Why do we publish some of our books in hardback only?

9 May 2017

As a small, independent publisher we are fortunate that most of our publishing decisions can come from the heart (‘do I like this book?’ ‘is it important?’ ‘is it new?’) rather than the head (‘will it make money for our shareholders?’ ‘will it help me hit targets?’). However one of the downsides of being such a small operation is that our margins for error are not huge, and when things go wrong, or the market takes a downturn, we don’t have a large university or a multinational conglomerate to cushion us: we stand or fall by the quality of the books we’ve published recently and the number of people prepared to buy them.

Laura, Anna and Tommi at AAAL selling all our books, both paperbacks AND hardbacks, at the same discount price

Until relatively recently we were unusual in publishing virtually all of our books in both paperback and hardback, with the paperbacks appearing at the same time as the hardbacks. If money were no object this is undoubtedly how we would choose to publish our books: making quality research widely available is why we do what we do, and publishing any other way is a wrench for us. I hate telling authors that they aren’t getting a paperback of their books, and none of us like to stand behind a conference table and hear how students can’t afford to buy our books. There’s little joy in publishing if your audience is small and getting smaller.

But about 18 months ago we were hit by the perfect storm of the continuing effects of the financial crisis on both library and individual budgets, increasing costs, and library ebook deals which meant that we were often receiving a tiny percentage of the income we did 10 years ago for providing the same product. In effect, large numbers of our books were no longer selling enough to cover our costs in producing them, let alone make us a profit. We were faced with a decision: do we throw our hands up, accept that there is no longer a role for independent academic publishers, and go and do something else? Or do we make changes to ensure that most of the books we publish at least pay their own way? And it’s sad but true that it’s easier for us to cover our costs on a book where we sell 80 hardback copies than where we sell 30 hardbacks and 100 paperbacks.

We recognise that this means we are producing books that are unaffordable for some people who might want to buy them – what do we do to try and make our books as affordable as we can?

  • We still publish over half our titles in paperback and hardback simultaneously.
  • We offer many and varied discounts and promotions. Anyone who has ever written for us is entitled to a permanent 50% discount on everything we publish.
  • When only a hardback is available, we price the ebook as if there were a paperback – not all publishers do this.
  • We offer substantial discounts at conferences, bigger than those of most of our competitors.
  • We review all of our books 6 months after publication and if sales of either the hardback or the ebook suggest that there might be a bigger market than we anticipated, we produce a paperback. We also take into account feedback from readers, librarians and our sales reps: if enough people are asking for a paperback, we produce one.
  • We keep prices down on our most popular books, rather than charging as much as we could for books that readers have to buy for courses or to keep their own work up-to-date.

Some recent titles originally published in hardback only that we’ve decided to bring out in paperback

As an author, you can give your book the best possible chance of being published in paperback by keeping the widest possible (realistic!) audience in mind when writing – might your research be of interest to teachers, policy-makers, parents? Are you writing to make your research accessible to scholars from other disciplines? Are you linking your research to wider debates so it will be of interest to readers not specifically working in your particular research context? When the book is written, let us know if there are specific courses that might use your book. And after the book is published, pass on feedback to us – if people are asking you for a paperback, tell them to ask us.

We’re always very happy to discuss any ideas our authors and customers might have for making our books more affordably or widely available. Please get in touch with me if you have any thoughts! Every decision to publish a book in hardback only is accompanied by a good deal of soul-searching in the CVP/MM office, but I do believe that if we are to continue to publish important books, to innovate and lead the field, and to be a small force for good in the world, we do sometimes have to take hard decisions.

Anna

If you have any thoughts about this blog post, please do get in touch with us at info@channelviewpublications.com.


The Power of the Nonverbal in Communication – Part 1

14 March 2017

This month we published Optimizing Language Learners’ Nonverbal Behavior by Tammy Gregersen and Peter D. MacIntyre. In the first of a two-part blog post, Tammy and Peter explain what inspired them to write a book about nonverbal communication.

