Following on from the conference in Shanghai (which you can read about in my blog post here), I flew up to Beijing, where I met Tommi. There, we spent a busy few days attending meetings arranged by our local Chinese sales reps, Ben, Annie and Monica of CPS. China is one of our biggest markets so it was a really valuable opportunity to meet with customers and learn more about the Chinese book market.
Our two biggest customers in China are China National Publications Import & Export Group (CNPIEC) and China Educational Publishers Import & Export Corporation Ltd. (CEPIEC). Given how similar the two names are, I have always struggled to keep them separate in my head! But now, having visited their offices and spent time getting to know each company and some of its staff individually, I have a much clearer idea of these two major customers, how their businesses work and how ours interacts with them. At the meetings we discussed matters such as the book market in China in general, import of our books to China, their customers’ preferences (paperback, hardback or ebooks) and their ebook platforms, as well as our new books and catalogues, of course!
As well as visiting booksellers, we also visited the public library in Tianjin and Beijing International Studies University Library. There, we met with acquisitions staff and were introduced to the libraries, discussed the collections that they hold and how best to serve them with information about our forthcoming books. We also learned about library budgets and buying periods and how they make their book choices. These meetings provided us with useful insights into the needs and interests of our customers, as well as enjoyable visits to Chinese libraries…I was delighted to discover that libraries smell the same the world over, that wonderful smell of exciting books waiting to be read!
This June, the third Psychology of Language Learning (PLL3) conference took place at Waseda University, Japan. Japan is one of our biggest markets and a country that we try and visit every few years in order to stay in touch with what’s happening in the Japanese academic book sector. PLL3 therefore gave me the perfect excuse to make my first trip over. As I have recently moved into my new job as Head of Sales, I am keen to learn all about the different markets in which we sell our books, how they differ and the challenges and prospects for each one. I structured my trip with the first part comprising sales meetings, and the conference making up the final (but by no means lesser!) few days.
The first part of the trip provided an ideal opportunity for me to meet our key contacts, ask zillions of questions and to get the kind of understanding of the market that it is impossible to do by email from our office in Bristol. As with several territories, we have a local Japanese rep, Koro, who looks after our key accounts on a day-to-day basis. Having been emailing Koro for the past 8 years, it was great to finally put a face and a personality to an email address. Koro arranged numerous visits for me during my stay, in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, and was a fantastic source of knowledge of the market. We also bonded over a love of music and fresh air and not panicking when we couldn’t find the right building for a meeting (Japanese maps are a complete mystery to me)!
We met with booksellers (including our biggest customers Kinokuniya, Maruzen and MHM), librarians, academics and subject specialists, in both linguistics and tourism studies. We have a number of exciting titles which were of specific interest to the contacts, most notably the forthcoming book on akogare (desire) by Japanese author Chisato Nonaka and the recently published 3rd edition of Sport Tourism Development which sparked interested because of the upcoming 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and Tokyo 2020 Olympics. As well as meetings by day, we went out for drinks and dinner with a number of our contacts, at which I learnt a lot about Japanese culture, food and alcohol!
After the sales part of my trip, I took a day off to reset my brain from sales to editorial work and to enjoy the sights of Tokyo. Sadly, it was a wet break (the rainy season had just begun), but as I had been fortunate enough to enjoy some sunshine the previous weekend, I was not too disheartened to have to spend the day browsing cookware shops on the famous Kappabashi Street and enjoying tea and cake in various tea shops when I needed a break from the torrential downpours!
The PLL conference is now in its third meeting and I am fortunate to have been able to attend all three (you can also read about previous conferences in Graz and Jyväskylä on our blog) and to see the event evolve and thrive over time. This year, Waseda University welcomed 375 delegates from both across Japan and around the world. Stephen Ryan and his colleagues and students meticulously organised and hosted a conference that both lived up to and went beyond previous editions.
