Publishing is the industry concerned with the production and dissemination of literature or information – the activity of making information available for public view. In some cases, authors may be their own publishers.
Traditionally, the term refers to the distribution of printed works such as books and newspapers. With the advent of digital information systems and the Internet, the scope of publishing has expanded to include electronic resources, such as the electronic versions of books and periodicals, as well as websites, blogs, and the like.
Publishing includes the stages of the development, acquisition, marketing, production – printing (and its electronic equivalents), and distribution of newspapers, magazines, books, literary works, musical works, software and other works dealing with information, including the electronic media.
Publication is also important as a legal concept: as the process of giving formal notice to the world of a significant intention, for example, to marry or enter bankruptcy; as the essential precondition of being able to claim defamation; that is, the alleged libel must have been published, and for copyright purposes, where there is a difference in the protection of published and unpublished works.
The process of publishing
Submission by author or agent
Book and magazine publishers spend a significant portion of their time buying or commissioning copy. At a small press, it is possible to survive by relying entirely on commissioned material. But as activity increases, the need for works may outstrip the publisher's established circle of writers.
Writers often first submit a query letter or proposal. The majority of unsolicited submissions come from previously unpublished authors. When such manuscripts are unsolicited, they must go through the slush pile, in which acquisitions editors sift through to identify manuscripts of sufficient quality or revenue potential to be referred to the editorial staff. Established authors are often represented by a literary agent to market their work to publishers and negotiate contracts.
Acceptance and negotiation
Once a work is accepted, commissioning editors negotiate the purchase of intellectual property rights and agree on royalty rates.
The authors of traditional printed materials sell exclusive territorial intellectual property rights that match the list of countries in which distribution is proposed (i.e. the rights match the legal systems under which copyright protections can be enforced). In the case of books, the publisher and writer must also agree on the intended formats of publication -? mass-market paperback, "trade" paperback and hardback are the most common options.
The situation is slightly more complex if electronic formatting is to be used. Where distribution is to be by CD-R or other physical media, there is no reason to treat this form differently from a paper format, and a national copyright is an acceptable approach. But the possibility of Internet download without the ability to restrict physical distribution within national boundaries presents legal problems that are usually solved by selling language or translation rights rather than national rights. Thus, Internet access across the European Union is relatively open because of the laws forbidding discrimination based on nationality, but the fact of publication in, say, France, limits the target market to those who read French.
Having agreed on the scope of the publication and the formats, the parties in a book agreement must then agree royalty rates, the percentage of the gross retail price that will be paid to the author. This is difficult because the publisher must estimate the potential sales in each market and balance projected revenue against production costs.
Once the immediate commercial decisions are taken and the technical legal issues resolved, the author may be asked to improve the quality of the work through rewriting or smaller changes, and the staff will edit the work. Publishers may maintain a house style, and staff will copy edit to ensure that the work matches the style and grammatical requirements of each market. Editing may also involve structural changes and requests for more information. Some publishers employ fact checkers.
When a final text is agreed upon, the next phase is design. This may include artwork being commissioned or confirmation of layout. In publishing, the word "art" also indicates photographs. This process prepares the work for printing through processes such as typesetting, dust jacket composition, specification of paper quality, binding method and casing, and proofreading.
The activities of typesetting, page layout, the production of negatives, plates from the negatives and, for hardbacks, the preparation of brasses for the spine legend and imprint are now all computerized. Prepress computerization evolved mainly in about the last twenty years of the 20th century. If the work is to be distributed electronically, the final files are saved as formats appropriate to the target operating systems of the hardware used for reading. These may include PDF files.
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This is an extract from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia
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