Being a Publishing Student

The reason I chose to study Publishing depends on the person asking the question; to prospective employers I study Publishing to develop a career in the industry, to family it is because I want a job that I enjoy, to friends it’s because I couldn’t decide between English and Marketing.

The honest answer is simple, shallow and nerdy: I love to read.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not ashamed to admit it – I’m just not convinced that it is satisfactory reasoning for doing a three year degree in it and effectively having my career determined by it.

Nonetheless, here I am; a finalist student of Publishing with English at Loughborough University, because I love books… and eBooks and magazines and e-zines and newspapers and blogs and even leaflets that people hand out in the street (weird, I know).

When people ask what I study and I say Publishing, they invariably pull a puzzled face and ask what that involves. I have been on this course for three years and I still haven’t developed a concise answer to that question. What does a Publishing student do? The easiest answer is ‘we learn how books are made’; but this doesn’t even begin to cover it. We learn what is happening in the Industry, and I don’t mean just the book trade; we cover information management on a broad scale.

We learn how to market, design, produce, organise (in theory and in practice!), we learn to index, build websites, present ideas, copyedit, proof read, we learn to spot good ideas and criticise bad ones, we cover legal issues, we study human resource management, we explore historical and technological developments and we learn HTML and XML. Oh, and on top of all that, we do a Minor in English.

To anyone that has ever suggested that this course is easy because it is not maths or engineering; you are wrong. Full stop.

If you consider taking a course like this one, prepare to see mistakes everywhere; typos on posters, inconsistencies in storylines, overlapped elements on websites, paper with high lignin quantities (yes, it gets specific). The point is that errors and irregularities stand out like a muggle in the Forbidden Forest. And on that note I should point out that industry-related references become a lovable way of life.

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