Tag Archives: books

Working In the Book Trade: The Business of Selling Books

Did you know that the UK is the world’s biggest exporter of books?  Publishing is a large and growing industry and the total number of books published in the UK last year was 173,000.  Publishing businesses in the UK alone have a collective annual turnover of £6 billion, making the UK the fifth biggest market in the world after the US, China, Germany, and Japan. On average, the UK publishing industry employs 30,000 people directly and roughly 70,000 people indirectly spread across over 8,000 publishers. Publishing is now a multimedia business and last year digital books accounted 15% of the 360,000,000 physical and eBooks sold. Ebook sales have dropped a little in recent years from 17% to 15%, perhaps because they are being rapidly displaced by digital audio books! These figures give you an idea of the size and importance of the publishing industry.

Earlier in the month, Parissa Bagheri from Atwood Tate was invited back to her alma mater, the University of Greenwich, to attend an event they were holding to discuss Working in the Book Trade: The Business of Selling Books. The panel of speakers included CEO of Bonnier, Perminder Mann, CEO of Hachette, David Shelley, and the Ex-Chairman of Blackwell’s Bookshop Trevor Goul-Wheeker. These leading figures in publishing and the book trade shared their experiences and journeys into publishing, offering advice to those in the audience looking to do the same.  We know a lot of our followers are aspiring publishing professionals or still young in their publishing career, so wanted to share their insights with you too.

CEO of Hachette David Shelley was first up in telling the audience about how he entered the industry. David’s parents owned a second-hand bookshop, so he was exposed to the sales side of publishing from an early age. He began his career as an Editorial Assistant for Alison and Busby (a well-established small publisher).  He kept the company running for 5 years and encompassed problems along the way, such as the book distributor going bust and relocating the office near to Brixton near to where he lived. The owner of Little, Brown asked David if he would consider buying a few books a year as an Editor and he joined the company, which eventually led to his promotion to Publisher, then Head of Division, and finally to his current role running Hachette UK!

Hachette publishes 5,000 books every year and has a staff of 18,000. David explained that the editorial departments receive 1,000 applications for every editorial assistant job, whereas the sales team often only receive around three direct applications. He emphasised the importance of exploring different sectors; foreign rights professionals get to read, travel and correspond with authors whereas, production departments, whilst equally driven and creative focus more on the people and processes in the background. David also advised that publishers are looking for people who are keen to work in finance, also stating that the first two to three years of entering the industry is all about grafting your way through. It is necessary to differentiate yourself from others, don’t rely on just the contacts you have. Don’t be afraid to be bold and fearless in your first year, don’t undersell yourself, and be proud and show off your achievements. People love to mentor younger people, so offer to have coffee with them to show your passion and interest!

His tips for a good cover letter are:

  • Look up the books that your target publisher is publishing and research its heritage
  • Brilliant quality writing – this is a reflection of how well you can communicate
  • Talk about your favourite writers, what are they doing?
  • Be thoughtful and considerate
  • Don’t follow the rules strictly, break rules and disagree!

Bonnier is the sixth largest publishing company in the UK and its CEO Perminder Mann also talked about her experience in the publishing industry. Growing up, she spent much of her time reading, making sure to build up her English vocabulary. She spent time interning and eventually had an interview with Macmillan for a role in its in Special Sales department. She was offered the job, which she explained was quite challenging, but she used the opportunity to gain as much knowledge as she could. Perminder was then promoted in sales and travelled throughout the UK to meet buyers. Later she moved to Transworld (now part of Penguin Random House) as an entrepreneur in a five person team, and faced the problem of not having as much contact or support, constantly having to juggle between having a career and being a mother. She survived that and then moved into children’s publishing, but was travelling too much and decided to move out of publishing altogether.  Publishing isn’t quite like any other industry, though, and she ended up returning when she was offered a position at Bonnier.

Perminder talked about how at Bonnier you don’t have to choose between a career and family, as you can work flexibly she has put benefits in place such as a good a maternity policy.  This is something that Perminder is extremely passionate about given her own experience throughout her career and she is now in the middle of improving paternity pay and continuing to champion equality.

