What’s the craic with Northern Irish Publishing?

Any undergraduate student hopes for a job in their field of study. But what about Masters students, who pay a lot of money they don’t have to study something they are passionate about, but then discover their country doesn’t have a strong voice in their field of study?

When I wanted to apply for Publishing, I adamantly searched Google, almost twenty pages deep, in the hopes of there being a course here at home, in either Ireland or Northern Ireland. However, it was never God’s plan for me to study at home because I have learned so much here and love the city of Edinburgh and the people in it. Still, I did wonder, why isn’t there a course at home?

I was told, once people heard about me moving here, that I would never come back home because if I wanted to join the publishing industry, I would have to stay on the mainland. Since I rarely listen to other people, I wasn’t put out by their comments, because I knew I would be home again. And I am going to be because I know there are many publishers in Northern Ireland – you just have to look for them, because their voices are small.

It was through looking for Northern Irish companies that I got a job. Ever the inquisitive, I began emailing the ones that caught my interest back in October, in the off chance someone might have an opening, or simply, for them to bear me in mind when I returned in April. All were lovely in their responses, as so many are in this industry, and one company even told me they had a part-time, work from home, opportunity opening, which is exactly what I needed, with not being at home. To make it even better, they were a Christian Publishing House.

Since February, I have been editing and proof-reading for them, and it is so refreshing to be doing something I love. I am continuously building up my skills and gaining vital experience for the future.

Last week, I attended the London Book Fair (LBF), which has 1500 exhibitors displaying their publishing businesses, and I discovered something – out of 1500, 1 was Northern Irish. And the only reason it was being represented was because it had recently been bought by a bigger Irish company. Even the Irish publishers only had one stand. In the back of my mind, Northern Irish publishing and its status in the publishing world, has always plagued me. Since discovering this at LBF, it has spurred me on to write my dissertation on my little home country and where it stands in the publishing industry and how it can be improved.

I remain optimistic that Northern Irish publishing has a big future, not only in the UK, but worldwide.30784610_10213226848560554_1647210126_n

Photo: Mussenden Temple, Downhill, Co. Londonderry – which used to be a library where the master of the house (left) used to go for peace and quiet while reading – a fancy book nook!

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Differences and similarities between the UK and the German publishing industry

First of all, it is not possible to sum up all the differences and similarities between the UK and German publishing industries in just one article, so this article will just touch on the topic. I will mention the VAT regularities for books in both countries, the netbook agreement, and finally an overview of different network bodies and associations in each country.

First of all, it is not possible to sum up all the differences and similarities between the UK and German publishing industries in just one article, so this article will just touch on the topic. I hope that I can still give you a good summary of the most important key points from my point of view (as a student of Book Studies in Germany who has studied Publishing for a while). I will mention the VAT regularities for books in both countries, the netbook agreement, and finally an overview of different network bodies and associations in each country (hopefully this might also be useful for research questions).

The book market in both countries is protected by different regularities by each government, because of the cultural status of the book. To do so, there are special VAT requirements for books in both countries. In the UK, books are included in the zero-rated goods which means that they are still VAT-taxable but the charged rate for the customer is 0%. A similar law applies in Germany: Instead of the general VAT of 19%, customers who are buying books only have to pay 7% VAT (reduzierter Mehrwertssteuersatz).

Another specific law for books in Germany is the so-called netbook agreement (Buchpreisbindung). This means that the publisher fixes a specific price for a book and everyone who wants to sell this book has to sell it for this fixed price. It is not allowed to sell it for a higher price nor for a lower price (and yes, this includes Amazon!). Some exceptions exist for specific editions of a book or for remaindered books, in this case the fixed price is superseded. But in general, every book has a specific price and it costs the same in every shop in Germany. Like I said before, this even applies to Amazon which means people in Germany who buy a book on Amazon have to pay the same price as they would in a bookshop. I do not go further into the consequences of a valid netbook agreement, but I would love to see a discussion in the comments and to hear about different opinions and possible advantages and disadvantages on a book market which is protected by a netbook agreement.

There are some network bodies and associations in the UK publishing industry who have a similar counterpart in Germany. Hopefully the list below is useful for research (unfortunately not all is available in English, but there may be English summaries).

Publishing Scotland Börsenverein des deutschen Buchhandels
Nielsen Book Scan Buch und Buchhandel in Zahlen (Börsenverein*)
Bookseller Börsenblatt (Börsenverein*)

Buchreport

Buchmarkt

The Society of Young Publishers Junge Verlagsmenschen e.V.

Both societies try to cooperate!

London Book Fair

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Frankfurter Buchmesse (international)

Leipziger Buchmesse (national)

*Academic note: The Börsenverein has advantages and disadvantages. I, personally, would never just look at their data, make sure you find similar numbers with other resources (especially for ebooks).

Please feel free to continue my list or add more facts about the book market in both countries! Also, I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.

Interview with Video Production

 

Hello Rattler-teers! Book Week Scotland may be wrapping up, but we’re still hard at work with our market research. Today we had a chance to talk to the creative team behind our series of podcasts: Video Production! Watch to find out how they go about bringing you these lovely interviews.

See you soon,

The Social Media Team

Twitter: @Martin_Rattler
Facebook: @martinrattlerbook

Meet the Martin Rattler Project Manager

Hello Rattler-teers!

Next up in our series of video podcasts is an interview with Claire, who is managing the whole Martin Rattler market research project. Expect insights into project management, the postgraduate publishing experience, and manatees!

See you soon,
Social Media Team

Facebook: @martinrattlerbook
Twitter: @Martin_Rattler

Interview with Social Media Manager

Hello Rattler-teers!

Our video production crew have been busy interviewing each of the team managers to talk about what we’re all up to.

First up is Social Media, and team manager Jenna sat down to chat about our projects and her favourite rainforest animal!

See you soon,
Social Media Team

Facebook: @martinrattlerbook
Twitter: @Martin_Rattler

Hello old Rattler-teers…

…and welcome new explorers!

mr_social-media

Martin Rattler and his friends from the Amazon are back, and this time they will help you become an explorer by solving riddles and challenges in a new activity book from Merchiston Publishing. Here you will find books and authors connected to Edinburgh, as well as illustrations and characters from the novel.

MSc Publishing class of ‘16/17 will be visiting local primary schools in connection with Book Week Scotland to see what P6 and P7 think of the activity book. We are really looking forward to hearing children’s attitudes towards reading, and their feedback will contribute to our market research.

The torch has been passed on, and the new Martin Rattler team consists of Social Media, Event Management, Podcast Production and Design groups.

If you would like to follow Martin and his friends, and to see podcasts introducing the teams, we will be posting regular updates on Twitter and Facebook throughout Book Week Scotland and beyond.

See you soon!

Martin Rattler Social Media Team – Ceris, Christina, Jenna and Lauren

Facebook: @martinrattlerbook

Twitter: @Martin_Rattler