Publishing Program - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Scrutinizing blurbs: How book cover endorsements highlight the centrality of marketing in publishing

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-04-13
Supervisor(s): 
Amanda Lastoria
Hannah McGregor
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.
Abstract: 

Marketing is a key way publishers ascribe value to books in the literary marketplace. Book blurbs – quoted endorsements printed on book covers – act as promotional copy, influencing pre-publication decision-makers, such as booksellers and publicists. This report argues that blurbs attract scrutiny because they are a visible reminder of the dominance of marketing in contemporary publishing. Firstly, blurb histories illustrate that skepticism around promotion in publishing is not new. Secondly, marketing history looks at the consolidation of power in publishing and longstanding discomfort with the commodification of the book. Thirdly, case studies of blurbs of The Joy Luck Club (1989) and Little Fires Everywhere (2017) offer insight into the publishing histories and promotional strategies of each book. Lastly, the final section explores opportunities to form community through blurbs, but points to structural limitations that inhibit the sustainability of blurb practices, such as investment in narratives of exceptionalism with marginalized authors.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Postal subsidies and the Canadian book industry: The effects of Covid-19 on online sales

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2022-04-07
Supervisor(s): 
Leanne Johnson
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.
Abstract: 

For over forty years, the Canadian government has actively funded the Canadian book industry through the Canada Book Fund’s (CBF) grants and contributions; however, it has been over two decades since the industry had a postal subsidy. Due to the rise of online print book sales and the challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic such as store closures, the book industry is now lobbying for the return of an industry-wide postal subsidy. This report will analyze the history of postal subsidies in Canada, the changes in technology and the changes in the book industry due to Covid-19, as well as the current federal funding in order to assess the necessity of a postal subsidy for the Canadian book industry post Covid-19.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

The past, present, and future potential of publishing collectives

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-12-13
Supervisor(s): 
Suzanne Norman
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.
Abstract: 

This report describes and analyzes a range of publishing collectives from the past and present in anglophone Canada and considers the potential for future development. It begins with a focus on the past with an emphasis on the role of collectives in overcoming the threat of foreign influence on Canadian publishing. Moving into the present, some key current issues facing independent publishers in Canada are outlined and collectives are found to form part of the solutions to these problems. A critical discussion of collectives is also included so as to provide a comprehensive insight into the role collectives are currently playing. The report ends with a view to the future, building on the previous section to provide recommendations and suggestions for how collectives could develop. This report relies heavily on interviews with publishing professionals who outlined their experiences within collectives. Overall, this report illustrates the value collectives bring to the industry while also recognizing where improvements could be made.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Treasure hunting and storytelling: The role of picture research in publishing Simon Fraser University’s institutional memory

File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-12-01
Supervisor(s): 
Amanda Lastoria
John Maxwell
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.
Abstract: 

The Simon Fraser University Retirees Association (SFURA) is publishing a website and book providing a retrospective of the Centre for Communications and the Arts (CCA). As the campus arts hub during Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) radical first decade (1965–75), the CCA hosted countless flower-child “happenings” and conceptual art projects in the SFU Theatre. The program evolved into the School for the Contemporary Arts, School of Communication and SFU Galleries. This report describes the picture research methods employed to find historical images for the SFURA’s book and website, including identification, selection and clearance of 50-year-old images from archival sources. The processes, considerations – editorial, archival and legal – and the partnerships at play in curating and publishing these largely forgotten visual materials are discussed. The picture research methods explained in this report provide a practical model for the future publication of retrospective books and websites created at SFU and other organizations.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Contextualizing "text and context": An annotation of the Fall 2020 syllabus for PUB 800 at SFU

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-08-15
Supervisor(s): 
John W. Maxwell
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.
Abstract: 