Among the highlights of the gathering were the plenaries which were always packed and stimulating. Richard Ryan opened the conference with a talk on self-determination theory and Ema Ushioda ended the first day with a thought-provoking talk questioning the social purpose of academic research. The plenaries of the second day saw Mimi Bong introduce her work on achievement goals and Lourdes Ortega asked how the field of PLL can address issues of social justice. On the final morning, Jean-Marc Dewaele gave a rousing introduction to the closing speaker, Zoltan Dornyei, who focused on the topic of perseverance within the domain of motivation. The final slot is always a tough one (especially the morning after the conference dinner!) but it certainly enthused and engaged delegates who hung around in the entrance foyer long after the conference was officially over.
The conference was also a good platform for the new IAPLL association to be launched and for delegates to hear more about the benefits of membership. With the new association and another successful conference gone by, the stage is now set for the continued development of this subsection of the field and I am already looking forward to PLL4, which is due to take place in June 2020 in Canada.
Most of our bookshop sales are via specialist stores and campus bookshops, where an interested reader is most likely to be browsing. We have always managed these accounts in-house, by sending out catalogues, information sheets and book information to the relevant buyers, and they have mostly ticked along without a great deal of internal involvement. High street book sales are rare as very few of our titles would be picked off the shelves by a casual shopper.
This summer we are publishing Speaking Up by Allyson Jule which is a book about language and gender that has mainstream audience unlike most of our publications which are aimed solely at academic researchers. To reach this audience, we need to ensure that the book gets visibility outside of the academic book trade. It is clear that we would not realise the book’s full market potential if we followed our standard marketing and sales procedures for our academic titles. So, from a marketing perspective, we have enlisted the services of an external PR consultant whose experience will get coverage for the book that might not have been possible by our own efforts alone. From a sales perspective, it is obvious that bookshop presence will be key.
This sparked a discussion about whether it would be sensible for us to take on the services of an external sales force, not just for this title but for all our books. This is something that we do in territories abroad, but we have always managed local relationships ourselves. Making the decision about whether to start such a partnership was not an easy one. Obviously, there are costs involved and the work of the reps needs to bring in enough extra sales to cover the expense of working with them. We had to assess whether there was enough of a market out there that we aren’t able to reach ourselves and if we are better outsourcing efforts to target this market rather than trying to reach the readers ourselves.
On balance we felt that there is more scope for bookshop sales for our books in the UK, especially for books such as those we publish on bilingualism for parents and teachers, and that the benefits had the potential to far outweigh the arguments against. As such, we are excited to now be working with Compass Academic and to make the most of their expertise and experience in the book trade.
Compass Academic is a team of book reps who call on bookshops, library suppliers, wholesalers and internet booksellers, and maintain relationships with all the key bookselling chains. They will now be taking information about our books to their meetings and will be actively promoting them to both existing and new customers on our behalf. The team will be covering a far broader range of booksellers than we could ever manage ourselves and have longstanding relationships with many of their contacts.
Just as importantly as presenting information about our books to booksellers, Compass will also give us regular market feedback on what is happening in the UK trade market in general and news from specific booksellers. This valuable information will help us better plan our publishing program and respond to developments in the industry.
The publication of Speaking Up was certainly the spark that made us take the leap but we are hopeful that the new partnership will benefit all our publications, across both our imprints.
Last month I headed off to Chicago with Anna and Tommi for my first international trip with MM – a week of back to back conferences, starting with AAAL and ending with TESOL. After a nice, relaxing flight over, I arrived in Chicago ready to dive straight into the first day of AAAL the following morning.
On the walk to the conference hotel on the first morning, I truly understood how Chicago got its “Windy City” nickname. It was absolutely freezing! No matter which way you turned, hoping the next block would offer some shelter, the gusts coming off the lake seemed to find you. It was a relief to arrive and hunker down in basement where the exhibit hall was located.
