When I first started in publishing I didn't know my head from my elbow. It's amazing how often I turn to books to help me figure out the world around me. Recently, I bought a new bookshelf and while packing some old books, and some new books; and if you are anything like me, you don't just pack the books, you arrange, rearrange, alphabetise, and figure out a 'section' area by genre or by collection (i.e. signed hardbacks, or languages, or books worked on). It's complicated to say the least, but while packing, I realised I had an entire shelf on 'Books for Publishing' - granted theses were collected over the years some from my career, some from my publishing honors degree. So why not share them with you, dear reader? These don't have to be used for a career in publishing, but if you love books, and want to explore how they are made, sold, and financed this list will help...
Mathematics of Bookselling: A Monograph by Leonard Shatzkin
The Mathematics of Bookselling is a definitive resource for book retailers looking to maximize margins and profits through the proven pricing and inventory management practices developed by Leonard Shatzkin, one of 20th century book publishing’s most innovative executives.
Because bookselling involves dealing with so many different products from so many different suppliers with so many different prices and margins, it is perhaps the most complex retailing challenge there is. The Mathematics of Bookselling, a monograph by Leonard Shatzkin, explores a variety of the real-life challenges booksellers face -- what and when to buy, how margin (the amount made on a sale) and turn (the speed at which inventory brought in gets sold) affect profitability, whether to add or subtract titles from the mix -- and lays out the logic and calculations by which the "right" answers can be found.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
"I'm a panda," he says at the door. "Look it up."
The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
So, punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death.
Now, we all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighbourhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in e-mail, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species.
In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.
How to Market Books by Alison Baverstock
Over four editions, Alison Baverstock's How to Market Books has established itself as the industry standard text on marketing for the publishing industry, and the go-to reference guide for professionals and students alike. With the publishing world changing like never before, and the marketing and selling of content venturing into uncharted technological territory, this much needed new edition seeks to highlight the role of the marketer in this rapidly changing landscape.
The new edition is thoroughly updated and offers a radical reworking and reorganisation of the previous edition, suffusing the book with references to online/digital marketing. The book maintains the accessible and supportive style of previous editions but also now offers: a number of new case studies detailed coverage of individual market segments checklists and summaries of key points several new chapters a foreword by Michael J Baker, Professor Emeritus of Marketing, Strathclyde University.
Get your Book Published in 30 (relatively) Easy Steps by Basil van Rooyen
Writing a book? Need answers to your questions? What are my chances of getting my book published? Where can I find information about which publishers handle which books? What exactly is involved in publishing a book and how long does it take? Who pays for what? How do I protect my copyright? These and scores of other questions can frustrate the first-time author - and often haunt published authors too.
Part 1 traces the entire publishing process, from the moment the author conceives of the idea to the moment the finished book arrives in the bookshop, and beyond, by breaking it down into 30 easy-to-digest steps.
Part 2 is an overview of the inner workings of the international book trade as well as the South African book industry. This edition of this authoritative aid for authors brings prospective authors up to date with new developments in the book world such as e-books and now focuses exclusively on general trade books (fiction and non-fiction).
Walking on Eggshells by G.E de Villiers
Walking on Eggshells is a practical, down-to-earth – and entertaining! - guide to some aspects of English usage. It is aimed at the reader with an interest in the subject, whether on a professional or personal level. Additionally, it should also be of use to those who wish to improve their knowledge of language and how it works.
Book Commissioning & Acquisition by Gill Davies
Since its first publication, this essential guide to book commissioning has established itself as the one and only 'must-read' for any successful editor, and the core training text used both within publishing houses and on publishing courses worldwide.
In this new edition, Davies concentrates on the essential skills of commissioning, as well as other editorial challenges such as handling new lists following mergers and takeovers, and the demands of digital technology. New case-studies have been added which illustrate the commercial and practical problems that editors must address in today's complex and demanding marketplace.
This book remains the one text that editors must have by their side throughout their careers.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer's craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King's advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it -- fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.
If you have any suggestions to add to my list, please send them through - comment below or pop me an email.