‘By the Book’ Publishing Studies Conference
By Nick P Canty, on 25 June 2014
Nick Canty and Prof Iain Stevenson from UCL’s Centre for Publishing spoke at the By the Book conference in Florence last month. The conference, held at Villa Finaly an academic institution outside Florence and owned by the University of Paris, brought together scholars from the field of publishing studies to examine key issues around the digital transformation of the book, as well as to discuss the developing field of publishing studies. This was the first conference to bring together scholars and researchers of publishing studies from across Europe and beyond – there were presentations from ten countries in total including two from South Africa giving a truly international perspective on the subject.
Over the two days of the conference, 28 presentations discussed how digitisation was changing publishing, bookselling and even reading habits as publishing formats change as publishers innovate and experiment. The conference provided an opportunity for researchers and teachers of publishing studies to assess the implications this changing landscape has for us, our programmes, our students and the discipline.
Speaking on a panel on reading practices, Nick gave a paper on bibliotherapy with case studies on some ‘books on prescription’ schemes in the UK with examples of how bookshops can engage with customers through guided reading programmes such as those offered by the School of Life and Mr B’s Reading Emporium. ‘Books on Prescription’ is now a category in the Kindle ebook store. Iain gave a talk on his recent research in the Book Tokens archive. Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, who is joining the Centre from Loughborough in September, discussed her research on regional publishing in the North of England and the North West of the United States.
The full list of presentations can be found here.