After a fairly relaxed start, it was quite the baptism of fire when the first coffee break brought a flurry of people downstairs to the exhibit hall, and every subsequent break continued in the same vein, with all three of us scrabbling for pens, order forms and books at once. Still, it was great to see so much enthusiasm for our books and it was a really successful conference in terms of sales, with Jan Blommaert’s new book, Dialogues with Ethnography, and Translanguaging in Higher Education edited by Catherine M. Mazak and Kevin S. Carroll proving particularly popular.
It was also a really good opportunity for me to finally meet so many of the people I’ve been emailing back and forth with over the past three and a half years, and put faces to names. We were even able to spend time with a couple of our authors after the conference over dinner and had lovely meals out with Wayne Wright, and Maggie Hawkins and her son, Sam. I particularly enjoyed sampling the culinary delights Chicago has to offer, including deep dish pizza, steak and the best Brussels sprouts I have ever encountered in my life!
With AAAL over and Anna on a flight back to the UK, Tommi and I headed straight off to the convention centre where this year’s TESOL was being held. It was a totally different experience for me, having never exhibited in a convention centre before, and I couldn’t believe the sheer scale of the place. After a quiet start, our stand got busier and busier, and by the time Tommi left for home on the penultimate day, I was rushed off my feet! Again, sales were good and it was particularly pleasing to take so many preorders of Shawna Shapiro, Raichle Farrelly and Mary Jane Curry’s forthcoming book, Educating Refugee-background Students, due out in May.
It being my first time in Chicago, I took the opportunity wherever possible to see some of the sights at the end of each day at the conference. I ventured off to Millennium Park to see the famous Bean sculpture there, visited the Art Institute (where the highlight, aside from the collections of famous paintings, were the incredible Thorne Miniature Rooms) and waited in what felt like the world’s longest queue to go up the Willis Tower and try out “The Ledge”, a glass balcony that extends four feet outside the 103rd floor!
With the welcome return of Elinor Robertson to our office next month after spending a year on maternity leave, we have taken the time to have a reshuffle of some of the main responsibilities within the business, and have a look at our job titles to make sure they truly reflect the work of each team member here at Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters. With a small business it is natural that we all wear many hats, and so it is nearly impossible to get a single job title to accurately cover all aspects of each person’s work. What is more important is that when we present ourselves to our contacts outside the company, our job titles reflect the level of responsibility that we carry, so that our contacts know who to talk to about any given issue.
Elinor Robertson will be returning to her job in charge of all matters relating to marketing. As the most senior person for marketing, her new job title will be Head of Marketing. Because she will be coming back part-time, she will be passing on her role as Commissioning Editor for our series Aspects of Tourism, Aspects of Tourism Texts and Tourism Essentials to Sarah Williams so that she is better able to dedicate her time to marketing all of our books globally.
Sarah Williams will take on all commissioning for the Channel View Publications imprint, and with her job as the most senior contact for all production-related issues, her job title will be changed to Head of Production. Sarah manages our freelance production contacts and liaises with all of our suppliers, as well as setting our production strategy and quality values, so carries the responsibility for ensuring that our books are always of high quality, whether they are print books or ebook resources.
Flo McClelland, Anna Roderick and Tommi Grover will keep their current job titles as their jobs are not changing so dramatically:
Flo McClelland is our Marketing and Publishing Coordinator and runs all our social media accounts. She also works with our designers and authors on book covers and with Elinor in the marketing department on all matters relating to marketing and publicity. Flo will be coordinating the work of our incoming Publishing Intern (more to follow later) and you will also come across Flo more often at conferences in the future, so please make sure you say hello if you see her!
Anna Roderick is our Editorial Director and is in charge of editorial strategy for the business. The subject areas we publish in, and the editorial tone of the business, are a constantly-evolving work; although we naturally stay true to our core beliefs, it is important for us to branch out into new fields and it is Anna who searches out these areas and discovers the inspiration for our future publications. She also commissions everything that isn’t commissioned by someone else, and attempts to make the rest of the editorial department do their admin. Together with Tommi she is half of our board of directors, and shares the legal responsibility for the business.