This report documents my experience of teaching PUB 800 – Text and Context: Publishing in Contemporary Culture at SFU Publishing in the Fall 2020 semester, which was both my first time teaching this course and the first time it had been delivered remotely, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. It details the work of designing a publishing theory seminar as a non-academic, industry professional, and examines how a course that originated as a primer in Canadian publishing policy has evolved into a seminar course that more broadly interrogates the structure, state, and culture of contemporary publishing. The report reflects on the challenges of structuring the course to adequately cover the necessary material in twelve weeks, and on the limitations of using Canadian book publishing as the course’s primary case study. It also looks at the adaptations made to the course structure and delivery in light of the pandemic.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Women in Canadian publishing: Gender equity in the Canadian book publishing industry

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-08-12
Supervisor(s): 
Hannah McGregor
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.
Abstract: 

Despite the fact that women significantly outnumber men in the publishing industry, surveys and journalistic accounts reported from both the United States and the United Kingdom over the last 10 years tell us that women working in the industry are subjected to high rates of sexual harassment, a culture of circumscribed professional advancement, and a significant wage gap in favour of men. In this report, I explore how and why these features of gender inequity flourish in the publishing industry, and investigate to what extent the Canadian publishing industry is plagued by similar issues. Furthermore, I discuss the homogeneity of the publishing industry, and the ways in which women who aren’t able-bodied, straight, white, and cis-gendered face unique obstacles in the industry. The report closes with a discussion of recent shifts in the publishing industry which impact women and people from marginalized communities. In addition to highlighting a fundamental lack of robust data, I point to vital gaps in our understanding of intersectional gender inequity in the Canadian publishing industry, and make recommendations for further study.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

The importance of brand extension: How Irish women’s lifestyle magazines are reinventing themselves in the digital era

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-03-30
Supervisor(s): 
Leanne Johnson
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.
Abstract: 

This report highlights the effects of the disruption in the magazine industry in recent years (pre the COVID-19 global pandemic) and explores how brand extension and diversification of revenue has been necessary in order for print magazines to stay afloat. It focuses on how Irish women’s lifestyle magazine Irish Tatler—at which I completed my 3-month professional placement—has employed external events as a means of both generating revenue and fostering a strong sense of community and loyalty amongst readers. It also explores ways in which the magazine could further extend its brand through implementing new reader events and partnerships.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Accessibility and Aldus@SFU: Exploring multiple avenues of access for digital exhibits and academic research

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-08-10
Supervisor(s): 
Hannah McGregor
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.
Abstract: 

This report analyzes four different avenues of accessibility as they pertain to digital exhibits and academic research. Using Simon Fraser University’s Aldus@SFU Digitized Collection as a case study, this report looks at accessibility through the avenues of digitization, openness, publicness, and functionality to break down the current and future needs of diverse audiences. While accessibility is a complex topic, this report breaks down the needs of several different user groups and outlines what can be done to fulfill those needs and create content that is universally available and accessible.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Mushroom for improvement: a model for the circulation of fanfiction sub-genres

File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-06-28
Supervisor(s): 
Hannah McGregor
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the circulation of fanfiction sub-genres across fan communities as starting point for further inquiries into fan object movement among fans. Fan studies has long been interested in the circulation of fan objects, but lacks a broad understanding of how these objects move through space and time (Hills 2014). In applying Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of heteroglossia to describe fan communities, objects and circulatory behaviours, I analyze two case studies to propose a new model. The first tracks the circulation of a trope on Tumblr, while the second explores the movement of a fanfiction sub-genre across platforms, post types and fandoms. My proposed model is based on the radiating structure of mycelium (the vegetative part of a fungus). Mycelium’s branching and agile nature provides a more accurate framework for ever-evolving fannish circulatory practice.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

The web publication development process for engaging small communities

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-04-27
Supervisor(s): 
Mauve Pagé
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.
Abstract: 

This report outlines the process used for creating the Master of Publishing 25th anniversary web publication and discusses the design and editorial practices implemented to engage the main audience, the program’s alumni. The report also explores the application of Lean manufacturing, a process improvement methodology, to the publication development process and suggests Lean practices and tools that can be used to improve and maintain the publication in the future. Best practices for the management of the publication and increasing community engagement are also discussed.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project