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Virtual realities in Brobdingnag and Lilliput: gulfs and bridges between large and small publishers

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This article argues that the trend towards larger and larger publishing conglomerates is happening in parallel with apparently paradoxical changes in attitudes and approaches towards work and the organization of work. These changes, include for example remote working and the increasingly powerful potential of ‘outsourcing’. Looking at a publishing environment now populated mainly by very large and very small companies, the article suggests a symbiotic relationship between these giants and pygmies. It then looks at major characteristics of small publishers and how such companies can exploit the advantages of smallness to survive and succeed. The specific case of IP Publishing Ltd is used to illustrate some options for small publishers, including their opportunity to operate as ‘virtual’ companies. Finally, the article suggests that small companies can be useful to large corporations as indicators of change.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1998-10-01

More about this publication?
  • Editor in Chief: Pippa Smart
    North American Editor: Judy Luther

    Learned Publishing is the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The journal is published quarterly in January/April/July/October.

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    Learned Publishing will be moving to Wiley-Blackwell as of January 1, 2016. Please contact the publisher at for information on how to continue access to this title.
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