Week 4: Westview Press

July 23rd, 2013

Tyler VanderGaast ’15, Waln Fellow in Publishing

 This week began with finishing up some training with Brooke (our editorial assistant and Cornell alum) that we had started late last week.  I worked on M-listing and inputing the information for a new edition of a textbook into our database, Title Management; this is the official database that updates and feeds out every day to external websites like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, and other textbook sites to give them the correct information about our current and upcoming books. Another step in this process is to update our own records with the specifics from the signed author contracts, so that everyone within Westview can research the progress of the book at any time.

    During my time at Westview, I’ve had to rely on my multi-tasking skills quite often. While maintaining review programs and taking on new tasks for both marketing and editorial, (both extended and short term) it’s necessary to balance deadlines and the progress of each project to ensure that each is completed on time. They all require different levels of focus and work put in, but as a Cornellian, I am very aware of how I can best distribute my skills and time to make due dates.

Another skill I’ve been drawing from pretty often is my familiarity of Excel. I had no idea how often Excel was used in the professional world- but it really is the most ubiquitous and helpful of tools. It’s sort of the glue that holds this whole publishing process together- or makes it coherent anyway!

On Wednesday I attended a Digital Production introduction meeting to get a clearer backdrop of what happens in our digital department. This department is basically responsible for converting all of our new and old textbooks into e-books, which are then sold to vendors. Our team manages contracts with over 660 different vendors nationwide that purchase files of our textbooks to sell to students and consumers in digital format. It was super interesting to get a backstage look at how text files are converted to ebook files and what it’s like to work with some of the world’s most prominent vendors (google, amazon, barnes and noble, etc).

Thursday brought a Production presentation that I had the chance to sit in on- giving a brief overview (and when I say brief, I really mean 45 min long) of the entire production process, from when they receive files of each chapter of the book to when they send it off to the printers and the warehouse. People were able to give feedback on the presentation and it was fun to see the dynamic between the team, many of whom have been working for Westview for years.

The weekend was warm and beautiful, and I got the chance to visit the giant waterpark, WaterWorld, in Denver in my free time. As I am learning, there are many things that are larger and more crowded that aren’t in Iowa.

Despite the sunburn, I am ready to head back to another week at Westview. Until next week!

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