Applied publishing (2017/2018)

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Course code
Name of lecturer
Alessandro Bigardi
Alessandro Bigardi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Semester 2 dal Feb 26, 2018 al Jun 9, 2018.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide the notions useful for understanding the current publishing scene in the main international markets and the most significant trends in the sector. In addition, the course aims to provide the knowledge necessary to understand the characteristics of the products produced by the publishing industry and the processes and functions that make them. At the end of the course, students will have acquired awareness of the current state of publishing and its products, and will be able to intervene operatively on some aspects of editing and design.


- Introduction to the key features of contemporary publishing, considering companies, markets, strategies, production, reading and technology.

- Presentation of internal work methods of the industry - from the selection of manuscripts to their promotion, sale and distribution - exemplified through the entrepreneurial insights of two of the most significant publishers of the twentieth century: Alfred A. Knopf and Penguin Books.

- A closer look at the productive aspects of the publishing industry, mainly related to covers and packaging, considering the design path from the text to the paratext, through the analysis of the works of specialized designers.

- During the course will be carried out guided tutorials aimed at creating book covers, starting with the reading of manuscripts and proceeding to the definition of guidelines for graphic design.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Bigardi Alessandro 1915-2015: I primi cent’anni della casa editrice newyorkese Alfred A. Knopf Vecchiarelli 2017 Culture del testo e del documento, n. 53, pp. 73-116
Penguin Books Fifty Penguin Years: Exhibition Catalogue Penguin Books 1985 0-14-008589-0 pp. 1-101
John B. Thompson Merchants of Culture (Edizione 2) Plume 2012 978-0-452-29772-2 Tutto il libro, solo per studenti non frequentanti.
John B. Thompson Merchants of Culture (Edizione 2) Plume 2012 978-0-452-29772-2 Cap. 7

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam will take place in written form, through five open-ended questions, on the texts and materials indicated (including lecture notes).
To pass the exam, students must demonstrate:
- to know the main features of the current editorial panorama;
- to understand how a modernly organized publishing house works and the productive processes;
- be able to expose their arguments in a precise and organic way and without distraction.