#UCLPub2016 – Week 2 [Book Master Training]

Week 2 was… a Lot. Somehow we managed to squeeze in an entire introductory module in 5 days. Safe to say my brain was quite mushy by Friday.

The staff called it ‘Book Camp’. It was 100% appropriate. 😡πŸ˜₯😱



Monday morning was just a quick run through what is publishing and a little bit of it’s history. As well as a brief rundown on what publishing is like these days.

The afternoon was where we had a little introduction to Nielsen book scan! It’s pretty cool to get to look at all the data concerning books and their sales, but it’s also really confusing to use. I hope I get the hang of it before too late because it will be SO useful! πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯


This day was called “BIC Operations Day”! We had a series of panels, where the first was an operations panel, as you can see in the picture below and hosted by the Executive Director of BIC.


  • Digital helps print in smaller volumes, it has changed how much physical stock you need
  • Value Add : before it leaves the warehouse AKA something that has been added – a sticker, shrink wrap the book, another book attached, repacking the books in boxes with amounts
  • You don’t have to print for the life of the book anymore
  • Customer operations is the first point of contact for people AKA booksellers etc – the first person to find out about defects and problems with books
  • Customer operations is also the strategic side of customer service and has changed dramatically with digital
  • The end user is now the learner EG: parents
  • People also call out of hours EG: parents using digital products with kids
  • The biggest distributors in the industry (amazon, supermarkets) have a lot of sway regarding stock
  • Sometimes a digital code is included with print books or they work with institutions to get details and mail digital versions directly
  • With digital everyone expects it to be instantaneous
  • There is also not a lot of reason to tie a lot of money in print stock as it’s easy to reprint these days
  • Customer service can be the difference if a customer comes back or not – especially after a mistake
  • We are a long way off on not needing distribution centers thanks to customer behaviour and it is also not economical to do direct deliveries


The second panel was a production panel, that was hosted by Heather O’Connell, who’s a book production expert, and who, if I’m not mistaken, also helps teach on our course!


Since it’s hard to read from the photo, the guest speakers we had were: Emily Davies – Deputy Production Editorial Manager at Ashgate – Taylor and Francis group, Annie Underwood – Producer at Penguin Random House + Michael Joseph, and Anne Robin – Junior Project Manager at Egmont.

  • For kids, any book that isn’t JUST a book is a toy and comes with rigorous safety testing – fire proofing, water proofing, any kind of child proofing you can think of!
  • The bigger the print run, the more you can get an economy of value – however this only applies to big trade books and not necessarily educational or academic books
  • If the cover has a special finish (foiling, cut outs) the reprint time takes much longer which is why it’s also important to have a non-special cover as a backup
  • Colour books for trade are really expensive and as a result have more approval stages to check and ensure nothing goes wrong
  • Big publishers print a LOT to keep costs down so they can buy cheap bulk items and sell more to get a profit
  • October and June are busy periods for Penguin -> October is an end of year period while June is a summer and early christmas rush. March is also a busy period for academic and educational books as it can be the start of a rush before a new US school term (?)
  • Although it is cheaper to print in Asia, it takes longer to ship over (13 weeks!) so it might not be worth it


In the afternoon we tore apart books. Well not me particularly because I got a bit lost and was slightly late so I missed that part.

Tearing the books had a purpose!!! Which was to learn about the different PARTS of a book. And to give us a hands on experience on book production, in a reverse way.



Day 3 was another panel in the morning and although it was really interesting, it was mostly anecdotal so I didn’t take many notes.


The afternoon was with UCL Press and then with the Wiley publishing house guest speakers. They then made us sit in rows and play some kind of ‘speed dating’ activity to get us used to networking??? It was a nice idea but I think we just took it as an opportunity to get to know our classmates a bit better.


The Thursday morning session began with a brief intro to network and social network theory, with an interesting analogy with the A-Team. Yes. As in the one with Mr T.

After that, we had a quick talk from Suzanne Kavanagh from the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers.


She was very interesting and so was her talk, but a lot of it went over my head. And at that point in the week, I was getting pretty brain dead.. 😡


In the afternoon we went to… THE WELLCOME COLLECTION!!


Prior to our lunch break, we were given a copy of one of the new Penguin Pocket Classics that have just been released!! As well as the new Books Are My Bag tote bag!!! Very cool stuff.



HACHETTE DAY!!! The entire of our last day of contexts week was spent at the fancy and very pretty Hachette Publishing building!



They have a SKY GARDEN where their cafeteria is. A SKY GARDEN!!! Very cool stuff.

The Hachette Hawk is a very fearsome and noble creature…

The entire visit was just basically a seminar day so we had talks more or less non stop throughout the whole day! I’d write up my notes but there was honestly so much information that it’s too much to type up here… SORRY NOT SORRY.

Here are some more pretty photos though:


20161007_163558Β 20161007_163606


β€œEven now I'm not really sure which parts of myself are real and which parts are things I've gotten from books.” - [Beatrice Sparks] Go Ask Alice πŸƒβ˜•

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