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

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Towards a better future: How Engage Books creates books that make a difference

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-27
Abstract: 

This report looks at the changing landscape of Engage Books as they switch their focus from publishing classic titles to publishing children’s books under the mandate ‘books that make a difference,’ and the tactics they are implementing to push boundaries within the children’s publishing industry. To provide context as to where Engage Books stands as an independent children’s publisher, the report gives a brief overview of the history of the acceptability of sensitive topics in children's literature and the relationship between censorship and small presses. Engage Books has adopted the philosophy that it is easier to shape the minds of children than it is to change the minds of those who are already set in their ways, and thus, has begun introducing previously censored information and major world crises to children in an attempt to help the next generation become informed and engaged citizens who can help create a better society.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Scott Steedman
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

Festivals in the time of corona

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-28
Abstract: 

In a year that mirrored a well-written dystopic fiction, the world was brought to a standstill by a pandemic. But while the COVID-19 crisis threatened to push pause on everything, many in the world of arts stuck to the old adage of “the show must go on.” This was true of numerous literary festivals around the globe who confronted the challenges posed by the pandemic and expeditiously adapted to deliver their content in a digital format. And with this perseverance a new festival model was designed to suit the needs of the hour, which in turn helped many arts organizations realize their long overdue dream of moving towards more accessible and inclusive offerings. With a primary focus on the Vancouver Writers Fest, this project will look at how literary festivals across Canada strove to build community and dialogue in these times of isolation, all designed to be consumed from the comfort of one’s home, for free. The aim is to understand the various nuances of shifting a traditionally in-person festival to a digital space with all its benefits and drawbacks. The report will also be exploring how this phenomenon might usher in a new era of spatially and financially unrestricted festivals, made accessible to a more diverse range of audience, across borders.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Scott Steedman
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

Going digital-first: Book marketing’s response to COVID-19

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-18
Abstract: 

This report explores the impacts of COVID-19 on book marketing, and how to take a digital-first marketing approach, using the University of British Columbia Press (UBC Press) as a case study to explore how a scholarly publisher adapts their marketing activities. These adaptations include how UBC Press pivoted by using digital marketing strategies, such as social media, academic campaigns, and Congress from your Couch, and with a collective marketing project as a part of the Association of Canadian University Presses (ACUP). This report outlines the ACUP collective marketing project in its beginning stages from concept to initial designs. It concludes that it is essential for publishers, both trade and scholarly, to adapt strategic and community-focused digital marketing approaches in order to be flexible when faced with sudden changes.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Hannah McGregor
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

The growth of library publishing in North America and the role of the Open Journal System

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-15
Abstract: 

Scholarly or academic publishing is one of the most lucrative sectors in the publishing industry; ever since the 1960s, commercial publishers have profited from disseminating academic research and scholarship. This has resulted from the commercialization of journals in the 1940s that shifted scholarship from a public good to a commodity. As of 2018, scholarly publishing is estimated to be a $25 billion-dollar industry. While there are other types of publishers, including non-profit, society and library publishers in the scholarly space, they generate a small portion of scholarly output and revenue compared to commercial publishers. This report examines the trends that influenced library publishing, a relatively new type of publisher that emerged in the early 2000s within North America, and the concurrent growth of Open Journal Systems among North American academic libraries. Libraries were and continue to be supporters of Open Journal Systems, both financially and through their use of the software. New technologies such as Open Journal Systems allow library publishers to address some of the issues that resulted from the commercialization of scholarly research. As of 2018, at least 92 educational institutions from Canada and the United States use Open Journal Systems. This report also provides an analysis of library publishing as a field within scholarly publishing. Library publishers are willing to experiment with content and media, and their expertise in metadata and the relationships they maintain with academics are their strengths as publishers. As library publishing is an extension of their role as libraries, they may not have the resources (labour and financial) or support to execute this work entirely. Library publishers could utilize the relationships they have within their broader community to develop publishing partnerships. As library publishing is relatively new, they face a challenge in becoming seen as a legitimate publishing avenue. While it is unlikely that all libraries will take on this new role, having library publishers is overall beneficial, as it provides an alternative route to publish work and a means to publish content ignored by traditional publishers.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Juan Pablo Alperin
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

The enhanced ebook: Its past, present, and future place in the North American publishing industry

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-10
Abstract: 

The enhanced ebook format—an ebook featuring multimedia elements such as audio, video, and animations—was released in 2010, yet it has been largely unused. Despite its potential, only 23% of publishers in Canada produced an enhanced ebook each year between 2014 and 2017.1 The format can excel in the scholarly/professional, trade/consumer, and educational/K to 12 marketplaces; however, it is held back by the same hurdles that halted its progress in 2010. Poor retailer and device support, lack of classification and discoverability, slow consumer adoption, and caution from publishers to invest were, and still are, roadblocks that inhibit the enhanced ebook format from gaining popularity. In an effort to understand why the enhanced ebook format has not gained traction, this report will assess the enhanced ebook format, and its past, present, and future place in the North American publishing industry.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Mauve Pagé
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

Self-published authors and the production and distribution of audiobooks

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-09-15
Abstract: 