Finally, the ex-chairman of Blackwell’s Bookshop Trevor Goul-Wheeker took to the floor to explain how he fell in love with the publishing industry. Trevor started off as a bookseller and fell in love with the book trade, partly because of the people involved in it. Blackwell’s is a well-known book retailer, but as the digital publishing industry gradually took over, Blackwell’s was forced to start closing stores and were closing 16 high street shops every day. Currently, the UK bookshops account for 41% of books sold with ecommerce accounting for 35% of book sales. However, Trevor stated that bookshop recommendations are still the number one influencer when people are choosing which book to buy.  He believes that bookshops still offer customer engagement and a valued experience and that bookselling and publishing go hand in hand.

All three speakers did emphasise that you do not need a masters to get into publishing; most publishing companies prefer more hands on experience, which shows a variety of skills.  They also all agreed that ecommerce and ebooks are slowly taking over from print as they are easier to access and to read on the go. Audio books are now attracting a new demographic of “readers” and enabling publishers to tap into a new market. Publishers are already and will continue to learn about and develop in the area of audio.

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Summer Reads!


A seemingly perfect crime, what can go wrong? A couple honeymooning in paradise find something in the water. Deciding to keep it a secret, they think they are the only ones who know about the discovery. They soon find out that their actions have deadly consequences and someone else knows their secret. A good thriller and the perfect summer book that hooks you in right from the very first page.

At the heart of this gripping read are a trio of brothers, a disappearance and a lack of suspects. Set in the Australian outback, this atmospheric thriller is not one to be missed this summer.

`One of the year’s most unmissable debuts’. Queenie’s life seems to be spiralling out of control, a family that don’t understand her, a boss that doesn’t seem to notice her and a man she can’t get over. Queenie is a character you will be rooting for from the first page.

A story of love and war. The Biafran War is told from the perspective of three characters whose lives are interwoven in ways they would not have imagined. This novel is great if you love to immerse yourself in historical fiction with compelling and intelligent characters.

Non-fiction that stirs the desire to make change. Mainly aimed at black women but plenty to take away for everyone. A read that will make you challenge your assumptions and think about `space’ in different contexts and ways.

May not be the typical relaxing holiday reading but worth it! Set post world war ll, a woman with financial inheritance attempts to build economic prosperity in a small community in Australia where her romantic interest lives.

Some more summer reading tips:

http://ow.ly/AS2z30pcRlBh

http://ow.ly/M3hp30pcRnR

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Byte The Book on The Future of Culture and Storytelling

Byte The Book hosted an event in June 2019 at the Groucho Club “What Does The Future of Culture and Storytelling Look Like?” The panel, hosted by Tortoise’s Michael Kowalski included Alex Holmes of Mostly Lit, Ines Bachor from the Frankfurt Book Fair and Pan Macmillan’s Technology director, James Luscombe.

The panel agree that predicting the future can be incredibly hard and not many would have predicted the recent spurt in popularity of audiobooks and podcasts. Hopefully they’ve still not reached their peak and there will be lots more opportunities to engage with authors, interviews etc. The panel agreed people really like the authenticity of podcasts.

On thoughts for what new tech will be coming soon:

James has been playing around with a voice app but it’s really hard to control and is still too early for the available technology. 4G made downloading and accessing content much quicker and easier and it’ll be interesting to see what 5G will bring…

Ines talked about cutting-edge areas for storytelling methods. Innovative story telling is coming with immersive content and AI eg Springer brought out an AI textbook but there’s still the question of how to monetise these kind of products.

Alex mentioned what some of the audience agreed with – the future is scary (he referred to Black Mirror! And that we don’t know what’s going to happen next.

The panel agreed there’s a huge amount of stories and content out there, which means that the really good things can get drowned out. As well as great books, there’s so much extra marketing content too – everyone is a storyteller, with social media we’re now living in a storyfied world.

An interesting question from the audience was to see how many people use Siri etc with only 25% of the room currently engaging. So we all love reading but it might be a while before we ask them for a bedtime story!

https://bytethebook.com/

#bytethebook

https://bytethebook.com/report of the event and pics

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The Book Trade Charity

What do they do?

