Writing in Place: An ‘Ambient Literature’ Project in the UK

What happens if the story you’re reading knows where you are, and can respond to your input? A new project based in the West Country of England explores the possibilities of writing that’s informed not only by a sense of location, but also by the affordances of smartphones, and what they can bring to storytelling….

Paris and the Machine: scholarly print-on-demand

The new Les PUF store, La Librairie des PUF, certainly makes a stylish addition to an already highly literary quarter. It’s not far from the Place de la Sorbonne, the city’s historic seat of academia. And it’s just round the corner from some of the city’s most prestigious bookshops: the Librairie Philosphique J. Vrin, Editions…

Open access: a personal take

I have a few reservations about Open Access. In some respects, that’s hardly surprising. After all, I work for a big publisher – not, admittedly, an Elsevier, but still one of the world’s largest university presses, one of those not-for-profit organisations whose deep differences from the likes of Elsevier are too commonly elided in the…

Ten ways to get ahead in publishing

(FOR THE SOCIETY OF YOUNG PUBLISHERS AT THE LONDON BOOK FAIR, TUESDAY APRIL 14TH, 2015) INTRODUCTION I’m Alastair Horne, and I work for Cambridge University Press. I started out at Cambridge ten years ago as a project developer, testing educational software for primary schools; then spent three years as a project manager, working with internal…

The Future of the Scholarly Book – ten take-aways

The recent ALPSP conference on the Future of the Scholarly Book offered many lessons for publishers, reassuring some that they’re heading in the right direction, while challenging others. Here are ten things I took away from the conference. take-aways below. Make sure you know what you (and your colleagues) are talking about… One problem with…

Two and a half thoughts on Amazon’s Matchbook

Amazon’s announcement on Tuesday of its new Matchbook offer, allowing customers to buy discounted digital versions of print books they’d previously bought from the retailer, is far from the first attempt to bring bundling to publishing. As Peter Hudson, CEO of BitLit was quick to point out, his start-up has been offering something rather similar…

How to get ahead in publishing

I was asked to give a short talk at the 2013 London Book Fair on a panel session organised by the Society of Young Publishers. Here are my notes from the talk; you can also download them in PDF format at the end. #1 YOUR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IS FAR TOO IMPORTANT TO BE ENTRUSTED TO…

REACTive Publishing: innovation at the Hub

As our industry becomes increasingly hybrid – ever more digital, yet still significantly paper-based – the necessity to innovate is a growing problem for publishers. With revenues squeezed by falling prices and decreasing margins, innovation becomes more vital than ever: if we are to survive, publishers need to find new methods of working, new types…

Beyond the Book: the Society of Young Publishers conference 2012

The 2012 Society of Young Publishers conference once again matched more expensive events, with an excellent range of speakers at the cutting edge of the industry. The 2012 Society of Young Publishers conference once again offered a range and quality of speakers to rival publishing events that cost ten times as much to attend. In…

What publishing can learn from the fate of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

In the highly unlikely event that anyone in publishing even vaguely remembers me in ten years’ time, it’ll be for this analogy. I can live with that. It was at Frankfurt last year, on a Tools of Change panel with Brian O’Leary and Sheila Bounford, that I first started wittering on about the Austro-Hungarian Empire…

The Future of Publishing Report

In 2011, I was commissioned by Media Futures to research and produce what became the Future of Publishing report. I include an excerpt from it here. To download the full report from Media Futures, click here. Shaping the Future Articles, reports, and conferences on the future of publishing are increasingly common; genuinely useful insights into…