A Career in Publishing…?

This year marks 35 years since we published our first book. Naturally, this has got us all feeling a bit reflective, and in this post we wanted to share how each of us ended up working at CVP/MM, from Tommi’s story that arguably began at the age of 6(!), to Alice who joined us at the beginning of this year.

Tommi

Celebrating Tommi becoming Managing Director

We’ve told the reasons behind the founding of Multilingual Matters several times before, so I won’t go into those details. I have always done some work for the company, whether it was helping to stick labels onto envelopes aged 6, or processing subscription renewals and sales after school aged 15 to earn a bit of pocket money, so the family business was very familiar to me and I was always interested in how the business of publishing books actually worked. On finishing my literature degree at Essex University, I knew I wanted to work in the book trade. I also knew that I didn’t want to work for the family business as that might feel too much like pressure. My parents were also adamant that they did not want to employ their children, for much the same reasons, they did not want us to feel like we were being pressured into the business. As I was living in Colchester at the time, I would often meet Dad at the Independent Publishers Guild monthly seminars in London. It was a nice chance for us to catch up, and for me to learn a bit more about independent publishing. After one of these monthly meetings Dad and I went for a drink in the pub close to the meeting rooms. It was clear that they were looking to recruit someone, and I was still looking for work myself. We avoided the subject for the first few drinks, and after the third drink one of us floated the idea of me coming to work for the family business…we were both a little sceptical as to whether we could actually work together without constant argument or worse, but agreed to give it a go for 6 months and then have a family meeting to decide whether or not it was a good idea…we never got around to having that meeting!

Sarah

Sarah (second from right) in an early staff photo taken in Clevedon

Why it’s Useful to Know More than One Sarah Williams

I am actually a Multilingual Matters’ reject! On a snowy spring day in 2001 I arrived for what turned out to be my first interview with Marjukka, Ken and Mike. I felt I had made a good impression but was concerned that my lack of a coat (it was April and I had a suit jacket?? 😃) and bus timetable may have counted against me! I was disappointed to learn that I’d narrowly missed out on the job. This left me to carry on at my government office job. I also moved house and changed telephone number shortly afterwards.
In the summer of 2002 MM/CVP had another opening but no way of getting in contact with me. Around this time I bumped into the other Sarah Williams from the government office in the supermarket (she lived on the same road, had the same middle name and her sister was also called Catherine). She told me that some place ‘possibly beginning with M’ were trying to get hold of me about a job. I called the MM office, spoke to Marjukka and the rest is history! 😃

Anna

Anna (far right) on her first day in the office

I have always loved books, so a career in publishing should have been an obvious choice. However, in idiotic early-20s fashion I thought it was a bit of a cliché for someone with an English degree and so I loftily avoided all the publishers at the university careers fair (I have no idea what else I imagined I might do!) I met my partner at University and as he was staying on do a PhD, my main concern was to find a job that allowed me to stay in Bristol. Being utterly unqualified for and uninterested in the main Bristol industries of finance and engineering, I applied for every job in the local paper that I thought might have me, including training as a librarian at UWE and setting the crosswords for the Bristol Evening Post. One of those jobs, and in fact the only one to even ask me for interview, was journal editorial assistant at Multilingual Matters. I made my way out to Clevedon on the bus, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Laura

Laura’s first office photo shoot

Coming from a very rural area, options for graduate level work experience were severely limited, and I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when I left university. One day, I was sitting in the university library completing the references section on an essay, when the place Clevedon caught my eye. I had a feeling that Clevedon might be near Bristol, just about a commutable distance from my home. I looked up the company Multilingual Matters and promptly wrote to Tommi, asking if there were any work experience possibilities. I was immediately (and politely!) turned down flat – the company was too small and they didn’t need any extra help. A couple of months later, out of the blue came another email saying that they’d reconsidered and might be willing to have an intern. Naturally, I jumped at the chance and spent 2 months over the summer doing the work experience, as well as commuting 4 hours each day to get there and working evenings and weekends in a pub! I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the office, learnt a great deal and headed back to university with an interest in publishing and new skills, but also the knowledge that my placement wouldn’t lead to employment as the company was too small. The following February, as I was back in the library, another email from Tommi popped up. This one had the title “An Enquiry” which I thought sounded quite ominous and deduced that they were trying to sort out some mistake I’d made back in the summer! Luckily for me it contained a job offer, which I didn’t need to think long about accepting. I went down to the lobby to call my mum and stood next to the machine where users return books. On top of the stack of returned books was one of ours, Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, which I’ve always thought as a very strange but good sign!