Optimizing Language Learners’ Nonverbal BehaviorReaders may ask themselves why two people who have dedicated much of their academic careers to language-related issues would suddenly write a book on communicating without language – or at least making meaning through means that accompany the verbal. In the paragraphs that follow, we tell our stories…

Tammy’s saga:

Long before I ever read literature on Emotional or Interpersonal Intelligence, I anecdotally surmised that those individuals who had “people smarts” simply were those people who could read others’ nonverbals. They could make the initial acquaintance of a person and within milliseconds of their interaction, these people-savvy folks were able to pick up the other’s vibes and effectively act accordingly. Whether through conscious inspection or subconscious osmosis, I knew in my gut that such mind-and-body-language readers were gifted with the instantaneous interpretation of the bombardment of nonverbal cues that characterize all human interaction. I was hooked, and my curiosity about this phenomenon propelled me to investigate it further.

But now I get ahead of myself…my nonverbal intrigue actually started long before I could even process the simplest of thoughts. It began with my relationship with my dad – which means within hours of being born. If you read the Dedication Page of Optimizing Language Learners’ Nonverbal Behavior, I used this opportunity to honor my father. It says in part, “To my father, F. Neal Gregersen, who, had it not been for his characteristic silence, I would never have understood the awesome power of nonverbal communication.” You see, my dad is a man of very few words, so if one wants to have a verbal conversation, it often turns into a monologue. However, one would be gravely mistaken to think that he doesn’t communicate. Although he doesn’t often use language, those of us who know him well only need to see the smallest change in his demeanor to know exactly what he is thinking. As I was growing up, his only means of discipline was what the five of us kids deemed, “The Look”.  Whenever we were the recipients of it, we immediately shaped up. Hence, I understood early in my life the immense power of nonverbal cues and I wanted to know more. That was then and this is now….

Peter’s journey:

It was my first semester at university, one of our assignments was to do a review of a research paper. I chose a paper by Professor Nancy Henley on ways in which nonverbal communication relates to interpersonal power – the doctor touches the patient and not the other way around because the doctor is in a position of power. It was nothing short of a revelation! Other examples in Henley’s work brought to light the complexity of everyday communication. At the time I was taking courses in Psychology and Interpersonal Communication, and Henley’s work forged such a fascinating bridge between the disciplines, I’ve been hooked ever since. It is powerful to realize that I was a full and active participant in a process that had never been explained overtly, but I knew the rules – everybody knows the rules. I wondered, how is that possible?

I am sure many readers of this blog have had a similar experience in doing research on a topic – a process that is right in front of you is explained in a new way. But there is something unique about nonverbal communication, it is so ubiquitous and so effective in conveying information, yet it seems so natural. When we then add the idea of language and culture into the mix, and that sometimes people in different places have different ways of doing things, nonverbal communication becomes all the more interesting.

Like Tammy, I am dedicating this book to people who taught me a lot about nonverbal communication, my teachers and especially my mother. Unlike Tammy’s dad, my mom had no trouble with verbal communication, but for her the message was all in the tone of voice. I can vividly recall when I said that I didn’t want to do some chore, she would say “never mind.” By conventional definition, the words said I was off the hook but the unmistakable tone meant I had better get to it.

We hope that people will enjoy reading the book as much as we did writing it. Please be sure to check out the videos that demonstrate nonverbal concepts. Videos are embedded in the ebook and available on the web for the printed book. The videos were great fun to produce and add a unique dimension to this book – more on that in another blog entry…

Capitalizing on Language Learners' IndividualityPositive Psychology in SLAFor more information about this book, please see our website. The videos that accompany the book can be found on our YouTube channel. If you found this interesting, you might like the other books Tammy and Peter have published with us, Capitalizing on Language Learners’ Individuality and Positive Psychology in SLA (co-edited with Sarah Mercer). Watch this space for Part 2…


Small Yet International: Our Books Travel the World

14 December 2016

We describe ourselves as a small, international, independent academic publisher. Being small, it may seem like also being international would be very difficult. In fact, for us that’s certainly not the case. As you can read in previous blog posts, our authors come from right around the world. In fact since that post was written in 2011 the list of countries our authors come from has continued to grow and in this year alone we have published books based on research in countries and regions as diverse as the Arctic, Bosnia and China (and could probably make a good stab at completing the rest of the alphabet too!).

