Brexit and its Implications for Channel View Publications & Multilingual Matters

29 September 2016

Since the UK referendum result to leave the European Union, I have often been asked what effect this will have on our business. These questions have come from authors, colleagues, interested friends and my mother. The honest answer to all has been “I really do not know”.

To a very large extent, this is the biggest issue with Brexit for any business. “Brexit means Brexit” is the often-quoted line from government, but the reality is that we are none the wiser now than we were during the campaign.

In the short term, Brexit has provided a very timely and much-needed boost to our income. The fall in the value of sterling has meant that our books now appear cheaper in many currencies, and we have seen a rise in orders from many countries, including Japan and China. Where we price in other currencies like the US Dollar, our sales have been worth more to us. In a time of tight budgets in higher education institutions around the world, this has been welcome.

Tommi celebrating his Finnish nationality

A proud European citizen

On the other hand, any fall in the price of sterling will most likely lead to inflationary pressures in the UK economy at some stage, and whilst we might currently enjoy a small boost in our income, we may ultimately be hit with higher office rents, higher salary bills, higher paper and printing costs, and higher cost of supply. There is no doubt that any reintroduction of customs borders between the UK and the rest of Europe will have something of an administrative cost to us.

We have heard many anecdotal tales about UK researchers and UK institutions having joint projects with European colleagues put on hold until any funding situation has been confirmed. This is of course a concern to us as many of our books arise from such European cross-border projects. Equally if it is harder for overseas students to come to the UK to study, how will this impact our institutions?

On a personal level, I am a Finnish-English dual national. Since Finland joined the EU in the 1990s, I have happily been able to travel between the UK and Finland, my two home countries, without any concern. My friends and family from both countries have had the same rights in either one, and I have thought of myself as much European as Finnish or British. I spend significant amounts of time in both countries, and I will be very interested to see whether any exit from the European Union would complicate this for me.

Ultimately, we just do not know. Until the actual process and terms of Brexit are negotiated, we can only guess as to what the outcomes might be, and for a small business that needs to make staffing and investment decisions, this uncertainty can be very daunting. The current government is not doing anything to help make this situation clearer. With such friends as Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, calling British businesses fat, lazy and more interested in playing golf than exporting, I am not sure we need any enemies. All I can say to Dr Fox is that we have certainly exported more books to the world than he has over-claimed money in parliamentary expenses.

Putting aside all this uncertainty, we are in the fortunate position of not having any external debt or shareholders pressuring us to make decisions, and our market has always been a global market, so we are well-placed to continue to trade globally, and I am certain that we will be able to overcome any obstacles and take advantage of any benefits of Brexit once the process has been decided.

Tommi


Open Access publishing: A positive step for research?

23 February 2016

The issue of Open Access (OA) has been an important and sometimes contentious subject in academic publishing for at least the past 10 years. Arising from a desire to see research (often publicly funded) made accessible to the widest possible audience, it has very worthy ideals. Although the main concentration of Open Access publications has been in the journals field, where the prices charged for subscriptions by larger publishers has been taking an ever greater part of the library budget, books are increasingly coming under pressure to be Open Access. In light of this, I thought it would be useful to clarify our position on OA and to discuss what I see as the possibilities and constraints of Open Access monograph publication.

OAlogo

Channel View Publications Ltd / Multilingual Matters is an academic book publisher, and we believe that, traditionally, it is our job to do the full work of the publisher. This includes full copyediting and typesetting of all the manuscripts that come our way, running all of the administrative processes involved in the editorial creation (and where necessary playing a part in the creation of the book), paying our authors and series editors a fair royalty on every dollar that their book earns, and financing a full and proactive global sales and marketing campaign. We also pay reviewers of proposals and manuscripts. We invest somewhere between 5,000 and 15,000 dollars in every book that we publish, the exact amount depending on the size and complexity of the book. In some cases the investment is even higher than this. We recoup that investment by selling copies of the book, and in the majority of cases we will not make a profit for at least the first 3 years of the book’s life, when staff and overhead costs are taken into consideration. Many of our books never make a profit, and when they do, those profits are overwhelmingly re-invested in future publications. We also believe in providing a healthy and happy workplace for our staff and paying them a living wage, a cost that is often hidden by some cheaper OA publishers, who rely on volunteers and academics working for free.

