Most budding publishers aren’t likely to be set loose on Dan Brown’s latest title or even a new outing into the proper usage ot Engerlish by Lynne Truss; more likely we’ll be looking at finding revenue and accolade elsewhere, helping out with the slush pile or checking potential in titles out of copyright.
Here at Edinburgh Napier we publishing students are happily engaged in breathing life into classics from the Scots canon. Recent years have seen us reinvigorating titles such as Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Soon to be released is John Buchan’s The 39 Steps and The Private Memoirs and Confessions of Justified Sinner by James Hogg.
In the wider world of publishing, the backlist and long tail are where revenue can be raised with less effort than bringing a new title to publication (an interesting analysis of the publishing long tail can be found here) .
Recently Puffin won marketing plaudits with a campaign to celebrate the 40th year in print of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, the world-wide sales of which exceed 29 million copies and must represent a significant income stream for the publishers. It must come as no surprise that many of the reported best selling titles are of significant age, their are many other titles whose long selling ability have meant their constant re-edition has provided income and reading pleasure without troubling the legendary best sellers.
It transpires that the title that brought the publishing industry into being (in Western tradition), the Bible, is now being released in a new format. The Glo Bible is evidence that even the oldest of titles can be brought up to date and made more relevant for a contemporary readership.
In other biblical publishing news the electronic delivery of content has fused with another internet meme to give the LOLcat bible to the world – who’d a thunk it?
The point is that authors write and create, publishers (obviously) publish and many of these titles see all this work disappear in a matter of years if not months. With careful thought to relevance, updating and repackaging some of these titles can go on to enjoy a second, third and more-th incarnation, bringing reading pleasure to a wider audience and creating income, brand and reputation to publishers old and new.