Tommi Grover is Managing Director, and has day-to-day responsibility for all matters relating to finance and the legal side of running the business. He oversees the running of all departments to make sure where possible that each of the heads of departments have adequate resources and skills. Tommi will continue to attend major conferences and book fairs and has commissioning responsibility for our Linguistic Diversity and Language Rights, and CAL Series on Language Education book series.
With the start of the new year comes a whole host of opportunities to see us at conferences. Conferences are great opportunities to browse the books at your leisure, buy them at our special conference price and speak to one of the Channel View/Multilingual Matters team. We’re always happy to meet our readers and authors in person and talk about the books, publishing process or just discuss the sights of the host city!
Throughout March and April, Tommi, Anna, Laura and Flo will attend four major conferences in the USA: NABE, AAAL, TESOL and AERA. We’ll also be welcoming Elinor, our Marketing Manager, back to work after her maternity leave so March will certainly be a busy month for us all. In April, after an 8-year hiatus, Multilingual Matters will be exhibiting again at IATEFL in the UK. We’re looking forward to a ‘local’ conference and hoping for some nice spring sunshine in Brighton.
We are also making plans for PLL3 (Japan), Sociolinguistics Symposium (New Zealand) and Tourism Education Futures Conference (Finland), all three in June. The aforementioned are just a flavour of the conferences we’re set to attend in the first half of 2018 and do look out for us at a number of smaller symposia too, plus more later in the year. We hope to see you somewhere at some point this year!
Every year in April and May there is a flurry of activity in the office as royalty processing season rolls around. It’s a very busy time for Tommi, as he makes at least 500 individual payments to authors and editors. In this post he answers some of the most common questions he’s asked regarding royalty payments.
How often will I get royalty statements?
Royalty statements are sent out once a year, and are calculated on sales to March 31st. Statements are usually sent at the beginning of May, once we have collated all the sales information.
How often will I receive royalty payments?
Royalty payments are made once per year. We start to make payments as soon as royalty statements have been sent, but with hundreds of authors to pay it takes us some time to work through all of these. We aim to have all payments made by the end of July, but this is not always possible.
What methods of payment are there?
We can pay by either bank transfer, PayPal or cheque. Bank transfer is the easiest for all concerned, although in some countries this can be expensive. We can normally arrange to make payment in your local currency – please contact Tommi if you would like to discuss this.
What information do I need to provide for a bank transfer royalty payment?
The information needed for bank transfers varies from country to country. If your bank is in the UK, we simply need your sort code and account number. For European bank accounts, the IBAN number. In most other countries, if you give us your account number, sort code (or routing code), BIC/SWIFT code where possible, and the name and branch address of your bank, we should have enough information to pay you. If in any doubt at all, contact Tommi.
I have received a cheque in pounds sterling, but my bank says they cannot cash it or it is very expensive to cash. What can I do about this?
We prefer to make payment by bank transfer, and will only pay by cheque in the event that you have either chosen to be paid by cheque, or you have not informed us of your payment preferences. If the amount is too small to cash, we can set your account to only pay once it accrues over a set amount. If you would prefer to be paid by bank transfer, please send us your bank details (see above). We will cancel the cheque that you have received and make a replacement payment by transfer. We do not like to have outstanding cheques on our account, so please do not simply throw the cheque away or ignore it. Instead, please contact Tommi to discuss your options.
Why didn’t I receive a royalty payment this year?
If you received a royalty statement, but have not received a payment, please check the following:
Is there a minimum payment on your account? This would be detailed on your summary statement as “minimum payment £XX”. We do not pay very small amounts, as bank fees and administration costs would be more than the payment is worth. On older contracts the minimum payment would be set at £25, but with newer contracts it is likely £50 or even £100. We can set this as high as you like, so if bank charges are particularly high in your country, please contact Tommi to discuss this.
Is the address correct on your royalty statement? If we do not have your correct address it is possible that your payment has been sent to an old address. Please make sure you update your contact details whenever these change.