We travel a lot and ensure that our books are seen by people all over the world. Our conference and travel schedules are always packed and we make an effort to attend not only big conferences but also smaller, local ones where we can. We do our best to make our books both accessible and affordable to anyone interested in them and this is reflected in our sales figures. We thought it might be interesting to share information about the international reach of our print books with our blog readers.

Last year, our books made it straight from our warehouse to 74 countries of the world, and possibly even more as we cannot trace what happens to books which go through our two biggest UK customers, the wholesalers Gardners and Bertrams. Because of the size of these wholesalers the top 10 countries list is a little skewed as we know that, while the UK is at the top, this is not because our books are being picked up by many readers in Britain but rather, they are being sold on to bookshops around the globe. The same goes for our North American sales, but to a slightly lesser extent. With that in mind, this chart shows the top ten countries, in terms of the number of individual books bought from us over the past 12 months.

Top 10 countries (units sold)

Top 10 countries (units sold)

In part this list reflects the hard work of our reps who promote our titles to their local customers. We have reps working in our bigger markets, such as China and Japan, as well as covering smaller nations such as those of the Caribbean. We meet with our reps at least annually at the Frankfurt Book Fair and make occasional visits to see them in their territories. You can read more about the work of our reps in a post written by Andrew White who represents us in Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.

For customers for whom a print book is too expensive or difficult to obtain, we ensure that the option of purchasing an ebook is a possibility. All our new titles are published simultaneously as consumer ebooks and always at a much lower price. We have put a big effort into making our back catalogue also available as ebooks and are always happy to take requests if there is something that a reader wants that isn’t yet online – just send us an email and we’ll do our best to arrange it.

Laura


A-Z of Publishing: E is for…

15 June 2015

E is for EbooksE is for Ebooks. All our new titles are published simultaneously in print and as ebooks. Our ebooks are usually roughly half the price of our print books and so we hope that those who are unable to purchase a printed copy of the work may be able to access an ebook. As well as being for sale on our own website, our ebooks are also available for the Amazon Kindle, on Apple’s iBookstore, through Google Play and a variety of other vendors such as ebooks.com, kobobooks.com and nook.com. For more information go to the Ebooks page on our website.

This post is part of our ‘A-Z of Publishing’ series which we will be posting every Monday throughout the rest of 2015. You can search the blog for the rest of the series or subscribe to the blog to receive an email as soon as the next post is published by using the links on the right of the page.


Get an ebook for £1.49 if you’ve already bought the printed version!

28 April 2015

Channel View has just partnered with BitLit! BitLit allows customers who have already bought the print edition of one of our books to buy the ebook for only £1.49. We’re really excited to offer our readers a way to access the content they’ve purchased in different formats. How BitLit works:

(1) Download the BitLit app on your smartphone (App store for iPhones, Google Play store for Android).

Shelfie!

Shelfie!

(2) Take a ‘shelfie’ of your bookshelf (see example of my shelfie).

(3) Based on your shelfie, BitLit will let you know which books are available to download.

Copyright page example

Copyright page example

(4) Once you know it’s available take a photo of the cover of your book and sign your name on the copyright page (normally p. iv in our books) in ALL CAPS.

(5) Your ebook will be delivered to you via email. From there you can download it to any of your devices.

If you give this a try we’d love to hear about your experience using the BitLit app and please feel free to send in your shelfies to info@channelviewpublications.com!


60% off all ebooks in July

1 July 2014

We are offering a special 60% discount off all Multilingual Matters / Channel View Publications ebooks for the month of July.

Just go to the ebook page on our website and enter the code JULY60 when you get to the checkout.

We hope that you enjoy this special offer. Please feel free to pass this on to your colleagues.

Please email info@multilingual-matters.com for further information or if you have any problems.

Logos combined


New ebook initiative!

