What does a Textbook Publisher do?

Patrick Roland

A textbook publisher coordinates all of the stages of production of an educational book. He or she is involved in everything from writing to editing, printing and marketing. Many publishers have specialized areas of educational expertise in order to produce specific types of textbooks, but some handle a variety of subject matters.

Textbooks usually focus on one subject.
Textbooks usually focus on one subject.

A textbook publisher handles educational books used by students from kindergarteners to doctorate candidates in their efforts to learn about certain subjects. Every school subject book has a publisher, from math textbooks to science textbooks, history textbooks and even medical textbooks. Some publishers oversee several subjects, and some might focus on a single subject. The number of areas of expertise depends largely on the publishing house that funds the production of those books and how it handles its work.

Publishers get a final say on content prior to publication.
Publishers get a final say on content prior to publication.

No matter what subjects are covered, a textbook publisher must handle a variety of jobs to guide a book through the publishing process. The biggest job of a publisher is to handle the creative and academic sides of writing the books. Just like a chief executive officer dictates what direction a company is going to head, a publisher helps the company's editors decide what topics should be included and excluded from a particular book. From there, the publisher works with editors and writers to create content that effectively communicates information to the intended age group and is completely factual. Many textbooks also include illustrations, photos and charts, and the publisher coordinates with the art department to arrange for the creation of these items.

After the book has been written and printed, the publisher works to help spread the word about the virtues of that textbook over other books.
After the book has been written and printed, the publisher works to help spread the word about the virtues of that textbook over other books.

Overseeing the printing process is a major responsibility for a textbook publisher. Much like how he or she doesn't do any of the actual editing or writing, a publisher coordinates others to handle all of the printing. A publishing company has a set budget for each project, and printing usually is the biggest expense. Understanding different paper choices and binding techniques can help save money and create a textbook strong enough to be used by students for many years.

Textbook publishers may focus on specific academic subjects.
Textbook publishers may focus on specific academic subjects.

Sales and marketing are another major job of a textbook publisher. After the book has been written and printed, the publisher works to help spread the word about the virtues of that textbook over other books. A publisher helps set marketing goals and sales expectations for the team in charge of selling these books to stores and schools. Any single one of these roles of a textbook publisher is a great responsibility, but the challenge of being a publisher is juggling many jobs at once.

Textbook publishers may hire freelance editors to read over materials before print.
Textbook publishers may hire freelance editors to read over materials before print.
A textbook publisher helps editors decide which topics should be included and excluded from a particular book.
A textbook publisher helps editors decide which topics should be included and excluded from a particular book.

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