The Book Trade Charity is a fantastic organisation, offering support, guidance and financial assistance to all those in the book trade industry presently, in the past or striving to be in the future.

Founded on the principles that age, health and finance should not be a barrier to this creative and inspiring industry, the charity aims to overcome these barriers.

How can they help you?

If you have been struck by an unexpected illness, financial problems, medical situations or redundancy for example you may be eligible for assistance.

By offering grants, housing, and confidential and friendly support to tackle these problems.

The Retreat and Bookbinders Cottages – both in London, are residential facilities for those working or have previously worked in the book trade. Offering a fantastic, comfortable and community centred atmosphere, with individuals who share common experiences.

Travelling costs for interviews, extra financial assistance to move to London for jobs are also ways the charity can help if you meet their requirements.

What about if I haven’t worked in trade books before?

Extra assistance during internships, supporting in education or training courses, financial costs in attending interviews are some of the ways the charity can help you.

www.booktradeentrysupport.org – this website is aimed to provide information to those who are new to the trade. Take a look, it may just help you in reaching your dream job!

Are you looking to get back into work?

Going back to work can be scary and a challenge.

The charity can assist you with this transfer. Re-training after being made redundant, assistance with training courses, financial grants are some of the ways the charity can help you.

Become Involved

Donations are massively appreciated, both one-off, or regular monthly or annual. Currently the charity’s annual grants budget (across all the areas in which it helps) is some £250,000, and donations are relied upon to replenish the budget every year.

If you are up for some fun, you can run an event (possibly a bake sale?) a tasty treat! Or if you are up for something more challenging you can also take part in a run or swim!

The charity also has 5 places in the London Marathon each year – you can achieve a huge personal success and contribute to a great cause at the same time!

If you would like to fill out a grant form or discuss your options, visit the website here:

You can also call: 01923 263128

To donate visit: See the Donation pop up on the website or visit their virgin giving page

You can also read some inspiring stories on their website of the excellent work the charity has carried out.

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London Book Fair 2019

With less than two weeks to go until the 2019 London Book Fair, preparation is well under way! Not booked your ticket yet? You can here: https://www.londonbookfair.co.uk/

We are excited to again be part of one of the biggest events of the year, offering up CV advice and our expert knowledge of the publishing industry at The Careers Clinic (you will need to be registered to attend the London Book Fair to participate but they have a limited number of free London Book Fair tickets).

Would you like to meet us at the fair or after at our office near Bond Street station? Give our administrator a call on 0203 574 4420 to book an appointment!

NB: We’re running an Evening CV / Get registered Surgery event on Wednesday 6th March and you can book an appointment for anytime up until 7pm!

We are feeling extra excited because for the first time there will be a live podcast stage! With a line-up that includes Ian McEwan and Daisy Buchanan, the podcasts will be happening over the three days at The Fireside Chat Stage. You can find the podcasts events here: https://publishingperspectives.com/2019/02/london-book-fair-announces-inaugural-podcast-lineup-smartphones-pew-research/ Make sure to check it out!

Are you a first timer?

  • Plan your travel! (There are direct bus routes and Kensington Olympia has its own railway station)
  • Check out the lists of exhibitors and plan who you want to visit
  • Bring a big bag! (You may want to pick up leaflets and information)
  • There will be lots of free seminars, make sure to attend one
  • Take a notepad and pen – exhibitor stands and what they are promoting will give you industry insight that you can use in an interview
  • Network as much as you can
  • Follow up on all connections made
  • Most importantly – visit our consultants at The Careers Clinic

Are you a regular attendee? (Authors, agents, publishers)

We don’t need to tell you what to do!

But make sure you are stocked up on business cards and have planned the exhibitors you are most interested in and the seminars you want to attend!

Three of our fabulous consultants will be at The Careers Clinic!

