London, 21st March 2023
Publishing and Literary Experts Trial Using Virtual Book Collections as a New Way For Groups to Review Books
To celebrate World Poetry Day, publisher services company Exact Editions invited publishing and literary experts to use virtual book collections as a new way for groups to review books. This evaluation project encouraged the eight participants to review and consider the four books they would select to purchase and read from Carcanet Press books published in 2022.
Each participant was sent a time-limited link to a virtual book collection of Carcanet’s 2022 list, providing them with short-term access to the entirety of each book for their review. Virtual book collections, a feature of Exact Editions’ book marketing platform Reading Rooms for Books, are a way to display multiple books side by side. This scheme is a prototype of a more cost-efficient and sustainable method for sharing books with judges at book prizes. Publishers upload a book’s PDF into Reading Rooms for Books as part of the submission process. A virtual book collection link is then shared with judges for review.
The publishing and media professionals involved are: Angus Phillips, Professor at Oxford Brookes; David Wilk, Owner of Booktrix; Dan Visel, electronic publishing specialist; Richard Nash, award winning editor and publisher; Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Chief Content Officer at LibraryPass. The literature academics involved are: Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University; Robert Macfarlane, author and Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge; and Olivia Smith, Research associate (Bee-ing Human) at Newcastle University.
View the Carcanet 2022 Recommendations virtual book collection, grouped into shelves by each participant’s selection, here (please note this full access link will expire on the 23rd March 2023):
Michael Schmidt, Editorial & Managing Director of Carcanet Press, commented: "As a long-time publisher, I am struck by the adventure of offering readers time-limited free access to a collection of digital books. This is a service and a real incentive to acquire a selection of the books themselves. The occasion might be an award shortlist, a thematic opportunity (Irish poetry on St Patrick’s Day, Caribbean poetry during Black History Month, LGBT titles during Pride). There might be exciting possibilities in creating a book club from existing and forthcoming titles matched with on-line events and introductions. The time-limited access has clear promotional advantages. It also can help us build communities of readers."
Adam Hodgkin, Chairman of Exact Editions, said: "This collection of digital books combines and reveals the choices made by a group of 8 experts. This interactive digital collection shows how using virtual book collections works as a way for groups to review books. Lessening the environmental impact of shipping print review copies is something book prize sponsors and organisers are keen to address.”