by Tyler M. Carey, Chief Revenue Officer
Late last month, I headed back across the Atlantic to visit with our growing customer base in the United Kingdom, as well as spend some time with Tim Davies, the Managing Director of our UK subsidiary. After spending another week visiting customers and attending conferences with him, I continue to be amazed at the depth of understanding of the strategic challenges facing publishers that Tim brings to even the most basic of engagements regarding editorial and composition services. Westchester, along with our clients are exceptionally fortunate to have Tim on board.
In addition to being in town for the Children’s Conference and the monthly BookMachine meeting, Tim and I also had the opportunity to formally celebrate the opening of our UK office in Stratford-upon-Avon. Gathering with some customers, partners, and a few bottles of prosecco, we toasted this milestone in expanding our presence in the UK, and got to continue the week’s trend of meeting with publishers to better understand their particular take on the publishing landscape.
While I was in England, I also attended two events with the Stationers’ Company, the UK-based publishing guild that I joined last year. The Stationers’ Company plays an active role in the UK publishing industry, drawing members from all portions of publishing and media, from the paper industry to printers, writers, editors, publishers, typesetters, newspaper journalists, and more. The Sunday after I arrived, the historic Stationers’ Hall was opened to the public for tours as part of Open House London. I volunteered to help, providing background about the hall to visitors who wanted to see the architecture or learn more about the Stationers’ as a livery company. The hall itself, built after the great fire, sits upon the prior hall used by the guild, where Shakespeare’s folio had been registered for copyright. While I knew enough of the history and trivia to welcome people into the hall for the Open House, my fellow publishing colleagues gave me even more interesting background about the building, including the fact that the King James Bible had initially been debated in committee in the original hall on that location. The plane tree in the courtyard is also noted for having been planted on the ashes of burnt, pirated books, accounting for how it is one of the oldest and largest plane trees in London.
I tacked on a few vacation days to this trip to take in a West Ham soccer game, and for the last Stationers’ event of my trip. As shared in a blog post earlier this year, a privilege under guild membership is the annual marching of the sheep across London Bridge. A centuries-old tradition, guild members marching a flock of sheep into London is symbolic of the privilege of doing business within the city. I joined my fellow Stationers’ – and the members of other livery companies – to gather together and walk across the bridge with our sheep, documented by Guildhall in their records for eternity. Not a baaaaa-d way to end a trip to London. (Sheep-ish apologies)
Are you based in the UK and interested in learning more about how Westchester can help you with your editorial and production needs? Contact us to arrange a discussion at the Frankfurt Book Fair, FutureBook, or at a meeting in between these next two conferences for the Westchester UK team.