Flo

Flo’s first London Book Fair

I had just graduated with a degree in French and Russian and not quite knowing what to do with myself, I decided to move to France. I found a job teaching English to adults, got a CELTA qualification and lived there for two years. But I missed Bristol and eventually started to think about coming home and what I could do once I got there. Although I had enjoyed it, teaching wasn’t quite the right fit for me, so I began to think of other options – casting around for ideas, publishing was something I kept coming back to. Once back in Bristol, I did some work experience with a literary agent, but I was doubtful that there would be many opportunities in publishing for me in my hometown, having heard that ‘all publishing was in London’. Then one day my mum, an avid Googler, came across Channel View’s website. I sent Tommi a speculative email, not knowing that there did actually happen to be a (rare!) vacancy for an internship at exactly that time. To my surprise and delight, I was invited to come in for an interview and a couple of days later I was in the supermarket when I got an email offering me the internship. That was over three years ago now – time has flown!

Alice

Alice’s first week in the office

I graduated from the University of Bristol just over two years ago, with a degree in History. Following my graduation I decided that I couldn’t leave lovely Bristol so stuck around and considered what I’d like to do job-wise. I had publishing in mind but couldn’t find anything that suited, so for the first year I tried a few different odd jobs – working in a pet shop, as well as for The Green Register (a not-for-profit organisation who promote sustainable building) and volunteering for a number of charities, before finally moving to London to give marketing a try. After a 3 month internship I headed off to India and then came back to Bristol with a fresh head. This time I was lucky – in my search for academic publishing roles I came across Multilingual Matters… I applied and got the position! I was particularly drawn to the small size of the company and the topics of publication, as I’d just begun a TEFL course. First impressions told me I’d come to the right place, with lots of quirky questions, tea, biscuits and entertaining playlists.

Just How Big is The Frankfurt Book Fair?!

Tommi and Laura at Frankfurt Book Fair 2017

Every year we attend the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, which we’ve mentioned in numerous blog posts in the past. The book fair always follows the same format with meetings often with the same people and in the same regular time-slots. It often feels like déjà vu and all that changes each year is the books we present and everyone looking slightly older than last year! Even the halls look exactly as the year before, as publishers usually take the same stands in the same halls.

One thing that we always struggle to do is describe to people who’ve never attended the fair exactly what these halls are like and just how big and busy the fair is. In numbers, the fair welcomes over 7,000 publishers and over a quarter of a million visitors, but it’s hard even from those figures to quite grasp its size. Only when you are hurrying from meeting to meeting down aisles and aisles of stands do you really get a feel for it!

This year we had the brainwave of making a video to show the sheer scale of the fair to those who’ve never attended. Tommi and I spent every spare moment between meetings and the quieter weekend days filming the aisles of the book fair to try and capture what it is like. We reckon that we walked over 15km within the fair and edited nearly 3 hours of footage to create a snapshot of it! If you’re interested, the resultant video can be found on our YouTube channel here.

Laura

CVP/MM Summer Holiday Roundup

The nights are drawing in and autumn has officially arrived, but before we say goodbye to summer altogether, here’s a look back at what the CVP/MM team each got up to on their summer holidays…

Tommi

I spent a month in Finland and spent most of that time offline, especially wonderful in places like this where I could be on my own and not even see other hikers, and enjoy the quiet and the mysterious sounds of nature…

 

Laura

This photo was taken late in the evening in Spain, when it was still over 30 degrees. By day we found it too hot to do anything but swim and read – a perfect way to spend a week and I came back feeling completely relaxed!

 

Sarah

I return to my hometown of Dawlish every year for carnival week and during a walk this year I found the perfect road name nearby! Sadly I think houses on this road might be out of my price range!

