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23 September 2020

Market insights for the Scottish publishing market

Overview of publishing in Scotland

Scotland is home to over one hundred active publishers, varying greatly in both size and focus. Structurally, our publishing reflects global industry trends: a large number of small independents, all established in the past five decades, operate alongside offices of larger conglomerates. 'Small,' however, should not be confused with 'insignificant' - Scotland has a thriving book trade, with our publishers and authors regularly receiving prestigious awards and international acclaim.

Scottish publishers have an increasingly global outlook, both in exporting their products and in welcoming writing from all over the world. Canongate Books, one of our largest trade publishers, is known for amplifying vital international voices, from Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors to Guantanamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi. Sandstone Press, an independent based in the Scottish Highlands, has recently won the Man Booker International Prize for Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, and was named Publisher of the Year in 2019. Edinburgh-based Charco Press is scooping up awards and nominations for its brilliant work in uncovering the best of contemporary Latin American literature;  Glasgow indie, Vagabond Voices, is committed to new Scottish writing as well as to translated fiction from other languages, calling itself 'both Scottish and fervently European in its aims' and Gresham/Waverley have been exporting reference books and gift titles all over the world for years.

While increasingly looking outside of Scotland, our publishers are fundamental to sustaining and promoting our literary and linguistic heritage. Independent companies like Acair, Luath Press and Itchy Coo (imprint of Black & White Publishing) publish acclaimed Scottish authors and celebrate the national languages, Gaelic and Scots, advocating for their inclusion in the Scottish curriculum. These (and many other) companies make an enormous contribution to Scotland's understanding of itself and its past, ensuring that our distinct culture is recognised and represented.

Scotland is also known for its award-winning children's publishing. Edinburgh company Floris Books offers an array of titles for all ages, from the classics of Scottish literature to new authors discovered through its annual Kelpies Prize. Barrington Stoke produces accessible, dyslexia-friendly books that encourage every child to be a reader - it has recently won the UK's most prestigious children's book award, the Carnegie Medal, for Lark by Anthony McGowan. Newly-established companies such as Little Door Books or Cranachan Publishing have been going from strength to strength, establishing themselves as some of the most creative and exciting children's publishers on the market.

Of course, Scottish publishing is not all trade - our specialist and academic companies, such as Witherby Publishing Group or Edinburgh University Press, are amongst the largest and most successful publishers in the country. Bright Red Publishing, the only independent educational publisher in Scotland, has been producing excellent resources for secondary students and teachers for over a decade. And Scottish publishing is not all independent - conglomerates like HarperCollins and Hachette have their offices in Scotland, making an important contribution to the health and diversity of our industry, while the trading arms of the national cultural institutions such as the National Galleries of Scotland, the National Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Historic Environment Scotland, and the Glasgow Museums all have lively publishing programmes.

Despite the obvious challenges of 2020, Scottish publishers remain as active as ever - selling and promoting their books online, organising virtual events, and coming up with creative ways to tackle the crisis. Follow the Publishing Scotland website and Twitter account @PublishScotland to keep up with the latest trade news.

 

Our publisher members

Find out about each of our publisher members. Every profile page has contacts and links.

 

Book catalogues and presentations

New Books Scotland (highlighted new books from Scottish publishers and writers).

Scotland in London showcase magazine 2019 (specially produced magazine to celebrate and highlight the Scottish publishing industry).

 

Publishing Scotland International Fellowship

Ten publishers will be taking part in the 2021 Fellowship which was postponed from 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Find out more about our programme and previous Fellows in our Fellowship Brochure (PDF) or in more detail at our Fellowship pages.

 

Scottish Books International

Scottish Books International is a new service on behalf of the literature sector in Scotland, dedicated to the international promotion of books, writers, festivals and organisations.

 

BooksfromScotland.com 

BooksfromScotland.com is the largest online collection of Scottish books, showcasing the best of Scottish writing and publishing. Readers can stay updated through its fortnightly newsletter and social media channels.

 

Publishing Scotland Translation Fund

This fund is administered by Publishing Scotland on behalf of Creative Scotland. The purpose of the fund is to support publishers based outside the United Kingdom with the payment of translation fees to translate Scottish writers. See our translation pages for more information.