-growing economies of Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa


Copyright Licensing Agency


Content management system


An additional part of the print run sold to a third party. There are both English and foreign language co-editions


Creating a new project and signing up an author; or acquiring the rights to publish a work from the author, their agent or another publisher


Legal agreement between the author and publisher, outlining the rights acquired by the publisher, financial terms, and the responsibilities of both author and publisher


Joint publishing agreement between two or more companies


Editing the author’s manuscript with regard to style and consistency to eliminate errors and improve the text for the reader


The protection which gives authors and other creative artists legal ownership of their work – it establishes their work as their personal, exclusive property. The period of copyright in the UK is 70 years. © is the copyright symbol


A collection of chapters and articles, photocopied or accessed electronically, for teaching use in higher education


Special edition of a book attached to the front of a magazine, or bundled with a newspaper


Customer relationship management

Crossover title

A children’s book with an adult market


Corporate social responsibility


Computer to Plate


Cambridge University Press



Digital Asset Distribution


Digital Asset Management


Reducing the value of stock in the company’s accounts

Digital rights management (DRM)

The technical means by which the access to digital content is controlled


Publishers give retailers a discount off the recommended price to encourage them to list or stock their titles


Dorling Kindersley


Dictionary of National Biography


Digital Object Identifier


A mock-up of the final printed book, mainly used for selling illustrated books to retailers or overseas customers



Electronic book; a vanilla ebook echoes – or is a straight transfer from - print; an enhanced ebook has added value such as audio and video


Enterprise content management


International standards organization for the book trade


Restriction placed by a publisher on a book to prevent it either being sold or covered in the media prior to its official publication date

Enhanced ebook

Ebook with additional features such as audio and video


English as a foreign language


English language teaching


Europe, the Middle East and Africa


Educational Publishers Council of the Publishers Association



A publisher’s new titles; compare backlist



Global Location Number


Assets that contribute to a publisher’s competitive advantage, including its brand and employees


House style

The set style imposed during the editing of a text – elements include spelling, grammar, capitalization and hyphenation


Humanities and Social Sciences


HyperText Markup Language


Institutional repository

A digital collection of research papers by members of an institution such as a university

Intellectual property (IP)

A publisher’s IP includes its copyrights, licences and trade marks


Intellectual property rights


Industry Returns Initiative (UK)


International Standard Book Number


International Standard Serial Number


A list of books within a publisher’s overall publishing programme. Each imprint will have its own flavour and direction



Formerly termed the Joint Information Systems Committee, Jisc is funded by the post-16 and higher education councils of the UK


Joint Photographic Experts Group





A licence gives a publisher the sole, exclusive right to publish an author’s work and sell it as widely as possible. The publisher also licenses a book to other publishers, for example for translation. A non-exclusive licence enables the publisher to sell content – for example for digital use - to a number of companies

Licensed publishing

An exclusive licence granted to a publisher to exploit in book form a product or character


Taking a strategic view of commissioning in order to create a new publishing list or expand the present publishing programme


Offset lithography. This form of printing is still common for long print runs


Learning Management System

Long Tail

First proposed by Chris Anderson in 2004 in Wired magazine, the idea that there is greater total value in the long tail of less popular products (available over the internet) than in the more widely available hits


Manuscript (MS)

The author’s version of the work; also typescript. It was originally handwritten


MAchine Readable Cataloguing

Marketing mix

Product, price, place and promotion

Mass market paperback

‘A format’ paperback – 178 x 110 mm; compare trade paperback


Data about data. This enables content to be categorized and found more easily in online searches


Massive open online course

Moral rights

Additional to copyright, these statutory rights granted to the author are the right to paternity, the right of integrity, the right to prevent false attribution, and the right to privacy



Net Book Agreement (UK)

NBI sheet

New book information sheet – also known as AI


Net sales revenue



Open Access


Open Ebook Format


Oxford English Dictionary


Open Educational Resources


ONline Information eXchange

Online marketing

Use of the internet for marketing. Activities include the use of social media, search engine optimization, email marketing, and website promotion

On-screen editing

Copy-editing on screen rather than on a paper print-out


The structure of a set of data


Oxford University Press


The ongoing costs of running a business, for example office costs and salaries



Publishers Association (UK)


