5 top publishing partnerships and collaborations

In the run up to the launch of BookMachine.me I’ve picked out some of the top publishing partnerships and collaborations around. I hope it gives you some inspiration to get out there and start collaborating! … and also to come to the launch of BookMachine.me at BookMachine Unplugged on 7th November.


1) Mind Candy and Moshi Monsters

First up is the award winning collaboration between the entertainment & games company MindCandy and Moshi Monsters publishing partner, Penguin. The pairing has seen Moshi Monsters go from an online gaming community for children to an expanding offline world of books, magazines, toys and other merchandise. Eric Huang, Director of New Business & IP Acquisitions for Penguin explained the importance of the role of the publisher for the growing success of Moshi Monsters:

This has been a very exciting collaboration for all of us. The editors and designers at Penguin have helped to create rich back stories behind the online characters and locations. And we’ve learned a lot about how gamers tell stories via the web. We’ve also realised that every digital creator and games producer seems to dream of having their digital IP exist as a physical book – and those of us in publishing are all rushing to turn our physical books into digital stories!

Eric Huang will be speaking at the BookMachine Unplugged event in November so buy your tickets quick if you want to find out more.


2) Valobox and O’Reilly

Sauntering in at two is the partnership between ValoBox (pay-as-you-go books based on social retail) & O’Reilly. Anna Lewis from ValoBox explains why this relationship is working so well.

Our experience of becoming a distributor for O’Reilly has been a particularly positive one. Right from the beginning they were very willing to hear out our case for an alternative business model. They told us, upfront about any concerns they had and once we could show them how we had addressed them, they were quick to move forward, trusting us to do what we’d said. A lot of the time publishers are going to be doing stuff that is new, unknown and maybe even a little scary so if you’re a publisher it’s worth finding a team to work with that you trust – ultimately you’re making an investment in that team So don’t just look at a product, and think ‘It isn’t exactly the solution I’m looking for so I’ll pass’. If you get to know the level of expertise of the people behind it, and they know their stuff, then the odds are that by combining all your skills, you’ll be able to come up with something really clever.


3) Oxford University Press and language school in Brazil

At number three is a collaboration between Oxford University Press and a number of language schools in Brazil. Achieve Languages was set up in July 2010 to support and promote English and Spanish language learning and teaching in private language schools. Achieve Languages is an integrated offer which provides a number of services as well as content. There is also a focus on professional development for the teachers whereby they are encouraged to reflect on their practices in order to improve students’ learning. The feedback and uptake from schools in Brazil has been positive, Heláde Cappai, a school Managing Director in Belo Horizonte praised the course for helping her school to get ahead.

Achieve appeared to us as a facilitator. It allowed us to take a step forward in the market for language schools, giving us credibility and structure so that we can be even more competitive.


4) Faber & Faber and TouchPress

Sneaking in at number four (because I couldn’t really write a list of Publishing partnerships without mentioning them) is Faber & Faber and TouchPress. Unless you’ve been in a dark room for the last few years you can’t have escaped the immensely ground breaking literary apps they have created which really did set the bench mark for what could be done early on in the app revolution. Most noticeably was the multi-award winning The Waste Land app. However, they are getting a mention here for their latest joint venture Sonnets by William Shakespeare app because they have also collaborated with Illuminations and Arden Shakespeare. I asked Max Whitby, CEO of Touch Press and co-producer (with Henry Volans) of the app why these types of partnerships were working so well.

In the world of print publishing there are surprisingly few companies – for example Faber and Faber – who truly understand the virtues of collaboration and who appreciate the many complimentary skills that a specialised digital publisher such as Touch Press can bring. Add to the mix a top notch producer of filmed performance such as Illuminations and the unparalleled academic publishing expertise of Arden and all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle come together.


5) BookMachine and Bibkosh Labs

Finally, and I know they won’t blow their own trumpets so I’ll do it for them, are the creators of BookMachine. Gavin and Laura have set up a partnership with the themeefy.com creator Titash Neogi along with some funding from the British Council to create BookMachine.me.  The site aims to enable professionals throughout the publishing industry to foster relationships with each other and encourage new partnerships.

If you are using collaboration and partnerships within publishing then we’d love to hear from you – leave us a comment below, send me a tweet @sophie_orourke or poke us on Facebook!

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