 

Alice

This summer I’ve been making the most of the ‘glorious’ British weather by heading out on a number of camping trips. My favourite one involved borrowing a campervan and driving down to Megavissey in Cornwall, where I swam in the sea and ate lots of pasties!

 

Anna

Here’s a photo of me bodyboarding with my elder daughter Alys in the (very cold) sea in Pembrokeshire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flo

I went to Lisbon for my holiday this year, where I spent most of my time exploring the narrow streets of the historic quarter and eating Portuguese custard tarts. Here’s a picture of me taken just before sunset at the Castelo de São Jorge, which sits on top of a hill and offers one of the best views of the city.

Behind the Scenes… Marketing Your Book

Every month Laura and I sit down together to have a marketing meeting where we discuss books that are currently in production, are about to be published or have just been published. This is a chance for us to outline a bespoke marketing plan for each book and check up on its progress at key points throughout the publication process.

Shortly after a book goes into production, we have an initial meeting about it, in which we take a look at the documents filled out by the author and the commissioning editor (this is when the Author Questionnaire comes into its own!) and devise a personalised marketing plan for it. The commissioning editor will have pointed out the book’s unique features and flagged up anything else that might help us to market the book (does its publication coincide with a relevant day, e.g. World Heritage Day or is there a particular news story that ties in with the book’s content?)

The AQ is another source of valuable information to us at this point, as it contains details of relevant conferences, journals, blogs, newspapers, magazines and organisations that we can contact to spread news of the book’s publication. If you have any specific contacts, like a journalist for example, make sure you include this on your AQ, as it can be a challenge to successfully make contact with newspapers or magazines without one. In the past, the books which have had the most exposure have been the ones whose authors have given us plenty of ideas for publicising the book and have put us in touch with relevant people who will help to spread the word. When it comes to the media, local contacts should not be underestimated. It’s often local papers and magazines that will be most receptive to being contacted and – particularly if your book is of local interest – more likely to want to feature a piece about it. If you’re able to establish contact prior to the publication of your book, it will be easier for us to go back and notify them once the book comes out.

Our two Twitter pages on which we post tweets about books

At the end of the initial meeting, we outline a plan for the book and assign tasks to each of us. I deal with all the social media promotion (including arranging blog posts, publicising the book on Twitter and Facebook, posting any accompanying videos on our YouTube channel etc.), as well as contacting any media and organisations we think might be interested. This could be anything from print newspapers and magazines to blogs and online publications, as well as specific organisations with mailing lists who may be able to share publication news with their members. Meanwhile Laura takes care of areas such as conferences, book prizes and production of marketing materials like flyers.

Shortly before publication, we meet to discuss our progress. This interim meeting is more of a check-up meeting than an action one as we make sure that we have everything prepared ready to launch on publication. The timing of marketing can be key so it is important that we are all set in time for the book’s release. We might do things such as make sure that we have asked the author to write a piece for our blog, written a press release ready to send out on publication or made a list of suitable journals to offer the book to for review.

Finally, once a book is published we meet to discuss what we have done, what was successful and what was less so. We record all our efforts and eventually present an individual marketing report for each book to the rest of the team. This is done six months after publication when we also look at the early sales of the title. We are always interested to see if there is any correlation between ours and the author’s marketing efforts and the early reception a book gets.

If you have any ideas for marketing your book that aren’t here, make sure you get in touch as we’ll always do our best to make them happen!

Flo

Multilingual Matters at the International Symposium on Bilingualism 2017

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.

A very busy coffee break

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.

Naturally, the 6th edition of our bestselling textbook, Foundations of Bilingualism and Bilingualism by Colin Baker and Wayne E. Wright, was a popular choice but it was matched in popularity by New Perspectives on Translanguaging and Education, edited by BethAnne Paulsrud, Jenny Rosén, Boglárka Straszer and Åsa Wedin. All the authors of other bestsellers, Raising Multilingual Children, by Julia Festman, Gregory J. Poarch and Jean-Marc Dewaele and Beyond Age Effects in Instructional L2 Learning by Simone E. Pfenninger and David Singleton, were present to talk to readers about their work. Another hot title was New Insights into Language Anxiety edited by Christina Gkonou, Mark Daubney and Jean-Marc Dewaele, who was one of the keynote speakers.

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.

Laura and Anna putting their free conference umbrellas to good use

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!

Celebrating 1000 books in 35 years of Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters

With the recent publication of the 6th edition of Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, we hit a real milestone and published our 1000th book since the company began. In this post, Tommi reflects on the last 35 years leading up to this point and discusses how the company and wider world of publishing has changed over time. 

Tommi and David Singleton at the MM drinks reception at AAAL

At the recent AAAL conference in Portland, OR, we celebrated the publication of our 1000th book, the 6th edition of Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, co-authored by Colin Baker and Wayne E. Wright. Since I remember the publication of our very first book in 1982, Bilingualism: Basic Principles by Hugo Baetens-Beardsmore, this led me to reflect a little on what has changed at Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters (CVP/MM), in the world of academic publishing, and attitudes to bilingualism since then.

Marjukka and Mike at Frankfurt Book Fair

Many of you will know that CVP/MM is a family business, founded originally by my parents in response to being told by our family doctor not to speak Finnish to my brother and me, stating that “they didn’t know what damage they were doing”. Fortunately, being a formidable combination of a stubborn Finnish mother and an entrepreneurial Essex-man father, they not only refused to take such unwelcome advice, they took it as an opportunity to find and publish world-class research focusing on the many positive benefits of bilingualism. Although we now publish in a very wide range of topics – including applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, educational research, language disorders and translation studies under our Multilingual Matters imprint and, under our other imprint Channel View Publications, tourism studies – language rights and positive attitudes to bi- and multilingualism remain at the heart of what we do. We believe that no mother or father should ever be told not to speak the language of their heart to their children without extremely well-informed reasons for doing so.

Although in many cases attitudes towards bilingualism may have switched towards the more positive and even aspirational, this is often only the case if the languages you speak are privileged western languages, and in many cases only if you are of the majority population. It is fine and admirable to learn Spanish or Arabic if you are white, but society might be less positive about you retaining your Spanish or Arabic if you are an immigrant. There is still much work to do in changing attitudes towards languages where these languages are associated with immigration or are minority indigenous languages.

Some of my first memories include sitting under our dining room table, “helping” my parents stick the mailing labels onto envelopes that would carry our first catalogues out into the world. Among the many addresses we sent catalogues to, 252 Bloor Street West stuck in my mind. As a 6 year old child I struggled to understand how so many people lived in this one house! In the years since then I have come to know the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) well, and have got to know the very many authors and friends who are based there. We no longer pack and mail our catalogues ourselves, this is one of those tasks that computers and automation have simplified, but as the editor of my local orienteering club newsletter I have to pack and mail all the copies to our members, so I like to think that I have retained those valuable skills!

The office in Clevedon before everything was done on computers

In 1982 we were already using computers for journal subscription processing, but all correspondence with authors and editors was by mail. We used to do so much mailing back and forth that the local post office gave us our own postcode! All of our records were kept in large filing cabinets and a system of racks, T-cards and folders would track the process of book and journal manuscripts from initial proposal to published book. Sales reports from our distributor would be couriered once a month to us in a large box, and even as recently as the late 1990s we would wait with excitement to go through the monthly sales reports and see how well our books had been selling. These days everything we do is reliant on computers, the internet and data. We only have to log in to our distributors’ reporting sites to get the sales figures from the day before, and we can communicate easily even while travelling. This availability of data and immediacy of communication brings with it a new set of demands and challenges. There is a sense that we must respond to everything as quickly as possible and that we absolutely have to know how many books were sold in the last 24 hours. A lot of time is taken up by responding to queries that in the past would have waited for a single letter, and of course we put the same pressures on to other people.

In the early days of our company the only reliable way to purchase books was via the bookshop, or to put a cheque in the post with an order form from our catalogue. These days the rise of companies like Amazon, Books etc. and the Book Depository, as well as our own website, means that wherever you are you should be able to order a print copy of our books and have it posted to you quickly. If you choose to purchase an ebook, you can place an order now and have the full text, even in some cases with embedded video files and links to relevant websites and resources, delivered direct to your computer, tablet or reading device within seconds.

