A celebration of the diversity, innovation and influence of academic books to be held 9 – 16 November. http://acbookweek.com/
This is a chance of anyone interested in the future of academic book publishing in the UK and beyond to learn about and influence the potential development of arts and humanities books. As an indexer I sometimes have to wonder if there will be a future for traditional, human-made, indexes. However, opening up academic books to a wider audience and making them more usable for a wider range of readers has to be a key concern of authors and publishers. The index is a key feature that can enable this in both paper and digital formats, and is something that can be best done by a person who knows the subject area and can anticipate the needs of the audience. The Society of Indexers has some information on this subject, start here.
There are a number of events planned for the week – see http://acbookweek.com/events/. I hope that indexers will be able to make their voices heard in the contexts of the project and of the events of book week. I hope to see you there!
Today marks the start of the feeding frenzy that is the UK Christmas book market. According to BBC News, exactly 503 new titles will be launched today. Given that 30% of book sales are apparently related to Christmas giving and receiving (and buying for oneself I hope), the seasonal peak is important to publishers, authors, and, of course, indexers.
To give a physical presence to the sales campaigns you may see Books Are My Bag events in your high-street book shop, if you’re lucky enough to still have one. The cloth bags are becoming very collectable, and more useful since the 5p charge for plastic bags was introduced in England.
While e-books have taken a chunk out of the physical book market, the majority of e-book sales have been in fiction. Readers of non-fiction often prefer an actual book for many reasons, perhaps because the pictures are actually better in print than on-screen. But also because e-books are struggling with the ability to format and present an index in a sensible way for readers and free-text search doesn’t always get to what the reader wants to find.
Many indexers will have been busy over the summer months, getting indexes ready for the big launch day today. Often unsung and unmentioned in the books they have worked on, but an important part of the process that will end on Christmas day when the presents are finally unwrapped. Perhaps they’ll keep an eye on the book sale charts to see how their books are doing.