The Company Development Project, which ran from September 2011
to April 2012, was devised to support publishers through a period
of unprecedented change in the industry. In an increasingly global
market, it is essential that publishers have the right mix of
skills and focused strategies to help map out the way ahead.
Strengthening the leadership and management within companies helps
foster the confidence to operate within new digital markets.
The Project aimed to support the ambition, capacity and
performance of between 6-10 small and medium-size publishing
companies through the creation of a customised development plan for
each company, with the mentoring and help of expert advisors, and a
series of workshops.
Part funded by Creative Scotland and sponsored by CPI, the UK's
largest book printer, the Project was delivered by Publishing
Scotland through the services of the late David Pirnie of
pirnielimited, a strategy and facilitation consultancy, and
supervised by a steering group involving higher and further
education partners, the publishing and printing industries, and
Creative Skillset Scotland.
The 7 publishers were:
- Acair, Isle of Lewis.
- Floris Books, Edinburgh.
- Freight Books, Glasgow
- RCAHMS, Edinburgh
- Sandstone Press, Dingwall
- Saraband, Glasgow
- Strident Publishing, Glasgow
The application form
The final report
The Publishing Scotland Company Development Project Final Report
by David Pirnie and Marion Sinclair (PDF, 154 pp).
See also the video case studies (left-hand column of this
The role of the expert advisor was of critical importance to the
success of the programme. Following a detailed discussion on their
interests, aspirations and capacities, each publisher was
'matched-up' with an expert advisor who worked with the publisher
to review their business initiative and help develop a plan to
realise it. The starting point was what the publisher initially
expressed as an idea when they joined the Programme although this
was modified in some cases - even considerably - as the engagement
with the advisor proceeded.
The precise inputs by an advisor varied in kind and emphasis
depending upon what they and 'their' publisher agreed was most
needed. This involved a variety of activities and advice -
according to each publisher's individual needs - including advice
and guidance on strategic and business matters as well as
publishing-specific and technical matters. The progress against
plan of each publisher was monitored over the 6 months of the
programme and a collaborative evaluation made of what was achieved
by the end.
The advisors were:
- Willie Anderson, former MD of John Smith &
- Will Atkinson, Faber and Faber
- Donald Boyd, Partner, Campbell Dallas,
- Peter Collingridge, Enhanced Editions and Apt
- Ron Grosset, MD of Waverley Books
- Jenny Todd, Marketing Director, Canongate
- James McCall, Principal Consultant in
International Publishing, Edinburgh Napier University
- Martin Redfern, Publishing Consultant
- Mike Miller, Chairman of BookSource
- Philip Walters, formerly Chief Executive of