Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Publishing and Book Culture

Rebecca E. Lyons, Samantha J. Rayner

Introducing Publishing and Book Culture – a new series of research-focused collections of Elements on aspects of Publishing and Book Culture, published by Cambridge University Press.

Inspired by research undertaken during the 2015-17 AHRC and British Library-funded project, The Academic Book of the Future, Series Editor Dr Samantha Rayner (UCL) and Associate Editor Dr Rebecca Lyons (Bristol) are developing the series to build upon and extend some of the debates around publishing and book culture provoked by the project.

The new series is also intended to fill the demand for easily accessible, quality texts available for teaching and research in publishing and related disciplines. Debates and practice in publishing and related areas shift rapidly, so the fast production turnaround of Elements (twelve weeks from peer review to publication) means that Cambridge University Press made a natural home for a series of books centred on this developing field and related areas.

The Elements in the series will be grouped under thematic areas, or ‘Gatherings’. A Gathering typically consists of at least three Elements (each being 20k – 30k words), which complement each other by topic. The first three Gatherings will be:

  • Children’s Publishing
  • Publishing the Canon
  • Academic Publishing

Each is directed by a different academic editor – with the first three under the care of Prof. Eugene Giddens (Anglia Ruskin), Dr. Leah Tether (Bristol), and Prof. Jane Winters (SAS), respectively.

Other Gatherings currently underway include Young Adult Publishing (Editor: Dr. Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, UCL), and Bookshops and Bookselling (Dr. Eben Muse, Bangor). All of these subjects are cross-disciplinary in nature, and it is hoped that connected communities beyond academia, including publishing, bookselling, libraries, and others will be involved in the writing and reading of the series, encouraged and supported by an Advisory Board with members from all of these communities.

The series will be launching in October 2018 with its first Element Picture-Book Professors: Academia and Children’s Literature, by Prof. Melissa Terras (Edinburgh), under the Children’s Publishing strand. This important study assesses depictions of professors in children’s literature, considering aspects such as race, age, and gender to examine stereotypes of intellectual expertise in children’s media.

The series is also conceived as its own research-in-practice project, investigating different possibilities with regard to commissioning, publishing, producing, and consuming academic works. Each title can also be augmented by additional online materials, housed on Cambridge Core, and it is hoped that these paratexts will offer new and interesting ways of presenting and ‘reading’ academic books. The editors liaise closely with the team at CUP, led by Bethany Thomas, and the collaboration has already resulted in productive explorations of working practices and principles. It is hoped that this new series on Publishing and Book Culture, published by the world’s oldest university press, will show the ongoing innovative and adaptive capabilities of academic publishers, and underline the valuable part they play in creating, validating and conserving the scholarly record.

Please get in touch with your ideas for themes, or individual books: the editors are especially interested in enquiries about proposals that would fit under the theme of Women and Book Culture, which is being commissioned in 2018 to celebrate the centenary of women’s (partial) suffrage in the UK. Contact [email protected] and [email protected] with any questions or for an informal discussion about your publishing plans with Elements.


To find out more about Publishing and Book Culture please click here


About The Authors

Rebecca E. Lyons

Rebecca Lyons is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Bristol, where she recently completed a PhD on Women Readers in the Fifteenth Century; she is also an experienced editor, an...

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Samantha J. Rayner

Samantha Rayner is a Reader in UCL’s Dept of Information Studies. She is also Director of UCL’s Centre for Publishing, co-Director of the Bloomsbury CHAPTER (Communication His...

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