Immersion in the World of Publishing Rights & Contracts at Canongate


In May and June I was given the fantastic opportunity to complete a work placement at one of Scotland’s most successful and exciting publishing houses – the fiercely independent Canongate.

During the internship, I worked in the Rights & Contracts department. Rights is an area of publishing I am already interested in, so I was keen to develop practical skills to add to the basic theoretical knowledge I had gained beforehand.

My placement started with a meeting with Caroline, Senior Rights Executive, and Pauline, Rights Assistant. After offering me a tour through the various departments and introducing me to the staff, they gave me an overview of what I would be learning during my time at Canongate and answered all my questions about rights in general, and my internship in particular.


Over the few weeks I spent at Canongate I undertook a variety of tasks, including logging royalty statements, processing foreign editions, sourcing book reviews, and much more. Under Pauline’s supervision, I was trained in Biblio and learnt in detail about contracts.

It was a pleasure to go through Canongate’s bright red door every day and work within such a committed and dynamic team, surrounded with the many foreign editions of their titles overflowing on the shelves, and sometimes distracted by Office Dog Sylvie. The Rights department at Canongate is a key part of the company – there is great emphasis placed on selling rights internationally and indeed, they have built a strong reputation from doing so. I could definitely sense that I was part of a hugely committed and skilled team, passionate about bringing Canongate’s titles to an international audience.

Some highlights of my placement? I was fortunate enough to be in the office for the celebration of the launch of their new website, which was an exciting moment. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to attend rights meetings and hear all about new acquisitions, submissions and deals pending – this allowed me to gain an insight into the strategies involved. Finally, prior to the placement, sitting with Caroline during one of her meetings at the London Book Fair and learning about how she plans her pitches was particularly informative.

This internship has helped me solidify my understanding of publishing rights and contracts, and gave me valuable hands on experience in the world of rights. I’ve become more familiar with some of the administrative duties involved in a rights department, while also gaining awareness of foreign publishing markets as well as a taste of how a successful team works together to sell sub-rights.

The team were great, very friendly and supportive; I would like to thank Caroline, Pauline and Andrea for such a fantastic learning experience! ♦

You can follow Canongate’s Rights department.
Sylvie sporadically appears on @canongatebooks

Alice F.

#AcBookWeek – Future Partnerships in Academic Publishing


interior_view_of_stockholm_public_libraryBy Marcus Hansson under CC by 2.0

Until the 28th of January, Academic Book Week 2017 is celebrating the “diversity, innovation and influence of academic books”.

The week-long celebration has sparked discussions about the future of academic publishing, the question of open access and the possibilities of digital in scholarly publishing. As students, Academic Book Week is also causing us to reflect on our experience with academia, as well as on the value of academic libraries and resources. The latter have not only been crucial to our academic learning and achievements, but have also introduced us to groundbreaking theories and new ways of thinking.

When scouring through articles relating to Academic Book Week, one stood out as particularly informative to us future publishers. In a recent article, Christina Kamposiori from Research Libraries UK presented the views of five university librarians on the future of the academic book. We have identified a key point which we believe is relevant to those considering a career in academic publishing – including us!  

“The lines between author, publisher, bookseller and librarian may become blurred as we explore the potential for new and innovative partnerships.”

Librarians are about to become a lot more involved in the publishing process, participating in the design of academic resources and creation of content.

The digital revolution is presenting users with new ways of accessing academic content (eg. online journals, videos, and even social media). In order to provide these users with a wider array of formats, new forms of collaboration between all the actors of the academic publishing chain are likely to take place. The forging of closer partnerships may be further fostered by the increase in the number of university presses. Meanwhile, librarians have a valuable role in supporting authors during their research and providing advice. Such communication and collaboration is key in tackling the challenges academic publishing may face and in ensuring the sector stays innovative and relevant to tomorrow’s users.

Academic Book Week has brought to our attention the current issues and debates surrounding the academic book. As MSc Publishing students, we are looking forward to becoming actively involved in these discussions.

  • Make sure to read more on this issue here (Christina Kamposiori, Five Librarians Discuss the Future of the Academic Book British Academy Review)
  • Find out about Academic Book Week by clicking here
  • Head here to find out more about Merchiston Publishing’s latest publication, Innovations in Learning and Teaching

Claire & Alice