Inside Book Publishing

by Giles Clark and Angus Phillips (London: Routledge, 4th ed. 2008): 310pp, £27.89 (pbk, 5th ed.), ISBN 978 0 415 44157 5.

Reviewed by Gillian Clarke

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This is an excellent book. I have owned a copy since the first edition (which had some delightful cartoons, the originals of which now grace the walls of the Publishing Training Centre) and can thoroughly recommend this edition, which has been expanded as well as updated.

Giles Clark is the copublishing adviser at the Open University, and his new co-author, Angus Phillips, is director of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies at Oxford Brookes University.

Publishing secrets

The blurb says it all:

… designed for students of publishing, authors needing to find out publishing secrets, and those wanting to get in or get on in the industry. It addresses the big issues 'the globalization of publishing, the impact of the internet 'and explains publishing from the author contract to the bookshop shelf. It covers:

  • how the present industry has evolved
  • publishing functions: editorial, design and production, marketing, sales and distribution, and rights
  • the role of the author
  • copyright and contracts
  • the sales channels for books
  • getting a job in publishing

It features:

  • topic boxes written by expert contributors
  • a glossary of publishing terms
  • suggestions for further reading [as well as sources and web resources]
  • a companion website.

Understanding the industry

There is also a small section with lists of publishing organisations, networking opportunities (includes the SfEP), training organisations (again includes SfEP), scholarships and grants, recruitment agencies and careers advisers, and university publishing courses, as well as a good index (although the indexer is not named).

Inside Book Publishing won't make us better proofreaders or copyeditors but it will help us to understand the industry in which many of us work. I believe that this understanding helps us to be better in our trade, and I recommend this book to everyone.

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