Have you changed bank accounts since your last royalty payment? Please make sure you update us whenever you change bank accounts, so that we do not pay the wrong account. If our bank informs us that your account has closed, we will attempt to contact you, but with hundreds of authors to pay, this may take us a long time!
Have we mailed your office address? If we have sent a cheque to your office, it is possible that it has either got lost in the university internal mail, or if you work from home when students are off campus, you might find the cheque in your in-tray/pigeon hole when you return for the new semester.
If none of these answers fits, please contact Tommi and we can tell you whether or not we have made payment, and if so, what method we used.
Can my royalties be paid to someone else/a charity?
Yes. You can assign your royalties to another person or, should you wish to, you can assign your royalties to a charity. All you need to do is inform us who to pay, and how best to pay them. Our preferred method is payment by bank transfer.
What happens to my royalties if I die?
We normally pay your estate, if we are given details of how to do so. If we do not have any contact details and do not know how to pay your estate, we will set your account to accrue any unpaid royalties until such a time as we are contacted. Should you wish to plan ahead and assign your royalties to a charity in the event of your death, please contact Tommi and we will make a note on your account.
Last month we headed out of the office and all the way to Eastbourne, for a visit to the UK’s largest book wholesaler, Gardners Books. Gardners stores vast numbers of books, music and film, and holds at least one copy of most of our titles in their huge warehouse, ready to be sent to various customers all over the world. We set off from Bristol nice and early, stopping for lunch on the way, and arrived in plenty of time for our meeting with Mark Smith, our contact at Gardners who looks after our account. We began by sitting down with Mark to discuss our account and be updated on what has been happening since Channel View last visited. We also discussed how Brexit has already started to affect Gardners and what it might mean for the future (although this is very difficult to predict!)
After our catch up, Mark kindly took us on a grand tour of the warehouse – filled with an unimaginable number of books! The first room had three storeys, and bookshelves that amounted overall to 6 miles! We made our way through the aisles and saw people picking book orders, which they then put onto a conveyor belt, ready to be taken to the packing room. Other rooms showed us even more books – consisting of more levels of shelves, this time kept in boxes that are collected by a huge machine and brought to the picker. It’s hard to capture through words and photos just how impressive the operation is; it really is something that has to be seen in person to take in!
It was amazing to hear some of the figures regarding how many books they hold and how many they send out on a daily basis. Gardners is the third biggest wholesaler in the world and 120,000 books leave the warehouse each day. We had hoped to spot one of our own books on the shelves, but due to the sheer size of the warehouse and volume of books stored, it would have been like finding a needle in a haystack! Mark told us that Gardners is currently in the process of a 25% warehouse expansion over the next five years, so we look forward to seeing the progress on our next visit!
Earlier this month, Anna and Laura left Bristol in the midst of a heatwave for rainy Ireland and the biennial International Symposium on Bilingualism, which was hosted this year by the University of Limerick. In this post Laura tells us what they got up to.
The theme of the International Symposium on Bilingualism conference this year was ‘Bilingualism, Multilingualism and the New Speaker’ and delegates enjoyed a packed schedule of presentations, either linked directly to the theme or to any other aspect of bilingualism and multilingualism research. Clearly the topic of the conference lies right at the heart of Multilingual Matters and we were pleased that there was plenty of interest in our books. So much so that we often had a queue of keen customers at the stand during the breaks and were very glad to have each other to share the workload.
Accompanying Jean-Marc Dewaele as other plenary speakers were Ana Deumert, Alexandre Duchêne, Elizabeth Lanza, Tina Hickey and Lisa Lim. The keynotes were all very well-attended and we were glad to be able to slip away from a quiet stand in order to hear them.
Aside from the packed academic schedule, delegates were treated to a drinks reception, Irish BBQ with traditional Irish music and dancing and a Gala Dinner, featuring a live band and welcoming dance floor. Needless to say, we returned home utterly exhausted from an excellent and enjoyable conference and already looking forward to the next one in Canada in 2019!
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.
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.