17 June 2014

We have recently launched our latest ebook initiative, which aims to give customers greater flexibility in terms of where and how they can read our books.  Tucked inside the paperback copy of each of the books involved in the trial is a special bookmark.  This bookmark has a code printed on it which, when redeemed in the ebook section of our website, enables the owner of the paperback to buy a copy of the ebook at a fraction of its usual price – the discount is 80 or 90%!

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

The idea behind this initiative is that many of our readers have told us that they much prefer a printed copy of the book for everyday use.  However, sometimes, perhaps when away at a conference, our readers desperately want to quickly check something in a book, which they know they have on their bookshelf at home but didn’t bring with them. We are hoping that this will really help out in such instances by enabling cheap access to an already owned book from anywhere in the world.

The books involved in the trial are:

So look out for a special bookmark if you buy a copy of these paperbacks and do let us know if you think this is a good idea.  If it is successful we may well roll it out onto all our paperbacks in the future – watch this space!


60% off all ebooks in December

6 December 2013

We are offering a special 60% discount off all Multilingual Matters / Channel View Publications ebooks for the month of December.

Just go to the ebook page on our website and enter the code DEC60 when you get to the checkout.

We hope that you enjoy this festive offer. Please feel free to pass this on to your colleagues.

Please email info@multilingual-matters.com for further information or if you have any problems.

Logos combined


Frankfurt Book Fair 2013

30 October 2013
Sarah, Laura and Tommi on the ferry to the Netherlands

Sarah, Laura and Tommi on the ferry to the Netherlands

For many people in the book trade, October is almost synonymous with the Frankfurt Book Fair and it is no different for Channel View/Multilingual Matters.  For us, the only change this year was that Tommi, Sarah and I decided that we would drive to the fair as we wanted to see some of Europe, rather than fly straight to Germany as usual.  On our way to Germany we visited the site of the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium and had lunch in Luxembourg City before finally arriving in Boppard, a small town approximately 75 miles west of Frankfurt where we stayed a couple of nights.

The view towards the Moselle from our hike

The view towards the Moselle from our hike

We spent a day hiking in the hills between the Moselle and Rhine Valleys which was beautiful, especially as the trees were just beginning to change colour.  We walked about 12 miles and although Tommi had sensibly chosen paths that were mainly downhill (!) Sarah and I were still extremely tired afterwards – perhaps not the best preparation for a busy week of work!  It took a traditional German dinner, good night’s sleep and excellent breakfast before we’d recovered enough to drive across to Frankfurt where we met Elinor ready for the start of the book fair.

Laura, Elinor and Sarah having lunch at the Frankfurt Book Fair

Laura, Elinor and Sarah having lunch at the Frankfurt Book Fair

The fair provides us with an annual opportunity to meet and discuss business with others working in the industry.  Tommi and Elinor meet with our sales reps who sell our books in less directly accessible markets, such as India, China, Japan and Southeast Asia and distributors and wholesalers who make sure that our books get to our customers, and that our customers know of our books.  Sarah meets with those involved in the production side of the industry, such as printers and typesetters, as well as an increasing number of people working on digital projects who she may collaborate with on ebooks and related matter.  Finally, I meet with representatives from foreign publishing houses who are interested in buying the translation rights to our titles for publication in languages other than English.

In between meetings we nibbled our usual selection of German snacks (we’re big fans of Rittersport and Gummi bears) and made the most of the sausages and schnitzel available for lunch!  We spent the evenings sampling yet more traditional German food and we enjoyed the annual drinks reception held by the Independent Publishers Guild, which we are members of.  As ever, we made the most of the opportunities that the fair offers us to meet colleagues from around the world; talk about what’s happening in the industry and discuss future projects and partnerships.  We have all made it safely back to the office and it won’t be long before it’s time to think about next year’s trip!

Laura


Why aren’t ebooks free?

