Cambridge Publishing Society

Books and links

Please get in touch with your inner guru by posting reviews of books and websites that you think might be useful or interesting to other people in the publishing world. Then sit back and wait for approval, acclaim and even adulation [not guaranteed] from your peers. Any CAMPUS members can post; anyone in the world can read.

I (David) will organize more headings as people supply more entries. Please add in alphabetical order by author surname. 


Marshall McLuhan, Gutenberg Galaxy (University of Toronto Press)
The academic book that made his reputation and launched a thousand media studies courses. In the tradition of Marx’s techno-economic determinism, McLuhan’s eschatology envisions a new polity, the ‘global village’, in which electronic media (‘the extensions of man’) redistribute our faculties of perception to make a new kind of subjectivity. Written in 1961, does the internet refute or confirm his hypothesis? [DW]

Morris Rosenthal, Print-on-Demand Book Publishing (Foner Books),
This is not a beautiful book, but the author is very inventive – as we all must be – in thinking about how books should be published now and in the future. It gives full costings and is (pleasurably) an example of itself. While it is entirely US-based, the analysis applies in the UK. [DW]

Herbert Spencer, Pioneers of Modern Typography (originally Lund Humphries, now MIT Press)
Spencer’s sensuously rational typography is the perfect foil for the raw urgency of the examples of work by Futurists, Constructivists et al. See if you can get one of the early letterpress editions – the intensity of colour and tactile punch into the paper really does make a difference. Inspiring and beautiful. [DW]

Iain Stevenson, Book Makers: British Publishing in the Twentieth Century (British Library)
A masterly review of people and companies, bracketed by the nearly 100 years between the invention and collapse of the Net Book Agreement. While the author's focus on deals, macroeconomic background and social change explains the companies' rises and falls and is the book's (metaphorical) brain, at its heart are the larger-than-life personalities whose eponymous imprints we still know today. Some of the most recent technical developments that look as if they may affect the very commercial model of publishing itself are barely discussed, but read this book to find out how publishers have always used their creative ingenuity in the face of constant change … [DW]

William Strunk and E.B. White, Elements of Style (Longman)
Readable and funny, this bestselling booklet gives some important principles (with plenty of examples) for writing well. Yes, this is for US English. but it gives us plenty of things to think about this side of the Atlantic. Is US writing more direct and communicative than ours in the UK? [DW]

John Thompson, Merchants of Culture (Polity Books, 2011)
Provocative exploration of the publishing world and how it impacts on culture, and how it operates as a business. A must for anybody interested in, or connected to, the world of books! [SR]

Lynn Truss, Eats Shoots and Leaves (Profile Books)
The surprise bestseller of 2003 - over 5 million copies sold worldwide. Respect to Profile Books for sheer publishing chutzpah. A witty, upbeat and passionate plea for taking the punk out of punctuation. If you have ever had two or more thoughts about what a semi-colon is for, this is for you. [DW]

Edward Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (Graphics Press)
Important both for insisting that graphics really must make sense and for revealing amazing examples of ‘information design’ in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This book is also an excellent case of a self-publishing success - his original publisher had apparently insisted on taking out the illustrations - doh! [DW]


Collinge and Clark, 3 Leigh Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 9EW, telephone 020 7387 7105
A bookshop for books about books - it has to be seen to be believed. So old-fashioned they do not have a website, it is like something out of Dickens or Balzac. They have private press editions and wonderful books about the history of printing, publishing and design, including first editions and private press editions. Half a mile from King’s Cross. Visit, browse, learn, buy, collect … [DW]

For people new to the industry (and those who have forgotten about it), this is the source for up-to-date news (and jobs) in the publishing industry. Also see for the oddest-titled book of the year: Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich, anyone, or Food Digestion and Thermal Preference of Toad? [DW]
Anthony Haynes's excellent list of books about publishing. Anthony's blog is a superb example of a publisher at work, commercial antennae finely attuned to the zeitgeist, thinking, making, connecting … [DW]
George Orwell’s classic ‘Politics and the English Language’. Orwell tells us there can only be a better world if we can think truthfully and then write honestly. This is not about editing, but it gives some excellent principles for what editors might help writers to be. [DW]
The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing was founded to create a global network for book historians working in a broad range of scholarly disciplines. Research addresses the composition, mediation, reception, survival, and transformation of written communication in material forms including marks on stone, script on parchment, printed books and periodicals, and new media. Perspectives range from the individual reader to the transnational communications network. With more than 1000 members in over twenty countries, SHARP works in concert with affiliated academic organizations around the world to support the study of book history and print culture.  Absolutely wonderful discussion boards - ask any question about the world of books, and a world of experts are at your desk in hours with answers …! [SR]
St Bride’s Printing Library, Bride Lane, Fleet Street 
London EC4Y 8EE, telephone 020 7353 4660. A quiet haven in central London. It is worth becoming a friend and supporting this excellent resource if only for access to their excellent and good value graphic design conferences. [DW]

CAMPUS members' sites
'The Running Head edits, designs and produces ("packages") books, publications and digital media, including websites. Our work is both beautiful and beautifully considered, whatever the medium or genre.' We add value to our customers' brands through creativity, quality, meaning, saving on their inhouse costs and by offering their authors a genuinely pleasurable experience of being published.

Last modified: 11th September 2011 at 23:17

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