One of my responsibilities as Publishing Assistant at Channel View is to check and respond to all the many and various emails that come into our info box every day from people all over the world. It’s an important task, as the info box is often the first point of contact for our customers. As such, it’s the first thing on my to-do list when I arrive at my desk in the morning, and I monitor it regularly throughout the working day.
All sorts of enquiries turn up in the info box, the most common being requests for inspection copies from academics looking for suitable texts for the courses they run. These arrive either directly from the individual or, more often, automatically via our website. I verify that the customer has provided the correct ISBN and check to see if their contact details are in our database (if not, I add them). I then pass on the request for action to our distributors – either Marston Book Services for the UK and the rest of the world, or the University of Toronto Press for North America. If the request is for an e-book inspection copy, I arrange for it to be sent to the customer myself on receipt of the email. This means customers often receive their e-inspection copy the same day!
We also frequently receive requests from University Disability Support Services all over the world for book formats that are accessible for visually or print impaired students. In these cases, the universities will be using our books as required texts for their students and it is the Disability Support Services’ job to obtain the e-file from us (something we are always happy to provide) for conversion into a suitable format for their students,.
Other common requests and queries include: booksellers asking for quotes; contacts wanting to be added to our mailing list or advising us of changes of address; prospective authors enquiring about the process for submitting book proposals; authors seeking to claim their author discount; questions about our website; order enquiries; and many more. I also forward some of the more specific requests (e.g. about permissions, conferences and review copies) to the appropriate person in the Channel View team – so, if you’re not sure who to send your message to, email us at info and I’ll make sure it reaches the right person!
These kinds of questions come up on a regular basis but sometimes we get more unusual enquiries. Not long ago a message popped up from a publishing company in Denmark which was just starting to venture into books on bilingualism and had been hunting for one of our titles without success. Unfortunately the book in question was published in 1995 and had been out of print for quite some time! This sent me searching through our archive, where I eventually found what they were after. We only had the one archive copy of the book, so I couldn’t send it out but, as the company only needed a specific section of the book, I offered to scan the relevant pages and create a PDF for them, thereby reaching a successful conclusion to their search! We also recently received a request from BBC Scotland to be added to our mailing list and asking for our catalogue of new titles. Not a typical customer for us, but they were on the look-out for ‘new talent and idea collaborations’ and acknowledged that this can often be found in writers and the stories and subjects that interest them. Here’s hoping for a forthcoming documentary about Channel View!
If you have any queries, great or small, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!