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At Alban Books, it’s all about the data.

High quality data, kept bang up to date and working hard to earn it’s living. This is what impressed me most during my work placement at the sales, marketing and distribution company based in Edinburgh and Bristol who distribute high quality Christian titles for eleven non-UK client publishers. Every member of staff value good data and communicate constantly with each other to keep all aspects of metadata up to date for each of the 7,000 active titles that they promote and distribute.

Marketing Manager Elaine Reid is no exception and keeps the marketing databases meticulously up to date whilst carrying out pre-agreed cyclical marketing campaigns for client- and owner-publishers. She does all this with a quiet air and this calm quality is something I very much appreciated when working on direct mail campaigns or updating the Content Management System (CMS) for the company’s website. I undertook my work placement during what is for us publishing students a very busy trimester, filled with live projects and a busy schedule of guest speakers and special events.

I looked forward to my day at Alban Books in the pretty Dean Village, Edinburgh; not only for the quiet, uncluttered open plan office but because I knew that I would get a warm and friendly welcome from the whole team:

The Alban Books Edinburgh-based team L-R: Margaret Reid (Administrator and marketing Assistant); Elaine Reid (Marketing Manager); Nadia Suchdev (Sales & Marketing Assistant), Jonny Gallant (Managing Director) with Dean Village in background. Credit: Alban Books.
The Alban Books Edinburgh-based team L-R: Margaret Reid (Administrator and marketing Assistant); Elaine Reid (Marketing Manager); Nadia Suchdev (Sales & Marketing Assistant), Jonny Gallant (Managing Director) with Dean Village in background. Credit: Alban Books.

Margaret Reid, administrator and marketing assistant, who often buzzed me into the beautiful sandstone basement office and greeted me with a smile; managing director Jonny Gallant, always friendly and full of interesting anecdotes (he knows everyone in the book trade!) in between growing the business and generally excelling at Excel; sales and marketing assistant, Nadia Suchdev (one of our MSc Publishing alumni) who, when she wasn’t out and about selling new titles to booksellers, was dazzling me with her impressive telephone manner and teaching me the esoteric arts of ‘seeding the trade’ and building rich product databases; and of course marketing manager Elaine Reid, who kept me busy designing direct mail shots as she quietly conquered the Christian book market while somehow always finding time to make sure that I had a cuppa.

Every morning I arrived to find a treat on my desk from someone different in the office and everyone always found the time in the middle of a busy workday to banter and tell stories. They were all genuinely interested in my MSc Publishing studies too.

Cluedo and pizza! L-R: Elaine Reid (marketing manager); Susan Kemp (that's me!); Nadia Suchdev (Sales and marketing assistant)
Cluedo and pizza! L-R: Elaine Reid (marketing manager); Susan Kemp (that’s me!); Nadia Suchdev (Sales and marketing assistant)

On my last day the team surprised me with pizza, a game of Cluedo and a thoughtful gift, typical of their warmth and care. What can I say, I landed a ‘Plum’ internship at Alban Books that would make any publishing student ‘Green’ with envy!

I highly recommend this work placement if you’re interested in distribution, marketing and the optimisation of data to not only effectively reach your target audience but also to adapt working practices to offer clients the best service possible.

And of course, if you love high quality biscuits that magically appear when you need them most!

(Margaret won at Cluedo, by the way)