Author: Laia Pérez
Annual Award for the Best Final Project for the Master in Publishing and Editing 2019
UPF Barcelona School of Management Award in the category of 'Best Innovative Entrepreneurial Initiative' 2019
To provide independent publishers and small publishing houses with an international network of contacts that, just like occasional literary scouts, furnishes them with information on authors, books and trends of interest to publishers. This will improve access to information on the book publishing industry among different countries and break with the current situation of "exclusivity" among medium-sized publishers and publishing giants.
Alongside agents, scouts are literature's headhunters. Only publishing giants can, however, hire literary scouts in multiple countries in order to glean information on trends or budding literary talents. And such information is essential to publishers when identifying and seizing upon a good book, predicting the world's next bestseller, the author with the most sales, the hot topics and the young talents, etc.
In order to make this information more accessible and democratise knowledge on the current literary climate and trends among all those working in independent publishing houses and small publishers, my project aims to create an online platform or social network (Glook) in which translators, proofreaders, critics, journalists, literature and publishing students and literature enthusiasts can become occasional scouts, providing publishers with information on the latest news, lists of bestsellers, insights and literary reports upon request.
This will do away with publishers' need to hire scouts, instead allowing them to pay on a one-off basis for the reports of interest, organised according to themes, countries and news, etc. The platform will also provide a new source of income for a portfolio of people who have a professional and/or personal interest in the latest trends and books, even if these works are yet to be published.
There is currently not a single company on the market offering the same services as those envisaged in my project. It is therefore an empty market niche and will serve as a useful tool for many publishers around the world. According to data from The Global Publishing Industry for 2016, there is a potential market of 42,917 publishers in 18 countries alone, including Germany with 14,000, France with 8,000, Russia with 5,800, the UK with 2,255 and Spain with 3,026. This digital platform will serve many publishers who are not currently able to quickly access reliable news on the publishing world by means of a business model based on the (booming) sharing economy. The impact on society is twofold, as it both opens up employment opportunities for freelance professionals who can make an income in a flexible and independent fashion and also aims to democratise access to international publishing knowledge which is nowadays only held by medium-sized publishing houses and publishing giants.
I enrolled in the Master in Publishing and Editing because I had studied the sector in part and was interested in working in the world of publishing. The Master gave me the opportunity to get hands-on experience in large publishing houses in the sector and familiarise myself with the processes involved in publishing a book. This gave me a more transversal and holistic vision of the industry and allowed me to get to know all the actors involved. The challenge of conceiving, defining and having to work on such an in-depth project as is required on a Master's course also helps you to become aware of the demands and processes of learning itself. I am very content with what I have learnt, with my contacts established and realising my ability to draw up an innovative business proposal.
At the moment I'm happy to be working in the sector as a literary scout and also in a bookstore, but I would love to get Glook up and running. I know it will require an initial investment that I cannot make myself, and that is why I would like it to be considered by an investor in order to implement my idea and bring it to life. Time will tell if this will be possible.
"As the project is original, well thought-out, attractively designed, clearly structured and has a solid financial viability plan, it is very surprising that it is not yet on the market. It's an obvious business opportunity for social media and for a sector (that of literary scouts) with great potential for development."
Javier Aparicio Maydeu. Director of the Master in Publishing and Editing
"We are extremely proud of the talent shown by UPF's students and the contribution to entrepreneurship in publishing fostered by the Master in Publishing and Editing."
Cristina Moran. Lawyer at CEDRO