The lack of clarity on the audiobook publishing processes for self-published authors leaves a potential gap in the Canadian market for the creation of a new independent audiobook production service. Due to the rising popularity of audiobooks, there is a wealth of online resources available, but they offer conflicting advice and highly variable pricing information, leaving self-published authors unsure of where to start. This research presents possible audiobook production solutions for indie authors. Self-published authors were surveyed and interviewed, in order to uncover their thoughts about audiobooks as well as their priorities involved with creating an audiobook of their own. This research is analyzed alongside a literature review of current audiobook production and market trends. The audiobook production solutions proposed in this report focus on the service offerings of a specific company called TSPA The Self Publishing Agency Inc. for whom this research was initiated. This research also aims to benefit the wider publishing industry in Canada, to help foster a healthy and prosperous audiobook market.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
John Maxwell
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

Changing catalogues: Understanding the influence of the OwnVoices Movement on Canadian children’s book publishers

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-24
Abstract: 

Since 2015, the OwnVoices Movement has been promoting the idea that stories representing any marginalized communities – people of colour, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, etc. – should be written by authors from the same group. This report will examine the change of several Canadian children’s book publishers before and after the OwnVoices Movement, in particular Penguin Random House Canada (PRHC) Young Readers, the children’s imprint of Penguin Random House Canada. This report is based on a three-month professional placement at PRHC Young Readers, thus it will first start with an introduction of PRHC Young Readers including its history and its current editorial process. Next, the report will review the development of the OwnVoices Movement and significant books that represent the trend. And last, this report will examine the Fall 2016 and Fall 2019 catalogues from PRHC Young Readers, Simon & Schuster Canada Children’s, Orca Book Publisher and Groundwood Books to see if there has been a change of the OwnVoices titles since the movement started. The ratio of OwnVoices books for each catalogue will be calculated and compared. After the comparison, the report will summarize the difference between Fall 2016 catalogues and Fall 2019 catalogues to show any progress after the OwnVoices Movement. After analyzing the research result, the report will conclude with further recommendations for future researchers regarding the OwnVoices Movement study.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Mauve Pagé
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

Getting On Boards with modern marketing and publicity: A case study on creating a bestselling author

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-10-09
Abstract: 

This project report is an in-depth case study into how Appetite by Random House acquired a first-time author with small social media following and collaborated with her to create one of 2019’s top 10 bestselling cookbooks in Canada. This report provides an extensive look into the editorial process, creative direction, and marketing campaign for On Boards by Lisa Dawn Bolton. It also refers to articles published by industry experts, with a goal of providing statistical research that describes industry standards and perspectives, especially in the cookbook industry. The opening chapter provides information on Appetite, the cooking and lifestyle imprint of Penguin Random House Canada, documents my internship experience there, and introduces standard modern requirements for acquisitions. Chapter 2 provides background information on cookbooks as a genre in publishing. Chapter 3 explores how Appetite met Bolton and her non-traditional method of pitching her proposal, while also giving content on the movement of eating food on boards. Chapter 4 discusses the editorial and design process used in the creation of On Boards. Chapter 5 outlines the marketing and publicity plan for On Boards, including conversations I had with On Boards’ publicist and ad campaign data from three major social platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Chapter 6 discusses the media coverage that On Boards achieved and analyzes sales, including data from BookNet Canada, SalesData, MyHouse (the proprietary internal data management and reporting platform of Penguin Random House), and The Canadian Book Market 2019 report. In the seventh and final chapter, I conclude with my reflections on additional marketing techniques Appetite could consider for publishing future cookbooks.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
John Maxwell
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

The Big Book Look

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-13
Abstract: 

In order to be immediately identifiable by the buyer in a retail space, a book needs to communicate its genre and subject in a matter of seconds. Big Books, usually penned by famous authors or celebrities, have a very established style: singular photo (perhaps of the author or pertaining to the subject matter), the author’s name in large type, and some blurbs or award stickers. These design elements have come to be recognized as features of Big Books. The Big Book Look borrows these elements to create the same magnitude of importance in the buyer’s mind as a Big Book with a well-known author when they encounter such a book cover in any retail environment. The Big Book Look is not immutable; it diversifies over time, changing to reflect technological and aesthetic advances. This report explains the major difference between a Big Book and the Big Book Look. While explaining how Penguin Random House Canada acquires, handles, and publishes a Big Book, this report aims to make connections among Penguin’s initial cover designs, some very iconic Big Books which perpetuated Big Book Looks, and books written by debut authors which are marketed as Big Books with the Big Book Look. Depending on the popularity of a Big Book, its look is often exemplified and recognized as a visual standard in its genre. This report also expands on decisions that contribute to the second format redesigns of a Big Book and a book with a Big Book Look.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Mauve Pagé
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

Pitch perfect: The past, present, and way forward for book publicity pitching

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-17
Abstract: 

A well-crafted and personalized pitch is the cornerstone of a successful book marketing campaign. Drawing on published interviews of professional experts and building on research conducted by past MPub students, this report provides a thorough analysis of effective pitching strategies and executions. This report examines how the tools of book publicity have evolved over time, and the limitations of those tools that continue to constrain Canadian book publicists. This report features case studies of three successful book campaigns run by marketing agency ZG Communications between 2018 and 2019, with each case study illustrating how to construct a tailored pitch and capitalize on a book’s qualities such as genre, author, geography, and launch timing. To conclude, it details both the current state of book publicity practices, exploring the different techniques and tools used by professional publicists while also highlighting the challenges book publicists face in adapting to a vastly new media landscape.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
John Maxwell
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.