Channel View Publications Ltd / Multilingual Matters has always been committed to publishing important research in often under-researched and under-funded fields. We do our very best to publish books at a price that is accessible, whether that is by producing a paperback immediately on publication, or where that is not possible, producing a lower price ebook so that individuals might buy it. We will gladly collaborate with any author or appropriate funding body (and have done so in the past) to either produce and distribute subsidised versions, or to make books entirely Open Access, where we can reach an agreement on how to cover the costs of publication.

Tommi

Tommi contemplating Open Access!

What we will never do is compromise our editorial integrity. Even where we publish a book Open Access with an agreed publication fee, we will still commit to running the editorial process of peer review and manuscript revision with exactly the same rigour as if we were taking the financial risk of publication ourselves.

The main advantage of publishing Open Access, so long as it is done with a reputable and responsible publisher, is that you immediately remove all barriers of access to that publication, so long as the reader has access to a computer and a reliable internet connection.

The main disadvantage of publishing Open Access is that the author or funding body is taking on the financial cost of that publication which would traditionally be borne by the publisher. If the publication is done properly, this is not (and should not be) an insignificant sum of money.

Open Access publication, when done properly and adequately funded, can be a very positive step for research. We do not believe it is the right answer for all books or all fields of study. I have a fear that there will be babies thrown out with the bathwater, and that if all publications are moved to an Open Access funding model, it will only be a matter of time before university funding bodies faced with the next cash crisis are forced to make a decision between whether they fund the law school publications or the minority language revitalisation publications, and I don’t think any of us need a crystal ball to know which way that decision would go.

That said, we remain committed to working with our community to make all of our publications as accessible as possible, whether that is through Open Access or traditional models of publication where the customer pays. Our ultimate intention is that publication by Channel View Publications Ltd / Multilingual Matters continues to be a mark of quality, no matter how the publication is funded.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of making your next publication with Channel View Publications Ltd / Multilingual Matters Open Access, please send me an email at tommi@channelviewpublications.com and we will come back to you with an indication of how much this would cost and what we would offer.

Tommi


A-Z of Publishing: G is for…

29 June 2015

G is for GroverG is for Grover. The Grover family founded the company in the late 1970s. When raising their two sons, Tommi and Sami, in English and Finnish, Mike and Marjukka Grover realised the lack of publications supporting bilingual parents and with that the idea for the company was born. The company has since grown and expanded to include not only Multilingual Matters, which publishes books on bilingualism and bilingual education, language education, sociolinguistics, language acquisition and translation, but also Channel View Publications, which publishes books on tourism studies.

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.


Getting to know the Channel View team: Tommi

21 April 2015

In the first of a new series of posts where we get to know more about the Channel View team, we ask Tommi some challenging questions!

Some of our readers may already be aware that Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters is a proudly independent publisher and that we were founded in the late 70s by Mike and Marjukka Grover. Our Managing Director, Tommi Grover, took over the running of the company from his parents in 2006 and has led the team ever since.  In this post we’re hoping to give you a little insight into the man behind the company!

As your parents set up the company, it probably seemed like a given that you would follow their footsteps into publishing, but did you ever consider a career outside of publishing?

Many different careers! After admitting to myself that I wasn’t going to be Britain’s first ever cross-country skiing Olympic champion, I considered a variety of different options including becoming a barrister, and even tried my hand at selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. However, I eventually came to the realisation that the book industry was where I wanted to be. Not necessarily publishing, but somewhere in the book trade.

Ah, so we can deduce that you’re keen on winter sports! As there aren’t many opportunities for skiing in the UK, do you have a favourite destination elsewhere?

TommiI do. I always try to get to Finland at least once in a winter, and as the southern winters are getting less snow cover, for the last few years I have been going to the Kiilopää fell centre on the edge of the Urho Kekkonen National park. The countryside is beautiful so to spend a day skiing around the trails is the perfect way to get away from daily stress, and the smoke sauna followed by a quick dip in the avanto is the perfect restorative for tired muscles at the end of the day!

Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised you chose Finland! (Readers may not know that Tommi is British-Finnish, his mother’s family comes from Oulu in north-western Finland). We know that you do a lot of travel both as part of your job and for fun, what’s the most interesting journey that you’ve ever been on?

I have spent my whole life travelling, whether that was wintery train/boat journeys to get to spend Christmas in Finland with my grandparents, or summers spent wandering around Europe in a camper van, my parents brought me up to understand that the journey was as much a part of a good holiday as the destination. It really is hard to pick one interesting journey as there have been so many! I’ve always enjoyed travelling by train and boat, as you tend to meet people in a different way than you do travelling by plane. I’ve struck up a few close friendships while travelling, and met a whole host of interesting people.

One of the biggest regrets about modern travel is how most of the interesting ferry journeys from England to Europe have long since been closed down. My favourite was always the Harwich to Hamburg route where, after crossing the North Sea overnight, you would then spend the morning travelling down the Elbe. On approaching Hamburg, there was a particular point where a band would play and welcome the ship into the city. I think most of the time they replaced the band with loud speakers, but I remember once or twice seeing a live orchestra, and it just felt very special.

Another favourite of mine was the night train from Paris to Bologna. Often the train would arrive around dawn, and you would get off the train just as the sun would come up and the city started to open its eyes, almost as if the sun itself was saying “welcome to Bologna!”

These all sound like great journeys, and I’m sure you’ve got many more in store! Aside from your international travels, do you spend much of your weekends out and about closer to home?

Tommi orienteering

Tommi taking part in an urban orienteering event. Photo credit: Robert Lines

I spend most weekends indulging in my other favourite Nordic sport of orienteering. In short, it is running with a map and compass, trying to visit a set series of locations in the forest (or city) as fast as possible. During the winter, we have a Night Orienteering league which is the same thing but in the dark with headtorches. The pleasure of running on your own and finding the control points in the middle of a dark forest is matched by the drink and meal together afterwards where we can each compare notes and discuss where we got lost!

Not too lost, I hope! Thanks for sharing your stories of your travels and sports with us, Tommi. To finish up, let’s hear your response to these quick fire questions!

Summer or winter? Both! And I love Spring and Autumn too…
Theatre or cinema? Theatre. I love the fact that live performance is never the same twice.
Sausages or steak? Steak.
Football or rugby? Ice hockey.
Moomins or Donald Duck? Moomins
Tea or coffee? Good coffee. If it can’t be good coffee then tea is a safer choice!
Pop or classical music? Ooh tough question. Pass. I quite like silence.

Thanks Tommi! We promise to have the office radio off sometimes!

Keep an eye out for posts about the rest of the team over the next few weeks!


Elinor and Tommi’s Asian Adventure

26 June 2013
Elinor and Tommi at the Silver Pavilion

Elinor and Tommi at the Silver Pavilion (Ginkakuji)

Before our trip to the ISB conference this month (which you can read about here) Tommi and I travelled to Japan, China and Hong Kong to visit our reps, booksellers and academics. It was a really useful trip and fascinating to see how bookselling works in other countries.

Tommi eating green tea ice cream

We started our trip in Japan where we met booksellers based in Tokyo: Kinokuniya, Yushodo, Maruzen, UPS and Far Eastern Booksellers. It’s great to hear firsthand what is happening with library budgets and the local economy. After Tokyo, we travelled to Kyoto where we met our sales reps from Eureka Press and visited academics at both Kyoto University and Ritsumeikan University. At Kyoto University we met with a group of graduate students and Tommi gave a talk about academic publishing and how to turn your PhD into a book.

Fortunately we had a bit of free time in Japan too and we managed to visit several temples and sample some of the delicious local cuisine.

Elinor at the Forbidden City

After that we travelled to Beijing where we met with our Chinese rep Sarah from CPS. We had several meetings with local book importers as well as with the National Library of China. We met with Beijing Zhongke and CEPIEC. We also had a few free hours when a meeting was cancelled and we were able to visit the Forbidden City which was really interesting.

