Elgar original reference
Edited by Rolf Sternberg and Gerhard Krauss
Chapter 9: Places, publishers and personal ties: the relational qualities of urban environments for book publishers
Book publishers act as cultural mediators. Personal networks and face-to-face contacts with authors, booksellers, colleagues and people from the press are crucial for their business. This is in accordance with the literature on cultural entrepreneurship, which emphasizes the importance of informal personal networks and relations outside the work sphere as decisive parts of the local business climate. This argument is often linked to the geographical concentration of such entrepreneurs in urban cultural clusters. The role of place and personal networks in publishing, however, is more complex than is assumed in 'cluster success stories'. Through in-depth interviews with book publishers in and outside the Amsterdam cluster of publishers, we demonstrate that the categorization into formal and informal networks does not do sufficient justice to the different motives and loyalties of book publishers in their business relations. Moreover, geographical proximity per se does not matter to publishers as a quality of the urban environment. What are important for trust, socialization and dealing with different loyalties in the tension between commerce and culture are the relational and emotive aspects of place.
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