About The Book Unbound


The Book Unbound: Disruption and Disintermediation in the Digital Age is a research and development project funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) under the Digital Transformations theme.

Collaborating on the project are the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, Creative Writing staff at the University of Stirling, Scott Russell Publishing Services, a team of editorial and production assistants, and the Electric Bookshop.

The Book Unbound project focuses on how publishing as both a business and a cultural activity is reacting to the advent of digital technologies, and on constantly changing relationships in the book trade as we move from print and paper to digital ink and screen. Seisimic shifts are resulting in a plethora of new business models that challenge the prevailing hierarchies of cultural gatekeeping as well as new modes of authorship, and have also reshaped perceptions of the book as cultural artefact.

The model of the traditional publishing value chain traces the trajectory of intellectual property from the author to the end consumer, where publishing activities such as editorial, marketing and design are all performed by the single entity of the publisher. However, this process is now being disrupted and disintermediated at every stage by the intervention of digital technologies and consequent infrastructural changes. The Book Unbound explores these disruptions and disintermediations.

More details on our research questions, objectives and methods are available from our Research page.


The Book Unbound project staff and partners





Professor Claire Squires (Principal Investigator)
Claire is the Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication at the University of Stirling. She has a background in trade publishing, having previously worked at Hodder Headline publishers. Her publications include Marketing Literature: The Making of Contemporary Writing in Britain (Palgrave, 2007) and Philip Pullman: Master Storyteller (Continuum, 2007) and (as co-Volume editor) the Cambridge History of the Book in Britain Volume 7: The Twentieth Century and Beyond (Cambridge University Press, 2013). She is a judge for the Saltire Society Book Awards.


Dr Padmini Ray Murray (Co-Investigator)
Padmini is a lecturer in Publishing Studies the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication at the University of Stirling. Her industry experience includes Seagull Books, Canongate Books, Ottakars and Edinburgh University Press. She has published essays in The History of the Book in Scotland, Volume 3 1800-1880 (Edinburgh University Press, 2007) and is a contributor to the forthcoming history of Oxford University Press. She is on the advisory board for Graphic Scotland, and has published on comics and technology in Studies in Comics (2012).


Dr Paula Morris (Co-Investigator)
Paula is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, and the editor of the Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories (Penguin, 2009). She is also the author of YA mystery novels published by Scholastic U.S. Her most recent novel, Rangatira (Penguin 2011), is the winner of the New Zealand Post Book Award (2012). She has worked in marketing and publicity in the record industry, and also as a copywriter and brand consultant. Currently she teaches creative writing at the University of Stirling, where she is programme director of the prose strand of the new MLitt.


Helen Lewis-McPhee (Assistant Editor)
After studying Psychology and Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, Helen worked in the events industry for five years before taking on the MLitt in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling this year. She has completed internships at the McKernan and Makepeace Towle literary agencies, and administrated the 2012 De Long Book History Book Prize. Helen’s editorial work also takes her to Stylo Writing Academy’s courses in Scotland and Southern France, where she works with aspiring writers to develop their craft.


Louisa Preston (Production Assistant)
Louisa is a student of the MLitt Publishing Studies course in the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication. She has a background in art, having obtained her undergraduate degree and postgraduate Masters degree with distinction in Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee. Her work has been published in the Dundee Zine, Yuck n’ Yum, and the publication to accompany the exhibition, Absent Without Leave (AWOL) Young Artists’ Biennial, 2nd Edition, Bucharest, 2006. Freelance work includes editorial and production tasks on the development of e-books for iPad and Kindle, at Edinburgh Business School.


Aileen-Elizabeth Taylor (Production Assistant)
Aileen is an MLitt in Publishing Studies student at the University of Stirling. She would like to follow a career in the production side of publishing on completion of her degree. She previously studied at the University of Aberdeen.



Scott Russell Publishing Services







Scott Russell (External Consultant)
Scott is a freelance trainer and digital production specialist. An Adobe Certified Expert, Scott offers training and consultancy services in design, digital publishing, photography and print production. He also teaches production and design at the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication. Scott has worked in the printing and publishing industry in many roles including Production Systems Manager at The Herald and Evening Times, Editorial Systems Consultant at Guardian Newspapers Ltd. Scott works with a variety of organisations advising on production workflows, software functions and delivering training.


Electric Bookshop
The Electric Bookshop is a Scotland-based organisation which brings together individuals with a common interest in developments relating to technology, literature, design and publishing. It has a diverse range of members and participants including writers, publishers, poets, digital designers, digital artists, social media practitioners, journalists, bloggers, literary agents, technophiles, product designers, visual artists, illustrators and web designers. Electric Bookshop is showcasing the work of the Book Unbound via one of its quarterly sessions at Inspace, based at the University of Edinburgh. More details on the event are available here.