SYP AGM 2014

The Society of Young Publishers’, or SYP, AGM took place this week at the beautiful Stationer’s Hall in the heart of the city. This venue is especially fitting for the SYP as the historical Stationer’s Company can be considered the ancestors to the modern publishing business. This beautiful building dates back to 1673, when after the site burned during the Great Fire of London, the company had the opportunity to build a new and grander Hall. Throughout the centuries, new generations of Stationer’s Company have adorned the building and we felt most fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to meet in such an impressive and historically rich setting.

The Hall

The evening kicked off with our 2013 SYP Chair, Lottie Chase, giving her farewell speech rounding up what a fantastic 2013 the SYP had with a successful series of events including career speed dating, a sell out of London Book Fair seminars, the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize and the launch of the Gilbert Collection honouring Matthew Gilbert who had on his bucket list to get published before he died. Lottie gave an emotional speech about her time as chair for 2013 along with vice-chair Andrew Turner and ended with her publishing take on the poem ‘if’ by Rudyard Kipling. Lottie also said farewell to the 2013 committee and welcomed in the 2014 team including our very own Esme Richardson and Chelsea Vernon!

SYP Networking

After a quick networking break we were back to the hall for the big debate on ‘Why do people buy books?’, on the panel were Annie Eaton – Publisher at Random House Children’s Publishers, Nicolette Jones – Children’s Book Editor at The Sunday Times, Anna James – Librarian and also book blogger at Go Book Yourself, Louise Corcoran – Supervisor at Foyles, Stratford & Gareth Howard – CEO at Authoright and chaired by our 2014 Chair, Helen Youngs. The panel started off by discussing blurbs and reviews, does this affect whether someone will buy a book or not? The panel were in agreement, people generally buy books because what they’re told; for example, it’s usually if something has been recommended to them by a friend or someone they trust. Onto the subject of book blurbs, this has to be quite a considered approach for publishers as they need to be able to sell the contents of the book but not give too much away as this can put people off. For the young adult market @caseforbooks says that it is important for teenagers to have confidence that they will enjoy the book which is why that blurb is so important.

Panel Pic

One of the most interesting questions of the evening was – ‘Can you manufacture a best seller?’ Gareth Howard pointed out that this is the role of a publisher; but as Nicolette Jones highlights, it used to be enough for a publisher to run a slick marketing campaign with guaranteed results but now publishers have to come up with more creative ways of doing this. To finish off, the panel discussed Amazon – why should people pay RRP for books? Anna pays RRP for books because in all the years she has been reading, she wants good books, rather than cheap, bad books; Nicolette Howard receives a lot of free books but will still buy a lot of books from book jobs as they add value to her experience with knowledge and events. Gareth Howard disagrees, Amazon is publishers’ biggest customer, yet they criticise. Perhaps the best point of the evening in defence of RRP, is that publishers need to be trying to portray that books have an intrinsic value and worth – by selling books at huge discounts, the public begins to no longer believe they have much value.

In summary, it was a fantastic evening of thinking about yet another facet of the publishing industry, consumer behaviour. This seems to be something that is becoming more and more prevalent with each event we attend and was a noticeable theme at FutureBook this year. With all the advancements in technology, consumer data is becoming more and more accessible which will allow publishers to tailor their business to the public’s tastes.

A huge farewell to the 2013 SYP committee and welcome 2014, we’re so excited for the year ahead!

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about.  We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter

The BETT Show 2014

Last week Inspired Selection hit the Excel Centre where the much awaited BETT show was in full flow; we went to really build on our current knowledge of the education sector but also see what new and innovative ideas publishers, content providers, platform developers and other software companies are coming up with and bringing into schools to inspire our future generation.

Esme at BETT

It is such a fantastic time to be in Educational publishing and a common theme of the BETT show was how publishers are adapting and creating new products to align with the changes in curriculum; for example, within primary there was a huge focus on the new IT curriculum where children will be learning how to code from an early age. A challenge for schools is to find and support IT teachers and there have been some fantastic resources developed to do this including the launch of the computing MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) based on OCR curriculum and created by OCR, Cambridge University Press and the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Homework is another aspect of education that has been revolutionised through using software which allows teachers to set and assess assignments online. This also means schools can create a data footprint for each student and use this in their future assessment.

We saw a lot of interactive resources from SMART boards to tablets meant to engage their users and capture their attention whilst learning at the same time. Games have been absolutely revolutionary for learning allowing students to work their way through a task in order to reach an attainable goal, some great examples of this could be learning to read or practicing maths.

The Education sector is a hugely exciting place to be at the moment; publishers are constantly coming up with new great ideas for content; platform providers are coming up with new ways to interact with that content; software companies are coming up with great ideas to display content and teachers are using all these different mediums to inspire our students.

