KLS 3541 Book business


KLS 3541 Book business

Responsible for the course
Anitra Guddal Figenschou

Department of Communication - Culture and Languages

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

The Book Business is one of our oldest cultural industries. Over the years this has been a business in continuous growth. Especially during the last ten years the amount of publications has exploded because of new technology and cheap product costs. The investments in production are relatively small compared to the net profit for a bestseller. Many are therefore trying their luck in a market with rough margins dominated by only a few large corporations. The three most powerful publishers in Norway are Aschehoug, Gyldendal and Cappelen Damm. Their main characteristic is that they take care of all the steps in the value chain of books, that is: publishing, distribution, book clubs and book stores, as well as the mass market. This means that they attend to all parts of the value chain in the field of literature, from the author to the reader. The dualism between art and commerce is a common theme in the lecturers. There will also be a focus on the challenges of marketing books in an already saturated market.

Learning outcome
Acquired knowledge
The students are to be aware of all the main players in the book business; publishing houses, book-store chains, book clubs and distribution. Some knowledge about libraries and the mass market for books is also required. The students are to understand the processes of production, economy and communication between the players and their audiences, like PR, sales- and marketing strategies. The student also has to understand the interaction between the national cultural policy and the market and what kind of framework this interaction gives the players in the business.

Acquired skills
The students should be able to show how different players in the value chain of books are dependent of each other. Being able to describe the economic structures and communications processes is also a requirement. The students are to understand and be able to carry out PR, sales- and marketing tasks in the business. They shall also be able to administrate the creative processes with important content suppliers like authors, illustrators, and designers.

The student has to develop a reflection regarding the artist’s creative development, as well as he nation’s need for a Norwegian culture and a highly developed Norwegian language, but also the business’s need for a healthy economy and growth. The students are to be able to reflect upon and make statements regarding these aspects.

    No specific prerequisites

    Compulsory reading
    Thompson, John B. 2010. Merchants of culture : the publishing business in the twenty-first century. Polity Press

    Collection of articles:
    Figenschou, Anitra (red.). 2013. Digital artikkelsamling til Bokbransjen - tilgjengelig på Itslearning

    Recommended reading
    Andreassen, Trond. 2006. Bok-Norge : en litteratursosiologisk oversikt. 3. utg. Universitetsforlaget
    Clark, Giles N. and Angus Phillip. 2008. Inside book publishing. 4th ed. Routledge
    Einarsson, Kristenn. 2012. En bokpushers bekjennelser. Gyldendal
    Finkelstein, David and Alistair McCleery. 2013. An introduction to book history. 2nd ed. Routledge
    Langeland, Henrik H.. 2011. Fortellekunst : håndbok i litterære teknikker. Tiden
    Naper, Cecilie. 2007. Kvinner, lesning og fascinasjon : "bestselgere" i bibliotek og kiosk. Pax

    Einarsson, K., og Stensen, T. 2012. Det digitale bok-Norge. Forleggerforeningen og Bokhandlerforeningen. http://tinyurl.com/7dugwrh
    Forleggerforeningen. 2012. Digitale veier til leserne. Forleggerforeningen. http://tinyurl.com/9may7eq (virker ikke, men denne: http://www.forleggerforeningen.no/publikasjoner/rapporter)

    Andersson, Sus. 2009. E-boken - lätt att göra, svår att sälja. Stockholm: Svenska Förläggareföreningen. http://tinyurl.com/8vxognj
    Bjørn-Larsen, A., Løwe, P., Jansson, E., Øgrey, R., og Schiøtz, A. 2008. Digitaliseringsrapport 2008. Hvordan sikre at bokhandelen også blir en handelsplass for digitalt innhold?. Bokhandlerforeningen. http://tinyurl.com/cwkal28
    Løyland, K., Hjelmbrekke, S., Håkonsen, L., Lunder, T. og Ringstad, Vidar. 2009. Evaluering av Bokavtalen. Bø: Telemarksforskning. http://tinyurl.com/327fmad
    Oslo Economics. 2011. Utredning om litteratur- og språkpolitiske virkemidler. Oslo: Utarbeidet for Kulturdepartementet. http://tinyurl.com/9ba5ajp
    Rønning, H., Slaatta, T., Torvund, O., Larsen H., og Colbjørnsen T. 2012. Til bokas pris. http://tinyurl.com/bvtf8jo
    Siste års bransjestatistikk fra Den norske Forleggerforeningen og Bokhandlerforeningen, kan lastes ned på deres hjemmesider

    Course outline
    • The value chain in the Norwegian book business
    • Business models
    • History of the business
    • The author
    • The publishing houses
    • The literature
    • Distribution channels
    • PR, sales and marketing
    • The economy of literature
    • Digitalization of the literary field
    • The reader
    • Book business as part of the cultural business

    Computer-based tools
    No specific computer-tools are required in this course.

    Learning process and workload
    Course structure
    The course consists of lectures, student work and student presentations. 30 hours of teaching will be given in the courses topics and 4 hours will consist of student participation. In this course we offer many interesting guest teachers and a visit to one of Oslo’s cultural institutions in the literary field.

    Project paper:
    During the first part of the course, the students are to choose a subject and articulate a problem regarding this subject after their own choice, but related to the curriculum. The students are to work in teams, the ideal number of student in one group is three, but the students can also choose to make groups of two or four. At mid-term the groups are to present their subject, problem and thoughts to the rest of the class. The group will get feedback both from their lecturer and their fellow students. Near the end of the semester, some weeks before the deadline for submitting the project papers, the students will get a short guidance from the supervisor. The purpose of this project paper is to involve the students in learning throughout the semester.

    Use of hours
    Participation in class 1
    Participation in class 2
    Preparations before class
    Project paper
    Home work and reading
    Preparation for final exams
    Total use of hours recommended

      The project paper constitutes 60 % of the total grade and a three-hour individual school exam constitutes 40 % of the total grade. The students are to work in teams on their project paper, and the ideal number of students in one group is three, but the students can also choose to make groups of two. At the end of the semester one combined grade will be given.

      Examination code(s)
      KLS 35411 – Project paper accounts 60 % of total grade in the course KLS 3541 Book business
      KLS 35412 – Written exam accounts 40 % of total grade in the course KLS 3541 Book business

      Examination support materials
      No support materials are allowed during the three-hour school exam
      All support materials are allowed for the project paper

      Re-sit examination
      A re-sit is held in connection with the next scheduled exam in the course.

      Additional information