20 March 2013
Kobo, ebooks.com, amazon kindle, google books, nook, ebooks, ingram, myilibrary, academic pub, dawson, ebook library, ebrary

Our ebook vendors

Since we started publishing ebooks for library platforms back in 1999, we’ve often pondered on what the correct pricing for ebooks should be. In 2011 we started publishing each new book, and a large number of backlist titles, on all major consumer ebook platforms (like Amazon Kindle, Apple iBookstore, Google Play, Kobo, Nook, Ebooks.com and many independent ebooksellers) and the question of pricing has come up again. We are often asked “why aren’t your ebooks free, or extremely cheap, given that they cost nothing to produce?”  and so, in this post, I’ll outline why we price them like we do.

While we don’t have print, warehousing or shipping costs for ebook sales, these are only a small number of the total costs in book publishing. The majority of the costs in producing an academic book come from the huge investment of time and resources that the publisher, the author, and the academic series editors have put into a book. For example, this month we proudly published “Language Planning and Policy in Native America”, a book which we first started discussing with the author over 12 years ago. During that time, the manuscript has undergone several reviews, and many revisions, with the knowledge that we would not start to receive any income until the book was finally published. As a responsible academic publisher we are committed to not publishing books until they are fully and rigorously reviewed and revised so that they are not only factually accurate but as easy to read and as well-structured as possible to enable the reader to get the most out of the book. Anybody that has ever read an unedited self-published volume will be able to tell the difference that an experienced and careful review and editing process brings to a book project.

Sarah, our production manager, checking proofs in the office

Sarah, our production manager, checking proofs in the office

During the development time we still have to pay the office rent and the salaries of those members of staff working on the book. The author and academic series editors are not paid a penny for their work until the book is published and starts to earn royalties. We always pay our authors and editors a percentage of all income earned by the book, whether we as a publisher have covered our costs or not, and these are the cheques that we have the most pleasure in sending out. If we are sending our authors a large royalty cheque, it means a job well done.

Once a book goes into production, we work with our copy-editors and typesetters to ensure that typographical errors are corrected and that the files are laid out in a way that makes the book readable on the variety of different devices and systems that our customers use to access our ebooks. We continue to research developments in the ebook publishing arena, and make sure that our company is ready to respond to new developments as and when a reliable industry wide solution is made available. We pride ourselves in being among the early adopters of most new publishing strategies.

Govinda, our Indian Rep, at the World Book Fair in New Delhi

Govinda, our Indian Rep, at the World Book Fair in New Delhi

The cost to the publisher doesn’t stop on publication. We support all of our books with marketing mailings, email announcements, displays at conferences, review copies and so on. Furthermore, we regularly visit our international library bookselling partners and meet with our international reps to make sure that our publication information is available to top research libraries and customers around the world. Although it is easy these days to make a book available on the internet, or in a library database, we believe that each individual title deserves specific publicity to make sure that it is not only available, but also, that the people who would benefit the most from that research are made aware of it. This takes time, expertise, and funding.

What people sometimes don’t realise is that not all of what the customer pays for a book is passed on to the publisher. Therefore, each time we sell an ebook, our bookselling partners take a portion of the income and pay us after taking off the discount that we give them. The work that booksellers and library suppliers do on behalf of their customers does not come for free, and neither should it.

Another cost to the publisher is monitoring file sharing sites and illegal pirate copies of the work, which we do on behalf of our authors to ensure that their work is not read without them receiving reward for their hard work. File-sharing sites might seem idealistic, but the owner and host of that site may well be receiving valuable advertising revenue, driven by the amount of traffic that visits their site. So they are getting paid, while the people who have spent years creating the content are not. As soon as we discover our content on these sites, we write to them requesting that they stop illegally sharing material that belongs to somebody else.

Tommi at the TESOL conference

Tommi at the TESOL conference

As a publisher we believe in supporting the main associations in our fields, whether that is by regular conference attendance by senior staff at the CAUTHE conference, annual top level sponsorship of AAAL, or long term grant projects like the Multilingual Matters-AILA Library Award and Multilingual Matters-AILA Solidarity Award. We strongly believe in contributing towards the future development of the fields in which we work, and although we don’t tie the costs of these sponsorships to individual book or ebook publications, this is where the money comes from.

Given all the time, effort and expense that go into running a truly international, responsible academic publishing company, surely the real question is “why should an ebook be free?”

Tommi


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