Meet Clare Chan – Clare works on Production, non-tech Project Management, Design, Operations, Sales, Rights & International Sales in London and the Home Counties  https://www.linkedin.com/in/clare-chan-6437b068/

Meet Kellie Millar – Kellie is the manager of our temps and freelancers desk and also recruits for all Administration, HR and Finance roles https://uk.linkedin.com/in/kelliemillar

Meet Faye Jones – Faye works on Editorial (B2B & Professional), Sales, Marketing and Rights in Oxford and all areas outside London and the Home Counties https://www.linkedin.com/in/faye-jones-a94344147/

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Love to Read – Valentine’s

Welcome back to The Atwood Tate Book Club where we share what is on our consultant’s bookshelves. This post is dedicated to our feel good, favourite and romance books for Valentine’s day!

Kathryn Flicker, Administrator & Social Media Coordinator

Kathryn’s recommended Valentine’s reads are `The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock’, which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, a novel about love and obsession. Jonah Hancock’s acquisition of a mermaid brings him into contact with Angelica Neal, a courtesan who admires her possessions, and throws them into a world they would not before have entered.

Kathryn would also recommend `Sweet Tooth’ by Ian McEwan. The protagonist Serena Frome is recruited by MI5 to be part of an operation that funds writers whose writing and politics meet the requirements of the government. Serena falls in love with the young writer she is employed to manipulate, leading them both down a road of betrayal.

Helen Speedy, Associate Director

Helen loves reading Georgette Heyer’s novels which are set in the regency period and these all have an element of romance as well as intrigue. Two of Helen’s favourites are `Sprig Muslin’ and `The Corinthian’. In Sprig Muslin, Sir Gareth Ludlow is set to marry Lady Hester Thealer a woman he respects. However, on route to propose to her he sees Amanda Smith, a pretty lady who proves to have a dangerous imagination.

In The Corinthian Sir Richard Wyndham, contemplating his future loveless marriage meets a young and beautiful fugitive, where he offers himself as her protector on her travels. This road leads them into a murder investigation, and then to love.

Catherine Roney, Senior Publishing Recruitment Consultant

Catherine recommends you read `Still Me’ by Jojo Moyes, part of the Me Before You trilogy, this book picks up where After You left off. Now living in New York City, Louisa Clark is now ready for a whole new chapter. Trying to manage a new adventure, along with her new long distance relationship, Louisa is determined to make everything work. Mixing with New York High Society, Lou then meets someone who reminds her of her past and she finds herself torn between two worlds. Funny, warm and romantic, if you enjoyed the other two books then this is a must read!

Anna Slevin, Administrator

Anna enjoys reading Arthurian tales and would recommend `Erec and Enide’ translated into English where the couple are married very early on and have to learn to make it work, is almost a love story told backwards.

Gerald Morris’ modern version of Arthurian tales, Anna also enjoys. `The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf’ in particular for romance is a children’s book still close to Anna’s heart and is as much about families being idiots and going to extremes as it is about learning to love someone for who they are. Anna loves Gerald Morris in particular for his no-nonsense heroes and heroines who make mistakes, fall in love and fight to reach their happily ever after.

Novia Kingshott, Senior Publishing Recruitment Consultant

The Thorn Birds is a romantic novel which details the lives of the Clearys family. Set in a land unlike no other, rich when nature is good and poor when fallen to drought, and centred around fantastic characters. Meggie is the only daughter and distance drives her from her true love Ralph de Bricassart, although it does not drive away their love for each other.

Are you searching for the perfect read for a loved one this Valentine’s Day? Do you want to make them feel special with a perfectly picked out story for them to cosy up with? Along with our recommended reads above, we suggest you take a look at Waterstone’s Valentine’s Day, Books to Love.

https://www.waterstones.com/campaign/valentines-day

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The Art of Reading

The Atwood Tate 2019 Reading List, find out what is on our consultant’s bookshelves this year!

Helen Speedy, Associate Director

HHelen loves history books, and was given `Queens of Conquest’ as a Christmas present as she really enjoys Alison Weir! Helen appreciate’s Weir’s writing upon historical figures, to which there is limited information and these queens from the early Middle Ages sit within that category.