Separate from a publisher, a packager supplies an edited and designed book for the publisher to market and sell

Patron-driven acquisition

Free access is given to content, for example a set of ebooks, and payment is then triggered by usage past a certain threshold

Pay per view

Pay as you go model for content, e.g. purchasing a single article from a journal or a chapter from a book


Printed book

Peer review

The evaluation by reviewers of an academic author’s work


Placing the product in the mind of the consumer


Personal digital assistant; also patron-driven acquisition


Portable Document Format


Private language schools


Print on demand. Digital printing enables the economic printing of short runs. True print on demand is the ability to print single copies to order


Point of sale


Journal article as revised after peer review; compare pre-print


Public relations


Commonly accepted as the version of an article submitted to a journal, before peer review; compare post-print

Print run

The number of copies printed of a pbook



Production values

The quality of the paper, design, printing, binding and cover of a book


Reading proofs of a book in order to spot mistakes missed at the copy-editing stage as well as any errors introduced in the design and production stages. Proofs can be read against the original copy or by eye (with no reference to the original version)


A document outlining the content and market potential of a proposed title


Endorsement used on the book’s cover, ahead of the book being reviewed





Research Excellence Framework, UK


Unsold books sent back to the publisher by the retailer


Radio Frequency Identification


The share of the income from a book paid by the publisher to the author; royalty rates will vary according to format and the source of the income (e.g. from subsidiary rights)



Standard Address Number


The structure of an XML document

Serial rights

The right to sell selections from a work to a newspaper or magazine. First serial rights cover extracts before the book’s publication; second serial rights are for extracts published on or after publication

Smart content

Content with an added layer of semantic meaning


Scientific, Technical and Medical. STEM adds in Engineering

Subsidiary rights

Rights a publisher can acquire in addition to the volume rights of publishing their own edition as an ebook and pbook – examples of subsidiary rights are translation rights and serial rights



Tagged Image File Format

Trade paperback

‘B format’ paperback – 198 x 129 mm; compare mass market paperback

Trade publishing

Publishing of books that are sold through the book trade; also known as consumer publishing



An encoding system which gives a unique identity to each character, ‘no matter what the platform, no matter what the program, no matter what the language’. (, accessed 1 October 2007)


Unique sales proposition – what makes a book stand out from the competition



Value Added Tax

Version of Record

Published version of a journal article with the final formatting

Viral marketing

Spreading a marketing message using social networks


Virtual Learning Environment



Disposing of unsold stock

Web 2.0

The new generation of the Web in which users upload as well as download


Mini Web plug-in with sample content that can be emailed or copied on to the user’s social networking pages


Collaborative website. The name derives from the Hawaiian word wikiwiki – quick


World Intellectual Property Organization


Word of mouth



Extensible Markup Language





Further Reading

The following is a selection of key texts relevant to book publishing, authorship and reading


Chris Anderson, Free: The future of a radical price, Random House, 2009.

Chris Anderson, The Long Tail: How endless choice is creating unlimited demand, Random House, 2006.

Diana Athill, Stet, Granta, 2000.

Tricia Austin and Richard Doust, New Media Design, Laurence King, 2007.

Phil Baines, Penguin by Design: A cover story 1935-2005, Allen Lane, 2005.

Phil Baines and Andrew Haslam, Type and Typography, Laurence King, 2005.

David Bann, Book Production Control, 2nd edition, Class Publishing, 2012.

David Bann, The All New Print Production Handbook, RotoVision, 2006.

Alan Bartram, Making Books: Design in British publishing since 1945, British Library, 1999.

Alison Baverstock, How to Market Books, 5th edition, Routledge, 2014.

Alison Baverstock, Susannah Bowen and Steve Carey, How to get a job in Publishing, A & C Black, 2008.

Eric de Bellaigue, British Book Publishing as a Business, British Library Publishing, 2004.

Michael Bhaskar, The Content Machine: Towards a theory of publishing from the printing press to the digital network, Anthem Press, 2013.

Sven Birkerts, The Gutenberg Elegies: The fate of reading in an electronic age, Faber, 2006.

Carole Blake, From Pitch to Publication, Pan, 1999.