Libraries are able to buy one multi-user license of a digital book, which does not degrade with age and usage, and are able to share this with multiple users of the library, even off-site users of the library, at the same time. Shelf space is making way for more computer spaces and learning environments, and university campuses are changing accordingly. Of course the downside of this is that the number of copies required to service the same population has fallen, and so in general across the publishing industry we have seen the total number of sales of any one academic title fall quite dramatically in the past 10 years or so. Since the majority of overhead and fixed costs of publication have not fallen, this means that book prices have risen much faster than inflation in order to cover those costs.

While it is interesting to look at what has changed, it is also very instructive to consider what has stayed constant over all this time. Digital technology and distribution has meant that the barriers to entry into the publishing industry have fallen dramatically. In a world where anyone can write, typeset and publish a book relatively quickly, easily and inexpensively, the role of the publisher in providing a measure of review, revision and quality control is just as important as it was in 1982. It is arguably even more important now, given the recent attention to fake news stories and alternative facts. CVP/MM has always believed in reviewing manuscripts thoroughly and as transparently as possible, and while peer-review is not a flawless system, it is a vitally important step in ensuring that the books we publish can be trusted by students, researchers, parents and policy-makers.

Flo, Sarah, Anna, Tommi, Elinor and Laura

We continue to grow as a business, this year we will publish 60 titles across all of the various subject areas, where just 10 years ago we would schedule 30 titles. But we remain a small and friendly operation with approachable staff. We have fostered an atmosphere where we can thrive and grow within our jobs, and so our staff turnover is extremely low. It is highly likely that you will deal with the same people through the life of your book project, if not your whole career! You will have seen me at every AAAL for the past 19 years, but you may not be aware that Sarah and Anna will this year celebrate their 15th anniversary of working for Multilingual Matters, and Elinor and Laura are not that far behind. Our most recent full time colleague, Flo, already feels like part of the family, and our intern, Alice, reflects the values that we all share.

Although my father, Mike, is no longer around to see the progress we have made since he and my mother, Marjukka, retired, he would still recognise everything that we do and be proud of how we have continued to build on what they started 1000 books ago. We would not have been able to publish 1000 books if it wasn’t for the many authors, series editors, reviewers and readers who have contributed in so many different ways. There are too many to name here, but I hope you know just how important you are to us. It has been a pleasure to work with you all and I hope that you will continue to partner with us, to work with us and to hold us to account when we do occasionally get things wrong, so that as we go on to publish books together we can all grow and improve, and look back on the next 1000 books with just as much pride!

Tommi

The start of a busy conference season for Multilingual Matters

Laura at NABE 2017Last month I kick-started our 2017 conference attendance with a trip to the National Association of Bilingual Education
conference. Last year’s conference was in Chicago and this year the gathering moved south to the warmer climate of Dallas, Texas. Fresh off the press (so much so that I had to take them in my suitcase!) and highlights of the Multilingual Matters’ stand were Mahoney’s new book The Assessment of Emergent Bilinguals and the 6th edition of our bestselling textbook Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, which is now co-authored by Colin Baker and Wayne E. Wright (you can read more about that collaboration on our blog here).

Click to enlarge

Next up on the Multilingual Matters conference schedule come the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) and TESOL conferences and our editorial team will be heading to those gatherings which are due to take place on the west coast in Portland and Seattle later in March. We very much enjoyed our last trip to Portland for AAAL in 2014 and are looking forward to a bustling few days at the conferences. A particular highlight of the AAAL calendar will be the celebration that we’re hosting during the Monday afternoon coffee break at AAAL, to which all delegates are invited.

On return to the UK, Anna will be attending the iMean conference which is hosted right on our doorstep at the University of West of England, in Bristol. Jo Angouri is one of the organisers of the conference and also one of the series editors of our new Language at Work series. We are looking forward to introducing the delegates to the first book in the series, Medical Discourse in Professional, Academic and Popular Settings edited by Pilar Ordóñez-López and Nuria Edo-Marzá, which was published last year.

Later in the spring we’ll be exhibiting at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference in San Antonio, Texas and then in the summer we’ll be crossing the waters to Ireland for the International Symposium on Bilingualism, which is to be hosted by the University of Limerick.