Helen will also be reading `Tombland’ by CJ Sansom, as she loved the earlier Shaedlake books. `Tombland’ is set in Norfolk, where Helen is from, spurring her on to read it even more!

Kathryn Flicker, Administrator & Social Media Coordinator

Kathryn will be reading `Call me by your name’ as she hasn’t yet watched the film and wants to get lost in the romance and setting of Italy through the written word.

Richard Yates, is again on Kathryn’s bookshelf with `Revolutionary Road’.

Having read `The Easter Parade’ and finding it mostly sad, but recommending to everyone she knows, Kathryn is ready for more Yates!

Faye Jones, Publishing Recruitment Consultant

Faye is obsessed with Alfred Hitchcock films and `The Woman in the Window’ is loosely inspired by Rear Window. Having heard such good things, Faye decided to add to her list!

Faye will also be reading `Catcher in the Rye’, a classic she hasn’t got round to yet. `This is going to hurt’ by Adam Kay has been on Faye’s read pile for a while and 2019 is the year!

Anna Slevin, Temps & Freelancers Administrator

Anna is planning to read `Lies Sleeping’ by Ben Aaronovitch and `The Wise Man’s Fear’ by Patrick Rothfuss. Both fiction, both falling into the fantasy camp, they are fun and compelling and make reading fun for Anna!

`The Gastronomical Me’ by M.F.K. Fisher is also on Anna’s bookshelf. Food essays are wonderful to read and delight the senses!

Parissa Bagheri, Trainee Publishing Recruitment Consultant

Parissa is currently reading `The World’s Wife’, after enjoying The Feminine Gospels and its extravagant metaphors, Parissa is reading a Duffy poem a day!

`Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’, humorous and heavy hearted, Parissa is expecting to ride a roller coaster of emotions with this one!

Catherine Roney, Publishing Recruitment Consultant

Catherine is a huge fan of Liane Moriarty and can’t wait to get stuck into her latest book! Nine strangers in need of a break, a beautiful health and wellness retreat, what can go wrong?

If you enjoy warm, funny and family centred novels, indulge in some Liane Moriarty this year!

Karine Nicpon, Lead Consultant

Karine is planning to read `Chéri’ by Colette. Colette is a very famous French writer who Karine has never read, making 2019 the year!

The novel is written in French and English translations are available. A tale of unobtainable love, if you love romance, this is one for you!

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Atwood Tate Book Club: Christmas

Welcome back to the Atwood Tate Book Club, where we reveal what books have a special place on our shelves! For this entry our team of publishing recruitment specialists are delighted to bring you our festive favourites, that keep us feeling warm during the winter months and get us in the Christmas spirit!

 

Charlotte Tope, Publishing Recruitment Consultant

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.

Christmas is a time of indulgence, togetherness with loved ones and a shared experience. This book offers advice of how to make the most of your feeling of home and comfort.

Charlotte says: ` Christmas is for everything cosy, and this is pretty much the festive season rolled up into a book. Best read with hot chocolate, PJ’s and a blanket.’

 

Anna Slevin, Temps & Freelancers Administrator

Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce

This is an alternative present where the UK is about to join the Eurozone, when two brothers find a bag stuffed with stolen money they have less than 3 weeks to spend all of it before the Great British Pound becomes worthless. Young enough to think this is a good idea… old enough to have their own problems anyway. Centred around the value of money and giving, this is a perfect read for this time of year.

Anna says: `Millions is one of those odd books that is intrinsically linked to the screenplay as the author did both but I think the book is better! The perfect Christmas book where you work out what’s important to you with a measure of sainthood thrown in.’

 

Helen Speedy, Associate Director

The Box of Delights by John Masefield

 

The story is set during the Christmas holiday when the protagonist, Kay Harker, returns home from school and gets mixed up in a magical and sometimes menacing adventure around a magical box.

Helen says: `It’s an exciting and atmospheric mystery story and for me means Christmas with themes of magic and wonder. There was an amazing TV series in the early 1980s which my brother and I watched avidly and I wish the BBC would re-run this, as I think children today would love it as well.’

