Summary of the presentations from the second symposium focusing on innovations in publishing on September 14th 2023.

After two successful annual symposia, we hosted another group of researchers to explore further innovations in publishing in September 2023. As last year, this symposium presented a variety of recent research exploring new approaches to publishing and aspects of innovation management.   

Topics included transparency in open access publishing, e-lending in Swedish public libraries, audio-originals, algorithmic translations, and business strategy in Afrikaans trade publishing.

The event was introduced and chaired by Dr Frania Hall, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.  

Transparency Can Make The (Open Access) Publishing World Better. Effects of the Cooperation Between Publishing Studies Research and Academic Service Institutions.

Anna Klamet, University of the Arts London, London College of Communication, UK

Open access publishing has become the politically and academically preferred way of making scholarly insights public, increasingly also in the humanities and social sciences. In reality, there is a whole range of obstacles, though, and open questions particularly for young researchers; among those obstacles are hard to understand copyright implications, a lot of production and format details, less than cooperative (mainly large) publishing houses, not yet adapted academic career paths, etc. Moreover, interests of some of the other stakeholders in the process collide in many ways when it comes to free accessibility of HSS (humanities and social sciences) publications, with reasons as well as effects e.g., with respect to funding contexts.

This presentation discusses findings from a two-year German research project called ‘AurOA – Authors and Legal Certainty for Open Access’, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Researchers, publishers, libraries, funding bodies and other actors were brought together during two workshops in May and July 2021 to discuss their wishes, problems, worries and interests for OA publishing in the HSS in Germany. The research also mapped the highly diverse publishing landscape as in the current publishing process the roles and tasks of publishers, (university) libraries, publishing service providers and authors often intertwine. The presentation summarises the different perspectives in the Open Access publishing process and looks specifically at the affordances of the German context to support Open Access publishing going forward and where visions of Open Science and Open Access collide with current market situations and contexts. This will allow for discussions around the impact of different academic as well as publishing cultures and national context on the success of Open Access policies.

 You can access the presentation slides here.

Lovers, Enemies and Friends. Scandinavian publishers’ Perception of Public Libraries in the Context of E-Lending.

Maciej Liguzinski, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway

The introduction of e-books and digital audiobooks to public libraries can be considered a moment of uncertainty, not only because of the shift from print to digital format and from collection ownership to licensing. This is also a moment when new rules and positions must be developed, negotiated, and established. Tensions between the publishers and the libraries concern, for example, the choice of a particular lending model, the pricing of titles and, probably most importantly, their availability. The publishing industry has expressed reluctance to share a generous range of titles with libraries, fearing the cannibalisation of their sales in commercial channels, which, in Scandinavia as a case study, are nowadays mainly subscription-based streaming services. The balance between the publishers’ need for market flexibility and the libraries’ need for predictability may be therefore fragile.

With the background in the empirical material comprising an interview study conducted with representatives of the major Danish, Norwegian and Swedish publishing houses and publishers’ interest organisations, I aim to explore and discuss their perception of public libraries in the context of e-lending. I will illustrate how the publishers see the public library as an institution and problematise their attitudes towards distributing e-books and e-audiobooks via non-commercial channels.

You can read a full article on the topic here.

Audio Originals: Shaping or Re-shaping Literary Works for the Audio Format 

Sara Tanderup Linkis, Lund University, Sweden

Audiobooks have become increasingly popular in recent years. Following this trend, publishers and other actors have begun to produce literary texts directly for the audio format, and/or to experiment with audio adaptations, including sound effects, music and voice dramatization in literary works. The talk will explore how the audio format transforms not only how we read, but also how we write and produce literary texts. I focus on the Scandinavian market, where the “audiobook boom” is particularly strong and where big actors, such as the streaming services Storytel, are in the front developing the format. Focusing on the case of “Storytel Originals”; texts produced by the streaming service, I examine how experiments with the audiobook format, born-audio works or audio adaptations, challenge established ideas and practices of writing, producing and marketing literature. 

You can access the presentation slides here.

Publishing Translations with Algorithms

Anna Muenchrath, Florida Institute of Technology, USA

This presentation will consider the role of algorithms as actors in the publication of literature in translation by combining a critical approach to algorithms with an analysis of the corpus of the 451 translations produced by Amazon Crossing (an imprint of Amazon Publishing and the largest translator of fiction into English in the US) between 2010–21, in comparison with the transactions produced by its four largest competitors—Dalkey Archive, New Directions, Europa Editions, and Seagull Press—in that time. This analysis compares the source language and country of selected translations, the gender of the authors, the genre of the texts, and the ratings achieved on Amazon and Goodreads across these two corpora, one selected with the aid of algorithmically processed data, and the other without. Ultimately, this presentation asks how algorithms act to shape publishing decisions.

You can read a full article on the topic here.

Positioning Afrikaans Literature Beyond Borders: Exploring a Coopetition Business Strategy

Samantha Miller, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Globalisation and an unpredictable macro-environment urge minority language publishers to reconsider business models to stay competitive. Addressing an evolving publishing landscape, a shrinking book reading market and the dominance of multinational English Language publishers, Afrikaans trade publishers specifically require innovative publishing business strategies to ensure sustainability.

One business strategy that has not been explored extensively in the publishing context is coopetition –a paradoxical theory where traditional competitors collaborate and compete simultaneously for a specific period, in order to achieve a goal and increase value. While Afrikaans trade publishers have a limited reading and book buying market, this study explores how coopetition can be applied in this context to promote Afrikaans literature outside South African borders.

In order to explore the applicability of this business strategy, the generic coopetition drivers (Ritala, Golnam and Wegmann, 2014) and the characteristics of coopetition (Bengtsson and Raza-Ullah, 2016) are used to evaluate and explore this premise. This study focuses specifically on the period of 2014-2021. The findings of three separate case studies, including two Afrikaans trade houses and the PEN Afrikaans translation fund, adds value to existing internationalising positioning strategies of minority language publishers and strengthen the sustainability of Afrikaans publishing. You can access the presentation slides here.