Clive Bloom, Bestsellers: Popular fiction since 1900, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

Sue Bradley (ed.), The British Book Trade: An oral history, British Library, 2008.

Manfred H. Breede, The Brave New World of Publishing: The symbiotic relationship between printing and book publishing, Chandos, 2008.

Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style, version 3.1, Hartley & Marks, 2005.

Adrian Bullock, Book Production, Routledge, 2012.

Adrian Bullock and Meredith Walsh, The Green Design and Print Production Handbook, How Books, 2013.

Judith Butcher, Caroline Drake and Maureen Leach, Copy-editing: The Cambridge handbook for editors, copy-editors and proofreaders, 4th edition, 2006.

Robert Campbell, Ed Pentz and Ian Bothwick (ed.), Academic and Professional Publishing, Chandos, 2012.

Jen Campbell, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, Constable, 2012.

The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Clayton M. Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma: When new technologies cause great firms to fail, Harvard Business School Press, 1997.

Joseph Connolly, Eighty Years of Book Cover Design, Faber & Faber, 2009.

Bill Cope and Angus Phillips (ed.), The Future of the Book in the Digital Age, Chandos, 2006.

Bill Cope and Angus Phillips (ed.), The Future of the Academic Journal, 2nd edition, Chandos 2014.

Robert Darnton, The Case for Books, Perseus, 2009.

Gill Davies, Book Commissioning and Acquisition, 2nd edition, Routledge, 2004.

Gill Davies and Richard Balkwill, The Professionals' Guide to Publishing: A practical introduction to working in the publishing industry, Kogan Page, 2011.

Christopher Davis, Eyewitness: The rise and fall of Dorling Kindersley, 2009.

Dictionary of Printing and Publishing, 3rd edition, A & C Black, 2006.

Ned Drew and Paul Sternberger, By its Cover: Modern American book cover design, Princeton Architectural Press, 2005.

Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud, The Novel Cure: An A to Z of literary remedies, Canongate, 2013.

Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose, A Companion to the History of the Book, Blackwell, 2007.

Jason Epstein, Book Business: Publishing past, present, and future, Norton, 2002.

John Feather, A History of British Publishing, 2nd edition, Routledge, 2005.

David Finkelstein and Alastair McCleery (ed.), The Book History Reader, 2nd edition, 2006.

Simon Garfield, Just my Type, Profile, 2010.

Albert N. Greco, Jim Milliot, Robert Wharton, The Book Publishing Industry, 3rd edition, Routledge, 2013.

Susan Gunelius, Harry Potter: The story of a global business phenomenon, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Richard Guthrie, Publishing: Principles and practice, SAGE, 2011.

Frania Hall, The Business of Digital Publishing: An introduction to the digital book and journal industries, Routledge, 2013.

Jenny Hartley, The Reading Groups Book, revised edition, Oxford University Press, 2002.

Barbara Horn, Editorial Project Management, Horn Editorial Books, 2006.

Barbara Horn, Copy-editing, Horn Editorial Books and Publishing Training Centre, 2008.

Independent Publishers Guild, The Insiders’ Guide to Independent Publishing, Independent Publishers Guild, 2010.

Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs, Little, Brown, 2011.

Jeff Jarvis, HarperCollins, 2009.

Ros Jay, The White Ladder Diaries, White Ladder Press, 2004.

Chris Jennings, eBook Typography for Flowable eBooks, PagetoScreen ebook, 2012.

Hugh Jones and Christopher Benson, Publishing Law, 4th edition, Routledge, 2011.

Andrew Keen, The Cult of the Amateur, Nicholas Brealey, 2007.

Arthur M. Klebanoff, The Agent, Texere, 2002.

Miha Kovac, Here comes the Book: Never mind the Web, Chandos, 2008.

Stephanie Kurschus, European Book Cultures, Springer, 2014.

Marshall Lee, Bookmaking: Editing, design, production, 3rd edition, Norton, 2004.

Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture, Penguin, 2004.

Jeremy Lewis, Penguin Special: The life and times of Allen Lane, Viking, 2005.

Noah Lukeman, The First Five Pages: A writer’s guide to staying out of the rejection pile, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Hugh McGuire and Brian O'Leary (eds), Book: A Futurist's Manifesto, O’Reilly Media, 2012.

Ruari McLean, The Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography, Thames and Hudson, 1980.

Tom Maschler, Publisher, Picador, 2005.

Nicole Matthews and Nickianne Moody (ed.), Judging a Book by Its Cover: Fans, publishers, designers, and the marketing of fiction, Ashgate, 2007.

Daniel Menaker, My Mistake, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Jason Merkosi, Burning the Page, Sourcebooks, 2013.

Laura Miller, Reluctant Capitalists: Bookselling and the culture of consumption, University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Michael Mitchell and Susan Wightman, Book Typography: A designer’s manual, Libanus Press, 2005.

Sally Morris, Ed Barnas, Douglas La Frenier, and Margaret Reich, The Handbook of Journal Publishing, CUP, 2013.

Simone Murray, The Adaptation Industry: The cultural economy of contemporary literary adaptation, Routledge, 2011.

Ian Norrie, Mumby’s Publishing and Bookselling in the Twentieth Century, 6th edition, Bell & Hyman, 1982.

Lynette Owen (ed.), Clark’s Publishing Agreements: A book of precedents, 9th edition, Bloomsbury Professional, 2013.

Lynette Owen, Selling Rights, 7th edition, Routledge, 2014.

Angus Phillips, Turning the Page: The evolution of the book, Routledge, 2014.

Angus Phillips (ed.), The Cottage by the Highway and other essays: 25 years of Logos, Brill, 2015.

Alan Powers, Front Cover: Great book jackets and cover design, Mitchell Beazley, 2001.

Paul Richardson and Graham Taylor, A Guide to the UK Publishing Industry, 3rd edition, Publishers Association, 2014.

R. M. Ritter, New Hart’s Rules: The handbook of style for writers and editors, Oxford University Press, 2005.

R. M. Ritter, The Oxford Style Manual, 2003.

R.M. Ritter, Angus Stevenson and Lesley Brown, New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, 2005.

Lucienne Roberts and Julia Thrift, The Designer and the Grid, RotoVision, 2002.

André Schiffrin, The Business of Books: How international conglomerates took over publishing and changed the way we read, Verso Books, 2001.

Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, Kobo Editions, 2011.

Kelvin Smith, The Publishing Business: From p-books to e-books, AVA, 2012.

Erik Spiekermann and E. M. Ginger, Stop Stealing Sheep and Find Out How Type Works, 2nd edition, Adobe Press, 2003.

Claire Squires, Marketing Literature: The making of contemporary writing in Britain, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

David Stam and Andrew Scott, Inside Magazine Publishing, Routledge, 2014.

Iain Stevenson, Book Makers: British publishing in the twentieth century, British Library, 2010.

Rachel Stock, The Insider’s Guide to Getting Your Book Published, White Ladder Press, 2005.

Simon Stokes, Digital Copyright: Law and practice, Hart Publishing, 2013.

Brad Stone, The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon, Little Brown, 2013.

Michael F. Suarez and H. R. Woudhuysen (ed.), The Oxford Companion to the Book, 2010.

Mira T. Sundara Rajan, Moral Rights, OUP, 2011.

Don Tapscott, Grown Up Digital: How the net generation is changing your world, McGraw-Hill, 2008.

John B. Thompson, Books in the Digital Age, Polity Press, 2005.

John B. Thompson, Merchants of Culture, Polity Press, 2010.

Michael Upshall, Content Licensing: Buying and selling digital resources, Chandos, 2009.

Margaret Willes, Reading Matters: Five centuries of discovering books, Yale University Press, 2008.

Maryann Wolf, Proust and the Squid: The story and science of the reading brain, Icon Books, 2008.

Thomas Woll, Publishing for Profit, 4th edition, Chicago Review Press, 2010.

World Intellectual Property Organization, Managing Intellectual Property in the Book Publishing Industry, WIPO, 2008.

Sherman Young, The Book is Dead: Long live the book, UNSW Press, 2007.

Gabriel Zaid, So Many Books: Reading and publishing in an age of abundance, Sort of Books, 2004.


JK Stores Bookshop
JK Stores Bookshop - This picture proves that booksellers can diversify beyond stationery and coffee

You can find a selection of publishing lightbulb jokes on Andrew Wheeler's blog. As an example, how about:

Q How many proofreaders does it take to change a light bulb?
A Proofreaders aren't supposed to change light bulbs. They should simply query them.