 

Parissa Bagheri, Trainee Publishing Recruitment Consultant 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

 

A Christmas classic that warms the heart! Where the reader witnesses the protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge change into a kinder man after visits from the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come.

Parissa says: `I just love Dickens and A Christmas Carol is one of my favourites! It’s one for everyone to enjoy whilst being cosy at home with some Christmas music playing in the background!’

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Atwood Tate Book Club: Halloween

 

Have you ever wondered what a team of publishing recruitment specialists like to read in their down time? Curious about our favourite books growing up? Welcome to the Atwood Tate Book Club, where we reveal what books have a special place on our shelves! For this entry, we peek under the bed and around darkened corners with our favourite Halloween appropriate reads.

Anna Slevin, Temps & Freelancers Administrator

Gentleman & Players by Joanne Harris .

Psychological thriller that really ramps up the tension in an all-boys school, written by a former teacher (of Chocolat fame) with two narrators and two time periods as a former tragedy comes back to haunt the school… Honestly one of the most disconcerting reads as hindsight and ignorance confuse the reader as the disturbing mystery plays out.

The Stuff of Nightmares by Malorie Blackman

Short stories that show schoolchild nightmares that ultimately reach a conclusion as the reality of a train crash hits home. Memorable a decade later! Dreamscapes are the perfect landscape for awful situations with terrible images that stay with you…

Charlotte Tope, Publishing Recruitment Consultant

The Virago Book of Ghost Stories volume ll

 

It’s not in print anymore so you’ll have to do a bit of searching to get a second hand copy, but a collection of haunting tales all written by women. I recommend Black Dog Penelope Lively. You’re going to have to read in-between the lines for this one!!

 

Faye Jones, Publishing Recruitment Consultant

The Woman in Black  by Susan Hill

The Woman in Black was the first horror book that I read after finishing school, and even though I couldn’t put it down I wanted to because it was so scary! I only read it at night time which was probably a bad idea and when the film came out I convinced my friends to try reading it before watching it in the Cinema. If you’re looking for a chilling read I would recommend the Woman in Black.

 

 

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Oxford Publishing Society: 21st Century Publishing Careers

On Thursday we attended the OPuS Event Careers in 21st century publishing at Oxford Brookes University. The event featured three speakers from a wide range of companies who talked through their own specific work experience path. The event aimed to answer questions on the ease of progressing and moving around in publishing, what key elements are needed to build your career and the possibility of finding success outside traditional publishing companies.

Faye & Alison and Oxford Publishing Society

 

Ian Campsall, Product Manager for The Science Direct Article Page at Elsevier

Ian completed the Oxford Brookes MA as he wanted to change careers. He completed an internship at John Wiley and then applied for the position of Digital Publishing Executive at Wiley, he then moved into product management for mobile platforms. He is now Product Management for Elsevier working on The Science Direct Article page.

Aaron O’Dowling-Keane, Sales and Marketing Manager at Sherlock: The Game is Now

Aaron also studied the MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes and completed internships at OUP and the International Labour Office in Geneva. Her first role in publishing was for a small African Publisher in Oxford, she then moved away from publishing into crowdfunding, then story led interactive games and is now a Sales and Marketing Manager for a Sherlock themed escape room.

Saskia Watts, Marketing Specialist, VitalSource (Ingram)

After completing her MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes, Saskia worked for Lightening Source as a marketing coordinator and she is now a marketing specialist for Ingram Vital Source.

Here are some interesting tips from the evening:
• Take risks
• Technology is everything and digital skills are important
• Organisation is key
• Talk to your company about career development opportunities
• Soft skills are vital
• Feedback is a good thing, use constructive feedback to improve
• Recognise that publishing is all about collaboration
• Take Risks, if the role does not suit you and you are not happy move on
• Be curious and talk to everyone, get to know people from different places
• Try everything and do everything, volunteer at university events, join societies like OPuS, SYP
• Create the role that you want
• Adapt and be flexible and keep learning

Useful links:
Oxford Publishing Society, OPuS: http://oxfordpublishingsociety.org/
SYP (Society of Young Publishers): https://thesyp.org.uk/

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