Multilingual Matters is an international independent publishing house with lists in the areas of bilingualism, second/foreign language learning, sociolinguistics, translation and books for parents.
Most publishing companies tend to be based in London. Why did you choose Bristol?
The company was originally based in Clevedon where the company’s founders Mike and Marjukka Grover lived. When they retired and their son Tommi Grover became Managing Director we moved our office to Bristol as that’s where the majority of the staff lived.
As your publications are highly specialised, are your staff also experts in the area?
We are not all specialists in applied linguistics and tourism studies, our expertise lies in publishing not the world of academia. All our books are peer reviewed by academics working in the field to ensure that the content is accurate and appropriate.
Are all your publications written by academics or are other professionals also considered?
The majority of our books are written by academics but we do publish a small number of books aimed at parents and teachers, some of which are written by non-academics. These books are usually for a more general audience and are more accessible to the general reader. The most popular of these titles is A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism by Colin Baker which is a guide for parents bringing up their children with more than one language or teachers working with multilingual children.
Do you organise any events, such as meetings with authors or discussion forums?
We don’t tend to organise our own events but we attend a number of conferences every year where we meet with authors and often we participate in a publisher session where we advise academics, particularly younger postgraduates, on the process of academic publishing and how to get their research published.
What would you say are the most interesting aspects of working in publishing?
Working for a small independent publisher allows for a lot of variety and flexibility that isn’t always possible in bigger publishers. It’s also great to work with the same people over several years so you can build good relationships – both with colleagues in the office and authors in the academic world.
How has the publishing sector changed in the era of e-books?
People have been saying for decades that the increasing popularity of ebooks will cause the death of the print book but so far that hasn’t happened although we are selling fewer print books and more ebooks all the time. More university libraries are purchasing electronic content for students and many of our customers prefer to read books on a tablet or e-reader rather than in print these days. However, we’re pretty sure that the print book isn’t going to disappear any time soon!
Interviewed by Bristol Language School
Photo courtesy of Multilingual Matters