Try out the Lisa Simpson book club: see what Lisa is reading or the authors she has met

You will enjoy this trailer for Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, which features Edmund White, Jeffrey Eugenides and Jay McInerney

Or you could try this librarian's video guide to understanding academic copyright

Or this video about the use of the apostrophe

The classic sentence which uses all the letters on a keyboard is:

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

You can see a video of the Quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog here


In no particular order, here is a selection of quotes, both humorous and serious, about authorship, reading and publishing.

'If I had been someone not very clever, I would have done an easier job like publishing. That's the easiest job I can think of.'

The philosopher A. J. Ayer (1910-89), quoted in The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations.

'Should not the Society of Indexers be known as Indexers, Society of, The?'.

Keith Waterhouse in his play, Bookends (1990).

'Publishers and would-be publishers must be equally prepared to face the future and become not just instruments of publication but instigators and innovators in their own right. Only then can they disprove the sentiment expressed by Cyril Connolly in Enemies of Promise (1903) that - "As repressed sadists are supposed to become policemen or butchers, so those with irrational fear of life become publishers".'

Adrian Moore, A Short History of Future Publishing (1972).

'Publishing, or perhaps I ought to say, Book-Publishing, is quite different from what most people apparently suppose. The young man who regards it as a pleasantly dilettante occupation suitable for somebody who does not know what he wants to do but likes books, is under an illusion.'

Stanley Unwin, The Truth about Publishing (1960 edition).

'It is difficult to pigeonhole the publisher: he will care more about his product than an advertising copywriter; be too much of a gambler to become a successful merchant banker; too full of blind spots and optimism to be a lawyer; and his essential - if unreal - sense of his own importance would preclude diplomacy as a career. He will be part impresario, part missionary. He will not himself create like a composer, a painter or a choreographer, and if he writes at all he may make an unsuitable spectacle of himself, "like a cow in a milk bar", as Arthur Koestler said.'

Anthony Blond, The Publishing Game (1971).

'After failing to get anywhere as a film director I decided that I would after all try publishing. ... The house I focused on was Andre Deutsch and I was thrilled to be granted an interview by A.D. (as he was called) himself. He was quick to tell me that he had no job to offer. I, in turn, told him that "Money was no object." At that he asked when I could start. We settled for the following Monday.'

Tom Maschler, Publisher (2005).

'Trade book publishing is by nature a cottage industry, decentralized, improvisational, personal; best performed by small groups of like-minded people, devoted to their craft, jealous of their autonomy, sensitive to the needs of writers and to the diverse interests of readers. If money were their primary goal, these people would probably have chosen other careers.'

Jason Epstein, Book Business: Publishing past, present and future (2001).

'The person with whom the writer wants to be in touch is his reader: if he could speak to him directly, without a middleman, that is what he would do. The publisher exists only because turning someone's written words into a book (or rather, into several thousand books) is a complicated and expensive undertaking, and so is distributing the books, once made, to booksellers and libraries.'

Diana Athill, Stet (2000).

'It is not enough to publish a good and marketable book, or even a number of them; I feel that one of the best advertisements for a publishing firm is for that firm to develop a distinct character which shall become recognised by the trade and the public.'

Memo from T. S. Eliot to his fellow directors at Faber, 9 December 1931.

'It is certainly the duty of any publishing firm which pretends to other interests and motives than mere commercial prosperity, to publish books which go against the current of the moment: but in each instance that demands that at least one member of the firm should have the conviction that this is the thing that needs saying at the moment. I can't see any reason of prudence or caution to prevent anybody from publishing this book - if he believed in what it stands for.'

Letter from T. S. Eliot to George Orwell, turning down Animal Farm, 13 July 1944.

'"I'm afraid it's rather full of marginal balloons and interlineations, but you see, I suddenly realized that I could work out a big improvement in my notation, so I've had to alter it all through. I expect", she added wistfully, "the printers will be rather angry with me." Harriet privately agreed with her, but said comfortingly that the Oxford University Press was no doubt accustomed to deciphering the manuscripts of scholars.'

Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night (1935).

'Long ago I used to think they mattered a lot. Then I changed my mind, thinking that blurbs don't signal much about the quality of the book, but at least they signal something about the quality of the author's friends or acquaintances who were willing to blurb the book. Lately, I've come to believe that they really don't matter at all, since most readers see blurbs as having about the same level of integrity as a used car salesman's personal promise that the car you're about to buy is A-OK.'

Stephen Dubner, author of Freakonomics, on using puffs from other writers in cover blurbs, Guardian, 22 September 2008.

'It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore. ... Forty per cent of the people in the US read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.'

Steve Jobs on ebook readers, quoted in New York Times, 15 January 2008.

‘The book is like the spoon: once invented, it cannot be bettered.’

Umberto Eco, from This is Not the End of the Book: A conversation (2011), curated by Jean-Philippe de Tonnac.

'I don't like them [ebook readers]. I like holding a book in my hand, and I like turning the pages. But I think, as long as people read, I almost don't care. Whatever lifts your skirt.'

Terry McMillan, author of Waiting to Exhale, quoted in Time, 13 September 2010.

'I suspect many readers assume books spring full blown from the heads of writers, when in fact many of them spring, half baked, from the heads of brilliant editors.'

Michael Pollan, from his book In Defence of Food (2008), page 202.

'His expectations for his first book had been both cautious and modest, and they had been appropriate; one reviewer had called it "pedestrian" and another had called it "a competent survey." ... After a while he tired of seeing it; but he never thought of it, and his authorship, without a sense of wonder and disbelief at his own temerity and at the responsibility he had assumed.'

From the novel, Stoner (1965), by John Williams, chapter 6.

'"I've read your novel," he said. "We'd like to publish it. Would it be possible for you to look in here at eleven?" My flu was gone in that moment and never returned. Nothing in a novelist's life later can equal that moment - the acceptance of his first book [for Greene in 1928]. Triumph is unalloyed by any doubt of the future. Mounting the wide staircase in the elegant eighteenth-century house in Great Russell Street I could have no foreboding of the failures and frustrations of the next ten years.'

Graham Greene, A Sort of Life (1971).

'They're a funny lot, these publishers. They publish all this left-wing stuff because only radicals read, and then they send out the printing work to Hong Kong for the cheap labour.'

from Barbara Trapido's novel, Brother of the More Famous Jack (1982).

'Being published by the Oxford University Press is rather like being married to a duchess: the honour is almost greater than the pleasure.'

The historian G. M. Young (1882-1959), quoted in The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations.

I'm so tired of spending evenings making fake insights with people who work for Dysentery.


Oh, really, I heard that Commentary and Dissent had merged and formed Dysentery.

From Woody Allen's film, Annie Hall (1977):

Online Resources

Here you can browse a range of resources, from articles about publishing to podcasts and industry reports.

Articles about publishing, bookselling and reading

Here are selected articles about publishing and reading, which you can freely access online. At the end of each chapter of the book, there are suggestions for further reading including books and articles

Tahmima Anam, 'Thank you Mum and Dad', Guardian, 9 October 2008

A humorous take on the benefits of being an author

Chris Anderson, 'The Long Tail', Wired, 12.10, October 2004

The original article about the Long Tail

Ken Auletta, 'Publish or Perish: Can the iPad topple the Kindle, and save the book business?', New Yorker, 26 April 2010

The battle to control the growing market for ebooks

Stephen Bayley, 'Beautiful, perfect, supreme chunk of paper', BBC, 17 September 2008

Article about the ebook v the printed book - with a video in which Peter Crawshaw tries out the Sony Reader

Nicholas Carr, 'Is Google making us Stupid?',  Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2008.

What the internet is doing to our brains

Alex Clark, 'The Corrections', Guardian 12 February 2011

The role of the editor in modern publishing

Caleb Crain, 'Twilight of the Books', New Yorker, 24 December 2007.

What will life be like if people stop reading?

Caron Dann, 'Why is a bestseller worthless?', Times Higher Education, 20 November 2008.

The differing value to academia of research monographs and more commercial books.

Robert Darnton, 'Google and the Future of Books', New York Review of Books, 12 February 2009

Is too much power being concentrated in the hands of one company, Google?

