The Chiswick Bookshop

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After a number of years watching independent bookshop numbers decline in the UK we are finally starting to see a number of new independent bookshops opening their doors, from Rogan’s Books in Bedford to the unnamed bookshop/venue aimed at millennials to open on Brick Lane. Though I consider any new bookshops opening to be a treat and a overall a good sign I have a favourite newby – one that just happens to be on my doorstop. This is The Chiswick Bookshop on Turnham Green Terrace. Don’t get me wrong, the surrounding area has a number of wonderful bookshops, and I feel insanely lucky to live so close to Richmond and Chiswick, where I believe I can now count at least seven amazing independent bookshops within easy reach but as newcomers go I have a real soft spot for The Chiswick Bookshop.

The Chiswick Bookshop comes to us from publisher Hyde Park Editions and is run by the publisher’s sales manager, Emily Crane. One of the most beautiful shops on the road, it offers a range of beautiful books as well as gifts and offers that tranquil atmosphere I remember from bookshops from my youth. From the moment you walk through those doors there is no pressure, you are free to browse and enjoy the many books on display as well as have a friendly chat with Emily behind the counter.

What I love most perhaps is that this is another book shop coming from a publisher (and in fact Hyde Park Editions is based in the back office). This is by no means a new idea, there are in fact many out there who do it, including; Daunt Books, Persephone Books (both in London) and Shakespeare and Company (in Paris) to name a few. Years ago this was in fact pretty standard practice for many publishing houses but it has fallen away over the years, yet this is a business model within bookselling that I have been determined for some time will continue to expand. As they say you have to “look to the past to see the future” and it in this instance that I believe the publishing industry should sit up and listen. After all, this is one sure fire way in which you can learn what your customers and potential customers most desire. Booksellers are at the frontline of the bookselling process. Many have given the opinion that publishers should offer stronger support to independent booksellers but I am of a slightly differing opinion, that they should be joining forces.

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I hope very much that this is a trend that we continue to see in the bookselling world and one that I hope will thrive for those who have already stepped forward. There are many other adjustments that I believe it is necessary to make to the standard bookselling business model but this, in my opinion, seems the logical first step and one of the strongest possibilities out there. It is a step I would make in a heartbeat and maybe one that I will have the opportunity to take for myself…

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Publishing With XML: Structure, Enter, Publish by Bernard Prost

Publishing With XML

Publishing With XML: Structure, Enter, Publish

We live in the digital age, even us publishers who still hold a love and respect for the physical book, and that being said I doubt there are many publishers out there fighting against the implementation of XML. XML is said to ‘future proof’ us in the publishing industry. It does this by allowing us to ensure our content is ready to be transformed into whatever medium we may so wish to produce it into.

With this in mind I have been studying XML and HTML to a further degree than my previous experience and I happened upon this book by Bernard Prost (recently translated to English from the original French edition) entitled Publishing With XML: Structure, Enter, Publish. Unlike much of the information out there on the internet, this book directly relates XML to the world of publishing and I would highly recommend it for those wishing to understand both the potential and the deeper workings of XML within the publishing industry. It seems to me a great book for beginners and the more advanced alike as Prost clearly lays out even ideal work flows for those incorporating XML into their process.

Translated from French, there are instances in which the expression of the content doesn’t seem to flow at it’s best. There are also some issues in reading the information boxes that are scattered throughout the book (an issue that I’m sure anyone who has read a textbook on their phone or e-reader has come across before) that makes me cry out for a physical copy of this book. However, you are warned at the outset that the book is optimised for larger screens so I accepted that it was my own fault for attempting to read between my phone and Kindle Paperwhite. As it is I can only find the English version on Kindle and it costs £6.49. If, however, you can read French rather well I would urge you to pick up the physical copy entitled XML Pour L’Edition: Structurer, Saisir, Publier (which currently sells in paperback for about £17.93 on Amazon at the moment. The French Kindle edition also sells for £19.99 on Amazon ).

My key advice – take it slowly. The information starts out slowly and easy to understand but if you are a speedy reader as I am you can suddenly find yourself quite lost of all understanding. This being said, I went back and re-read those pages I raced through and the information really did make more sense than my initial scan.

Chapters in this book:

  • Separating content from format
  • The main structural components
  • Writing/Designing a DTD
  • Entering XML
  • Preparing and managing XML mark-up
  • Proofing your XML
  • Transforming the XML with XSLT
  • Publishing for electronic media
  • Publishing for paper