Publisher’s bookshelf

In How to Do Better Creative Work, Steve Harrison recommends 13 books for people in his industry (i.e., advertising). Through a series of posts  this blog has done the same for publishing.

The 13 books on publishing are as follows:

  1. Michael Barnard, Transparent Imprint (reviewed 20 Aug 2010)
  2. Tobias Nielsen, Dominic Power, and Margret Sigrun Sigurdardottir, Creative business: 10 lessons to help you build a business your way (reviewed 29 Oct 2015)
  3. Steve Harrison, How to Do Better Creative Work (reviewed 10 Nov 2010)
  4. Michael N. Ross, Publishing Without Boundaries (reviewed 17 Nov 2010)
  5. Marshall Lee’s Bookmaking: Editing / Design / Production (reviewed 11 Dec 2010)
  6. Carole Blake, From Pitch to Publication (reviewed 5 Jan 2011)
  7. David J. Brown & Richard Boulderstone, The Impact of Electronic Publishing (reviewed 23 Jan 2011)
  8. Scott Norton, Developmental Editing (reviewed 10 Feb 2011)
  9. Bill Martin & Xuemei Tuan, Books, Bytes and Business (reviewed 2 Apr 2011)
  10. Irene Hames, Peer Review and Manuscript Management in Scientific Journals (reviewed 2 Nov 2011)
  11. John B. Thompson, Merchants of Culture (reviewed 25 June 2011).
  12. Elizabeth Currid, The Warhol Economy (reviewed 24 Jan 2013)
  13. Sally Morris et al, Handbook of Journal Publishing (reviewed 18 April 2013).

If you think there are any further publications that I should have included here, do please send a comment.


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  4. You brilliantly highlight Steve Harrison’s point that reading just one book a year makes one an industry guru. What is shocking is how few people in the book business have any kind of conceptual, historical or philosophical model of what they do, how people used to do it and how people are going to do it in the future. At times of frantic socio-technical change the industry needs some good guides – many thanks, Anthony, for these.

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  6. Thank you. A very useful list for someone new in the game.

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  10. Marshall Lee’s Bookmaking: Editing / Design / Production is good for people who make books. Though it’s kinda outdated, it is really informative and has a lot of details in production process.

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  12. This is a great idea, but there are many more books to consider for inclusion. Today a common route into the industry is to take an MA in Publishing Studies – which offers a broad understanding of the industry as a whole, and practice-based exploration of key activities – enabling graduates to enter the industry both fully prepared and aware of potential future developments. There are 13 institutions running such courses in the UK (ourselves included), and more world wide. Would you like to see a copy of our reading list? Very best, Alison Baverstock, Course Leader MA Publishing, Kingston University

    • Thank you, Alison. I should emphasise that the point of the list is to be selective – hence the decision, following Harrison, to limit the list of titles to thirteen. So while it’s true there are ‘many more’ books on publishing, it’s not clear to me that any of the additional books deserve a place here. You would, of course, be welcome to propose candidates…

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