Book review – The Publishing Business (Spoiler Free)

“No one knows what publishing will look like by 2050, but it will still be there in some form. What it looks like and how it contributes to the human experience will largely depend on the people who are now starting their careers in publishing.”

  • Title: The Publishing Business: A Guide to Starting Out and Getting On
  • Author: Kelvin Smith, Melanie Ramdarshan Bold
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Publication date: April 5, 2018

Eleanor Marie Rose recommended The Publishing Business: A Guide to Starting Out and Getting On on her YouTube channel many times. She has videos over different aspects of book publishing. After she recommended the book a few more times, I decided to pick it up since I’ve been in the field for a while.

The book goes over the history of publishing, how publishing always changes, and how it works today. It’s interesting how far back publishing goes. And the book has a lot of good interviews from people in the field.

It goes into detail about some publishing aspects that writers don’t know much about, including different levels of editing, how the price of a book breaks down, and what different publishing rights are. But it also goes into detail about publishing jobs and how it works in-house for someone who wants to get into publishing. It has great examples and listed resources to go back to as well.

I’m not sure what I expected with this book. Perhaps a chapter over writing a publishing cover letter or resume. Or maybe specific interview tips. What to mention and what not to mention. Instead, I got a lot of information about how a book becomes a book and many references to John Green and J.K. Rowling.

The major thing against the book was that it read like a textbook. Some people—like me—are terrible at reading textbooks and keeping concentration. The audiobook wouldn’t help either cause it’s hard for me to focus on spoken words. I found myself rereading sections to make sure I got it all.

Besides that, it’s a good book for people who are interested in the publishing world, both as a writer and as someone who wants to get into the field.

Score: 7.1/10
Average rating on Goodreads: 4.10/5

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