Jason Epstein, 'Books @ Google', New York Review of Books, 19 October 2006

About Google Book Search

Joseph J. Esposito, 'The Wisdom of Oz: The role of the university press in scholarly communications', Journal of Electronic Publishing, Winter 2007

How to strengthen the university press

Matthew Evans, 'Guru-in-Chief', Guardian, 6 June 2009

The former Faber Chairman writes about T. S. Eliot and the poet's career at Faber

Stuart Jeffries, 'How Waterstone's killed bookselling', Guardian, 10 November 2009

Has Waterstone's killed bookselling?

John Lanchester, 'Short Cuts'London Review of Books, 19 June 2008

The merits of hardback v paperback

Martin Majoor, 'My Type Design Philosophy', Typotheque

Majoor on type design. He designed Scala, the face used in Inside Book Publishing

Blake Morrison, 'Black Day for the Blue Pencil', Observer, 6 August 2005

Editors are now an endangered species

Tim O'Reilly, 'What is Web 2.0', 30 September 2005

An attempt to clarify just what is meant by Web 2.0

George Packer, New Yorker, 17 February 2014

Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books?

Colin Robinson, Diary in London Review of Books, 26 February 2009

Reflections on publishing both sides of the Atlantic

John Sutherland, 'Brave New World', Financial Times, 9 October 2004

Survey of the world of books

Peter Wilby, 'Final Chapter for book reviews?', Guardian, 15 December 2008

About the decline of the literary pages in newspapers

Carl Wilkinson, 'The Economics of Book Festivals', Financial Times, 30 May 2014

Author websites

These are some interesting examples of author websites: Thousands of examples of fan fiction, from Harry Potter to The Lord of the Rings An example of an author's blog - for Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner Includes a Flash movie profiling her books A peer review site sponsored by the Arts Council

Databases and websites for research into publishing

The following databases and websites are great for research. Some are only available on subcription or through your library or business.



The Bookseller

The Booksellers Association

Creative Commons - the most commonly used open content licensing system

Fame - database of financial information on companies in the UK and Ireland

Google Book Search

GPI Country Reports - Global Publishing Information reports - market data on countries. Available to members of the Publishers Association

Index Translationum - searchable UNESCO database of translations with lists of top authors, countries, and languages

Mintel - market research reports on UK bookselling and publishing

Nielsen BookData - bibliographic data

Nielsen BookScan - sales data for the consumer market

Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies - listen to podcasts from academics and industry professionals

Pirabase - information service covering packaging and print supply

The Publishers Association - Market Information and Statistics

Trailblazing - online archive of journal articles published by the Royal Society between 1665 and 2010

Publishing blogs

Here is a selection of blogs relevant to book publishing, bookselling and authorship



Mostly books - the pleasures (and perils) of running an independent bookshop

New Yorker

Publishing Talk

Storythings  A company dedicated to exploring new ways of telling stories

Publishing industry reports

The following publishing industry reports are useful for research. See also the section on databases and websites

Bain and Company, Publishing in the Digital Era, 2011

Geoffrey Crossick, Monographs and Open Access, 2014

LISU, Annual Library Statistics

O'Reilly, Start with XML: Why and how

PA Statistics Yearbook - available from the Publishers Association

Publishing Skills Council, Sector Profile, August 2008 - available to download

Mark Ware and Michael Mabe, The STM Report - available to download

Rudiger Wischenbart, Global eBook Report - available to download

Publishing journals

The following is a selection of publishing journals and periodicals:

The Author

The journal of the Society of Authors.

The Bookseller

Originally self-styled as the 'Organ of the Book Trade'; this is the leading trade magazine about book publishing and bookselling.

Covers information and content management.

International Journal of the Book

Journal linked to the annual International Conference on the Book.

Journal of Electronic Publishing

Published by the University of Michigan.

The Journal of Publishing Culture

Articles written and produced by postgraduate students at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies

Journal of Scholarly Publishing

Published by the University of Toronto Press.

Learned Publishing

Journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers.


A mixture of peer-reviewed articles and pieces by industry practitioners.

Publishers Weekly

Weekly news magazine focused on the international book publishing business.

Publishing Research Quarterly

Journal which includes analysis and original research.