On 13 November, I attended the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG) Autumn Conference in London. Meeting lots of other independent publishers made me feel very proud of UWP’s membership of the IPG, and it was very inspiring to hear the achievements of other independents – some run by a grand total of one person!
The day began with an opportunity to network in the beautiful Great Room of the RSA’s headquarters – an especially fitting location, as the walls were decorated with a mural depicting the progress of human knowledge over the centuries. Here I had the chance to meet and learn from a variety of people: colleagues from Klopotek, who are behind our exciting re-launch of our royalties system; friends from other university presses; and new acquaintances, from independent presses and start-ups specialising in military history, literary translation and environmental science.
The first session constituted the keynote of the conference. Delivered by Nicholas Lovell, this focused on applying the business model of ‘the Curve’ to the production and marketing of books. It was interesting to hear Lovell talk about his ideas, and his perspective from outside the publishing industry made for a refreshingly different way of seeing how we operate – and how these operations can be improved.
Next up was a talk on how the distribution and dissemination of scholarly content can be streamlined. This was followed by a presentation showcasing how disabled students can benefit from enhanced e-textbooks in higher education courses, allowing equal participation for all.
Afterwards, it was back to school for some lessons in social media. The take-home message was that publishers should support authors in sharing their research with readers – a particularly important aspect of meeting the impact requirements for REF. The results of such sharing can be very rewarding: a Tweet with a link to your research or a blog describing your recent activities can help shape new directions and collaborations for your work.
The day closed with a seminar on the potential of video in education and an update on the current state of the academic libraries market, before a final reception with all the delegates. I returned to UWP with an increased understanding of the new approaches and technology available to further scholarly communication, and a renewed sense of pride in working with a publisher that can count itself under the umbrella of the wonderful IPG.