We very much hope to see you at a conference somewhere this spring – please drop by the stand and say hello if you see us!

Laura

Laura’s trip to Finland for the PLL and EuroSLA conferences

Two years ago Tommi and I attended the Sociolinguistics Symposium in Jyväskylä and had a fantastic time so I have been very much looking forward to returning to the city ever since it was announced that the University of Jyväskylä would be hosting the Psychology and Language Learning (PLL) and European Second Language Acquisition (EuroSLA) conferences.

The week started with Paula Kalaja, the chair of the local organising committee, welcoming delegates to the university and announcing the conference theme, “Individuals in Contexts”. There followed many papers and discussions, plus thought-provoking keynotes from Sarah Mercer, Maggie Kubanyiova and Phil Benson.

Quiet moment at the MM stand
Quiet moment at the MM stand

The coffee and lunch breaks provided many opportunities to continue the conversations and, as it was a smaller conference, it was nice to see so many new connections being formed and ideas being shared and discussed among the whole spectrum of the delegates. Of course, breaks are also the busiest time at the Multilingual Matters book display and I was happy to meet lots of avid readers and researchers!

Celebrating our new book with contributor Kristiina Skinnari and editor Tarja Nikula
Laura celebrating our new book with contributor Kristiina Skinnari and editor Tarja Nikula

Our most popular titles were Positive Psychology in SLA (edited by Peter D. MacIntyre, Tammy Gregersen and Sarah Mercer), the 2nd edition of Bonny Norton’s bestselling book Identity and Language Learning and Conceptualising Integration in CLIL and Multilingual Education edited by Tarja Nikula, Emma Dafouz, Pat Moore and Ute Smit. That book was so hot off the press that I brought copies in my suitcase direct from our office!

Along with the academic programme, I very much enjoyed the conference dinner at which we experienced delicious Finnish food, traditional folk music and a beautiful view across the city, for the dinner was held in a water tower high on a hill. It was a very strange feeling eating dinner knowing that you’re sitting right above an awful lot of water!

The conference drew to a close with the exciting announcement of the formation of a new association dedicated to this sector of the field, with Stephen Ryan the newly-elected President. He spoke of the goals of the association and announced that PLL3 will take place in Japan in 2018. I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for more information on that one!

On the lake in Jyväskylä
On the lake in Jyväskylä

With a pause after PLL only long enough to enjoy a quick dip in the surprisingly-not-too-cold lake, in rolled EuroSLA, one of my favourite conferences in our calendar. The theme for this year was “Looking back, looking forward: Language learning research at the crossroads” and, as at PLL earlier in the week, we were treated to a range of papers and keynotes from Søren Wind Eskildsen, Ofelia García, Marjolijn Verspoor and Ari Huhta. Although Ofelia García described herself as an outsider to the field, her impassioned talk titled “Transgressing native speaker privilege: The role of translanguaging” was my personal highlight of the whole week. Another top moment was the presentation of the EuroSLA Distinguished Scholar Award to our author, Carmen Muñoz, for her outstanding contribution to the field.

The focus of the book display shifted slightly at EuroSLA and bestsellers on the stand included Rosa Alonso Alonso’s edited collection Crosslinguistic Influence in Second Language Acquisition, Zhisheng (Edward) Wen’s new monograph Working Memory and Second Language Learning and John Bitchener and Neomy Storch’s book Written Corrective Feedback for L2 Development.

As usual, the EuroSLA organising team also put on a fantastic social programme, with the highlights being the welcome reception in a Finnish rock club and a boat cruise on the lake to the traditional dinner venue, on arrival at which we were served a very strong but equally tasty local drink before enjoying more local cuisine and music.

All in all it was a wonderful trip to a couple of great conferences and a very welcoming host city. I’m very much looking forward to the next ones already!

Laura

Requesting permission to re-use our content

In an earlier blog post I explained what copyright actually is. This post looks at what we actually do when a permissions request comes in.

