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Publishing Research Quarterly

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 99–109 | Cite as

Custom Publishing in the UK: Rise of a Silent Giant

  • Tobias HaeusermannEmail author
Article

Abstract

This paper examines and portrays the production side of the custom publishing field with a primary focus on the UK, especially Greater London. Despite its prevalence, custom publishing has not received the same attention from media scholars, which is mirrored by the sometimes inappropriate, and even confusing terminologies attached to it. Hence, this paper aims to offer definitions characterizing the custom publishing branch whilst assessing the weaknesses and ambiguities in current definitions used in marketing and communications literature. Whereas a number of themes emerge from the study, the main focus is to locate the industry within the broader field of cultural production. Based on sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory, the study looks at the heteronomous—and hence externally determined—principle inherent in the relationship between the contracting companies and the contracted writers. Furthermore, the research details the resources or capital, which form the basis of the publishers’ work, and how the struggle between the economic and symbolic capitals is manifested in the three pillars (the account managers, the editorial, and the design teams). Finally, it is argued that despite displaying many of the traits Bourdieu’s associates with a heteronomous field, custom publishers rely on an important degree of autonomy, which is institutionalized within the field itself.

Keywords

Pierre Bourdieu Branded content Custom publishing Customer publishing Magazine publishing 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science (HSPS)University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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