Big yellow duck

Big yellow duck

After less than 48 hours in Beijing, we headed to Hong Kong where we visited one our authors, Andy Gao, at Hong Kong University. Again, we met with a group of graduate students and other people interested in the publishing industry and talked to them about what we do and how the publishing process works. After the work part of our visit to Hong Kong was over we had a bit of spare time and managed to visit the fishing village of Sai Kung which was a complete contrast to the high-rise skyscrapers of Hong Kong island and Kowloon. We also travelled to the top of Victoria Peak and saw the giant yellow duck in the harbour.

After Hong Kong we headed to Singapore for the International Symposium of Bilingualism which rounded off a really successful trip. It really makes a difference travelling to meet customers in their own countries and we really enjoyed expanding our network of contacts in Asia.

To see more photos of our trip take a look at our Facebook pages: Multilingual Matters and Channel View Publications.


Personal safety workshop

21 December 2011

Tracy

Last week we had the opportunity to have a training session with Tracy Johnson on de-escalation techniques and how to avoid potential conflicts. Although we all hope never to use these strategies, it was really useful to know how to get out of any nasty situations.

While the main aim of the session was to teach us how to avoid conflict, Tracy also showed us how to defend ourselves if we are ever physically threatened. Tommi kindly volunteered to be thrown to the floor by Tracy as she demonstrated her self-defence skills.

Although it was obviously a serious topic, we had a lot of fun practising our self-defence moves on each other. It was a really useful and interesting session and I think we all came away thinking differently about the way we behave. From now on we will all be alert when walking around and will be more prepared for any confrontation.

Tommi in a headlock

Tracy fighting Tommi

Tracy threatening Tommi with a knife

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about Tracy and the training she offers just take a look at her website Brainbox Coaching.

Channel View with Ninja Tracy


A peek into the world of the Channel View sales department

26 May 2011

Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at the different departments within Channel View Publications and what the responsibilities of each department entail. To start us off, Tommi tells us what he does as sales director.

The job of the sales department in a publishing house is to ensure that the books have a clear route to market. That means that we listen to our customers and find out how they are most likely to order our books. We negotiate with large wholesalers, library suppliers, bookshop chains and individual bookshops, to make certain that our books are available to our customers wherever they choose to buy them.

Sales director briefing the editorial team

We monitor sales on a daily basis, and we pass on sales information to the editorial and marketing departments, so that we can be better informed about the success of our marketing campaigns, or we can plan what types of books we should be looking to commission in the future.

We employ a team of specialist sales representatives in countries like Japan, China, Hong Kong, Korea and the Philippines, to ensure that there is always someone local who can help our customers order our titles efficiently.

We regularly meet with the buyers from bookstores around the world, either at the Frankfurt Book Fair, or by making sales trips to the head offices of these stores where we make sure that the buyers are aware of all of our titles. As a specialist publisher, we are able to take all our new books to be displayed at the Frankfurt Book Fair every year rather than just a small selection of our list. We are proud of EVERY book we publish, or we would not publish it.

We work closely with our two main distributors, UTP Distribution for USA and Canada, and Marston Book Services for all other countries, to ensure that the supply chain is smooth and efficient.

Tommi visiting Chinese book importers with fellow publisher Seline Benjamins

One of the most exciting responsibilities of the sales department in a modern publishing house is to keep abreast of the latest technologies for delivery of book content. Working with our dedicated production department we are always looking to make sure that our books are available in the most popular formats that our customers ask for.

Since 1999 we have been making our books available to libraries as ebook publications, and we have watched this market grow from its infancy into the vibrant market it is now. We are rapidly expanding our ebook outlets, and now offer PDF downloads of many of our newest books from an evergrowing list of outlets including ebooks.com.

This month saw the launch of our first ever Kindle publication, Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert’s Bilingual Siblings, available exclusively from Amazon.

In the coming months we look forward to expanding our ebook offerings via Amazon, the Apple iBookstore and we expect to be announcing the availability of downloadable ebooks from our own website soon.

The most important part of this job is to listen to what our customers want. Whether you are an individual customer or a representative of the booktrade, we are always happy to hear from you. If you have any problems ordering our books, if you have an opinion on the price, or would like us to be delivering a different type of ebook, please do contact me. I cannot promise that we’ll be able to do exactly as you wish, but we will always try to take your wishes into account.

Tommi Grover
tommi@channelviewpublications.com


%d bloggers like this: