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Printing for the workplace: industrial and business publishing

Every company that has ever issued a catalogue, advertising leaflet or annual report, can be regarded either as a publisher or a user of publishing services, and their products can be termed either ‘industrial’ or ‘business publishing’.

For the purpose of this conference we define ‘industrial and business publishing’ as the production and issuing of commercial literature that not only utilizes the skills of traditional publishing (authorship, editorial direction, the commissioning of artists, designers and photographers) but also necessitates the supervision of printing and distribution. These customary activities are, however, executed by—or for—an industry for which publishing is not the primary business.

The association between industry and publishing is not new. We therefore invite papers that consider its development from its earliest days through to the end of the twentieth century, by which time the issuing of printed matter had become an important ancillary manufacturing activity and industrial publishing finally recognised as a professional adjunct to business.

We welcome papers that not only consider the design, production and distribution of industrial and business publishing, but also the companies that issued it, the jobbing printers that produced it, and the clients who used it.

This conference is an attempt to shed new light on the relationship between regional printers and the businesses they served.

Papers of twenty-minutes duration are invited for this interdisciplinary conference from postgraduates, independent researchers and established scholars. Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Sales and advertising: catalogues, technical and commendatory brochures and leaflets on products, processes and services, operational manuals, literature for salesmen and dealers;
  • Prestige or public relations: house journals for external circulation, general promotional booklets on the company, calendars, diaries;
  • Employee publications: internal house organs, staff handbooks, recruitment literature;
  • Union and informal workplace publications: union cards, subscription books; newsletters;
  • Shareholders: annual reports and any accompanying or inset material
  • Commemorative: anniversary reviews, company histories;
  • Manuscript in print: books intended to be written in e.g. ledgers, logbooks, calendars, diaries, music books, calligraphy books, memorandum books, development of specialist markets for specific trades and occupations.

All papers will be considered for publication either in Publishing History or a special edition of the Centre for Printing History & Culture book series, published by Peter Lang Ltd.

We offer a postgraduate conference fellowship, sponsored by the Bibliographical Society, for which a reference is required from an academic supervisor.

HOW TO APPLY Please send a suggested title, synopsis (300 words) and biography (150 words) via a Word attachment to Prof Caroline Archer-Parré (


VENUE Gladstone's Library, Hawarden, Flinshire, Wales

DATE OF EVENT 12 July 2018

COMMITTEE Dr Catherine Armstrong (University of Loughborough); Prof Caroline Archer-Parré (Birmingham City University); Dr Maureen Bell (University of Birmingham); Dr Giles Bergel (University of Oxford); Julia Cunningham (Independent researcher); Dr John Hinks (Birmingham City University); Barry McKay (Independent researcher); David Osbaldestin (Birmingham City University); Dr Lisa Peters (University of Chester).

Earlier Event: July 11
Accidental Historians