The Business of Books

The Business of Books is our programme of free events dedicated to all those interested in the business of the book world, whether an established publishing professional or an avid reader with a curiosity about the book trade. Sharing best practice and expertise, and bringing together publishers, publicists, booksellers, distributors, editors, literary agents, writers, illustrators and arts professionals, the series includes masterclasses, workshops and discussions on issues facing the industry.

Amplifying Voices

The 2021 Business of Books programme offered a special strand of events intended to raise the profile of a range of voices in the publishing and literary world. From championing Scotland’s independent publishers and spotlighting initiatives to benefit writers and audiences of colour, to creating experiences which are accessible to those with learning disabilities, each event featured an in-depth panel discussion followed by a Q&A session.


Scottish Publisher Showcase

Get a taste of the breadth of Scotland’s vibrant publishing landscape from the shores of Leith to the Isle of Lewis. With 100-plus publishers in our small country, we celebrate and amplify the voices of both established and debut publishers who, despite the odds, continue to find and bring fresh voices to readers. This showcase event is chaired by Scottish broadcaster and author Sally Magnusson and you’ll also see some familiar literary faces making an appearance. Featuring everything from graphic novels, children’s and young adult books to literature in translation, we spotlight the latest brave and bold literature emerging from Scotland’s publishing scene.

In partnership with Publishing Scotland.

Rethinking 'Diversity' in Publishing: Lasting Change

“Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing” was the first academic study in the UK that questioned how cultural production itself might disadvantage writers of colour. The study strongly encouraged professionals in the publishing industry to reflect on their practices, challenge their assumptions, and change their behaviour to make the publishing industry fairer for all. One year on since the report, this event spotlights actions and initiatives which have been adopted to manifest real change for the benefit of writers and audiences of colour. It invites industry professionals to discuss what needs to be done to ensure these changes are longstanding, sustainable and part of a new structure.

Chaired by Editor-at-Large at Canongate and Chair of the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, Ellah P. Wakatama OBE with contribution from the author of the Rethinking Diversity Report, Dr Anamik Saha and delivered in partnership with the Society of Young Publishers Scotland, this event offers a forum for discussion and invites everyone in the publishing industry from Scotland, the UK and beyond to join the conversation. With Margaret Busby CBE, Hon. FRSL (Allison & Busby), Crystal Mahey-Morgan (Own It!), and Samantha Williams (Founder of BookLove)

Opening Up Books: Creating Book Events for People with Learning Disabilities

Books, whether novels, factual or picture books, can open up the world to people with learning disabilities, but in many ways the literature sector, and book events in particular, are lagging behind other art forms in creating experiences which are accessible to those with learning disabilities. Join us today for an open discussion into how authors, publishers and arts organisations can make their work more accessible to this audience, as well as involving them in artistic creation. Featuring examples of best practice from across artforms including Paragon Music, PAMIS, The Arts End of Somewhere, My Kind of Book and Battersea Arts Centre, as well as discussion from author Alexandra Strick and illustrator Steve Antony, who are taking part in our Learning Disability Friendly event on their wonderful book, You Can.

Cover Design Masterclass – Judging a Book by Its Cover

In a highly crowded marketplace, a book cover has only seconds to grab a reader’s attention. How do you create that showstopping design that stands out against the competition and draws the reader in? In this cover design masterclass, Guardian's books reporter, Alison Flood talks to some of the UK’s leading Cover Designers including Creative Directors Donna Payne (Faber & Faber) and Suzanne Dean (VINTAGE). Joined by Scottish Buying Manager, Angie Crawford (Waterstones), the panellists will share their expertise and take a closer look into what makes a compelling cover design that instigates sales.