Amy at BETT

In the afternoon, we made our way to the Learn Live Theatre 2 to hear Alistair Smith, Director of Learning at Frog, and Billy Downie, Headteacher at The Streetly Academy, give an engaging talk on “Big Data: school perspectives on what, how and why?” Alistair spoke about how big data allows society to harness information in novel ways to produce useful insights and is a way of doing this on a large scale.

bett

From a school’s point of view, several interesting and informative questions can be asked – At what point in a lesson do learners switch off? Who will be bullied and when? How do friendship networks impact on exam performance? Big data is essential in determining best practice and for monitoring changes and issues. We need it in today’s world; as Alistair put it, “This is the world we are in, this is the world our children are inheriting” – we need to make it a good one and the use of big data in schools is the best way forward.

We would like to congratulate all the amazing winners at this year’s BETT Awards for their contribution to the education industry.

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about.  We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter

Are apps cannibalising or complementing publishers’ content? – LBF’s Tech Tuesday

Are apps cannibalising or complementing publishers’ content?

We’ve all heard about ‘online’ and we’ve all heard about eBooks – are they an exciting new revenue stream for publishing or are they destroying our wonderful industry? We’ve all had the debate, internally and with colleagues, and I think most of us have come to the conclusion that online publishing may take some adjusting to but does allow for innovation and for us to reach new audiences. But there is another question mark in this world of ‘digital’. Applications?

At London Book Fair ’s Tech Tuesday last week. Stuart Dredge (The Guardian), Dean Johnson (Brandwidth),  Louise Rice (Touch Press) and James Huggins (Made In Me) all told their story of how mobile / tablet applications can apply to the publishing industry. Story telling did indeed become a theme of the event as the message was clear to cast aside the idea of format and focus on the story. Whether the content is delivered in a print book, an eBook or an app, it is important that the story is of good quality and told well. Apps can enhance the way a story is told, making it an interactive and engaging experience for the reader.

Apps need to be given more attention by publishers, invested in more. They shouldn’t be, as Stuart Dredge put it, DVD extras, a second thought after the books are produced but should be in the spotlight. We could even develop a Spotify model, allowing users to share reading lists and see who else is reading your favourite book.

The engaging nature of apps means they have a lot to offer the Education market. Students can click, tap and swipe their way through course materials and study guides. While school tablets seem a forward thinking, modern concept, Louise Rice told their story as she has seen them evolve over a number of years in Australia as a fantastic one stop shop for all their textbooks. The challenge is certainly not in the technology but rather in the teachers and users as they come to understand effective ways of using the tablets.

apps-image

And this comes to the answer to our question. Apps have the power to complement the publishing industry, allowing readers to engage and experience stories in an exciting new way but (and there is a but!) if we don’t develop or use them well or if we don’t understand their value they have no chance but to be a significant expense to the publisher and a side line thought to the consumer who may turn their attention to other, more enticing applications.

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about.  We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter

A New Year at Inspired Selection

As we embark on the first month of this new year, we all have resolutions and plans. For many, this involves assessing where we are at with our careers and where we would like to go. We want to know our options and how we can utilise our existent skills but also allow ourselves those vital opportunities to develop our skillset and to learn even more. With that in mind, it is a good time to re-cap on Inspired Selection; on who we are, how we work and what we can provide for both clients and candidates in 2014.

We are a niche publishing recruitment agency specialising in sourcing the best talent in this industry and placing those candidates in the right roles. We work to brief and pride ourselves on understanding our clients and how best to add to the teams within their companies. For us, communication is key. We meet all our registered candidates face-to-face, going through their CV’s in detail and making sure we know what it is they are looking for.

Client meetings are just as important to us; there is no substitute for visiting the company offices and really getting to know the culture of each environment. Inspired Selection Consultants come from publishing backgrounds and, in many case, we have once been sitting on teams within publishing companies, thus giving us that understanding of the publishing processes and that passion for the industry.

With offices in London, Oxford and Madrid, we work across all sectors within the industry – education, academic, professional, STM and Trade. Each Consultant specialises in one or two particular sectors and with those being their focus, they work on registering the best possible candidates for a variety of different roles within those sectors and also on building on our already impressive client base, forging new relationships and expanding on our knowledge of the types of roles that are out there.

We work with our clients and candidates from the very beginning to the very end of the recruitment process, from examining the job spec in detail at the initial stages to negotiating for both sides when it comes to offer. We check in with both parties after the placement has been made to ensure that everything is running smoothly and we nurture those relationships, hoping to be able to help out again in the future.

We are publishing people working to recruit the best talent into an industry that we love. We very much look forward to meeting and working with more of you in 2014.

We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter