Issue 42 (June 2019)
Focus on: Recommending reading: where, who and how to suggest works and books
Coordinators: Lluís Quintana (UAB) and Lluís Agustí (UB)
Deadline for receiving originals: December 2018
Instructions for authors: https://bid.ub.edu/en/authors-guidelines
Traditionally, one of the key tasks of booksellers and librarians has been that of recommending or suggesting reading materials – the choice of term is debatable.
The historic crossroads resulting from the proliferation of multiple digital forms of reading and recommendations opens up numerous possibilities. Bookshops and public libraries, even schools and universities, have to confront major technological changes, such as the creation of social media networks for readers and the development of automated recommendations, which are clearly disruptive in their areas of activity. In this context, library, bookshop and school staff need to find new ways to maintain their role as cultural and reading mediators.
A review of the complete reading and recommendation chain is required, despite the uncertainty it may cause among professionals. Taking nothing for granted, it should cover: agents (who traditionally provided recommendations and who does so now?); the object of cultural consumption (what should be read? what is essential reading? what are the most widely-read genres?); the importance of the medium that produces reading materials (critics, journals, the social media); private and public planning (institutional plans to promote reading); and, finally, an assessment of the whole process: how should it be assessed and what impact has the whole recommendation task had?
In this context, research is needed into both classic and newly emerged recommendation routes to assess which tools are best, who the agents are and who the subjects are and to determine what media make the task effective.
In this issue we aim to gather reflections on all these aspects and examine them from different points of view. We hope to tackle the subject in more abstract and theoretical terms, from the perspective of education, literary criticism and history, as well as more specific terms, considering the way these issues affect professionals working in education and libraries, and other agents in the book value chain and institutions (publishers, distributors, booksellers, politicians, cultural leaders and book club organizers).
In order to reflect on the above, texts on the following topics will be considered for publication:
• What is reading? Hermeneutics, interpretation and decoding.
• Use of reading data: Who reads and what, when and where do they read?
• Analogue and digital reading: implications.
• The terms and concepts of reading suggestion, recommendation and accompaniment.
• Institutional reading promotion policies and plans.
• Suggestion agents: publishers, bookshops, libraries, cultural supplements and journals, reading platforms and social media.
• Reading promotion strategies and experiences in libraries and bookshops: exhibitions, developing collections, encouragement activities, book clubs, book presentations.
• Online and offline book clubs.
• New forms of motivation: literary routes, booktubers, bookstagrammers, book hauls, and more.
• Automatic recommendation: algorithms at the service of reading.
• Classics and cannon, the state of the art: concept, history, the present day and the future.
• Cannon and genre: works written by women, for women.
• Motivation and construction of national identity.
• Obligatory texts for formal education
• Excluded, forgotten and banned works.
• Literary criticism and motivation.
How to recommend and why, or why not, recommend different formats such as:
o Underrated genres such as poetry or drama.
o Literary genres: historical literature, crime, fantasy, science fiction.
o Non-fiction: popular science, essays, self-help.
o Children’s and young adult literature.
o Comics, manga and graphic novels.
o Successful works, best-sellers and long-sellers.