BooksAs a reader of one of our books, you may have spotted that our authors are noted as the copyright holder to their work on the copyright page of their book. It would therefore appear that it is them you should contact to clear permission to re-use some content. In fact, when an author signs a contract to have their book published with us, they license us to deal with all copyright matters on their behalf so we sort out any permissions requests for them.

In order to clear permission to re-use our content we ask for the standard form on our website to be submitted. That form is then emailed to our “info box” which is checked by Flo several times a day. She then redirects the email to me and I look into it. I try and respond as soon as I can to requests (usually on the same day); delays only tend to happen in cases where copyright needs to be checked or I am on holiday!

The first thing I do when I receive a permissions request is to check that our author is the copyright holder as it is not uncommon for me to receive a permissions request that is not actually mine to grant! This happens most frequently when our author has cleared permission to re-use content from another publication in their book. It is then the original copyright holder who can grant the permission and not us.

Once I have checked that we can grant the permission I then look at the requested use of the content: whether it is for inclusion in a thesis, journal paper, monograph, textbook, handbook etc. I also look at the expected print run and whether print or electronic rights are required. All these factors play a role in helping me to decide whether to charge for the re-use of material and, if so, how much. I then complete a certificate explaining that we grant permission and under which conditions it is granted.

Other requests which are forwarded to me include general questions about copyright, including content in institutional repositories and posting content on personal websites. I’m always happy to answer any queries about re-using our content so do feel free to email them to us info@multilingual-matters.com.

Laura

What is copyright and why is it important?

Here at Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters I wear several different hats and one of these is Rights Manager. When I have my Rights Manager hat on, one of my responsibilities is to deal with all our incoming permissions requests. I also offer guidance to our authors who need to clear material for inclusion in a forthcoming publication. Before explaining how we deal with copyright, it makes sense to first explain briefly what copyright actually is.

The general rule is that “He who writes it down has the copyright”. You do not need to register your copyright; in order for something to be copyrighted it simply needs to be recorded in a permanent way, be that in the form of a book, a website, a recording, illustration or any other format. Even if the material is freely available or does not have the copyright symbol (©) alongside it, the person who originally created it will own the copyright. The copyright symbol is very useful for identifying who the copyright holder is.

Copyright differs from plagiarism and should not be confused with it. Copyright infringement is the copying of material without permission, whereas plagiarism is the copying of ideas either without attribution or with a false attribution.

Permissions table
© Laura Longworth

The copyright lies in the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. This means that ideas can be copied (of course only with acknowledgement of their origin to avoid plagiarism) but the layout, be that, for example, the exact wording or presentation of information cannot be copied without permission or substantial adaptation.

In the UK, copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the last surviving author, only after this time period can works be copied without permission. Other occasions when permission may not be required in order for material to be republished include:

  • Fair use – this is when the amount copied is an unsubstantial amount of the whole original work, an example would be a 100 word quote from a 300 page book not requiring permission to be cleared. The value of the whole original work should be taken into account: while 2 lines of a poem might seem like an unsubstantial amount, if the poem is only 6 lines long then permission is definitely required to republish!
  • Some items, such as a nutritional table on food packaging, are not copyrighted as there are only so many ways that such information can be displayed. A unique or novel way of displaying it would however be copyright protected.
  • A photograph you have taken is not necessarily your copyright. For example, if you have photographed an advertisement and the advertisement forms the main focus of the image the designer of the advertisement/company advertising will still be the copyright holder as by photographing you have made a copy and not a unique expression of the idea.
  • Some materials are termed “orphan works”. This is when, despite considerable efforts, the copyright holder is unable to be found or contacted. When orphan works are used without permission a record should be kept of the ways in which reasonable efforts have been made to contact the copyright holder.
  • In academic publishing it is common for material to be reproduced without permission if it is in the form of a review or scholarly criticism. Accreditation to the original author should, of course, be given.
  • If the work is available with a Creative Commons license then it may be usable without permission. There are different types of Creative Commons licenses, each one offering a different degree of flexibility. The meaning of each license can be checked here: creativecommons.org/licenses

The advice we give is to make sure that you have permission to publish what you publish and if in doubt, check! We’re always happy to answer any queries you might have, however small they may seem. Look out for my next post explaining how I deal with queries as they come in.

Laura