It’s a problem we already had on bookogs but I think it was never solved completely. How to deal with publisher names over time and publishing logos. I added a book by “Franck-Kosmos Verlags GmbH & Co. KG” which was previously known as “Franckh’sche Verlagshandlung, W. Keller & Co” and “Franckh’sche Verlagshandlung”. All the covers only use “Kosmos”.

Is there a rule, when to split publishers or should the other names and the short name be listed as aliases? What if the company structure changed over time?



It is an extremely complex matter as there are various entities that can be interpreted as the same thing: publisher, imprint and publisher series.

Publishers can be listed in different ways: e.g. their full registered company name or an abbreviated form (or variations thereof). Also the name of the publisher could have been altered over the history of the company.

An imprint can be credited as the publisher in many books. A lot of imprints began life as independent publishing companies and over time have been acquired by major publishing firms. Imprints that have been acquired are sometimes referred to as divisions of the parent company.

It is difficult to fully define a publisher series as these can often match the criteria of an imprint. Even publishers can refer to their ‘series’ as ‘imprints’.

The situation becomes even more difficult when these vague terms are encountered by non-English speaking contributors.

I know that Goodreads allows users to list the full publisher name, a truncated form of the name or the imprint (I have even seen publisher series listed as the publisher on that site). I suppose the ethos is that it is better to have some identifying data than nothing at all. Publishers can’t be searched on Goodreads, so this is not a critical piece of data.

The BB Edition editor page (I believe) only allows the contributor to list one publisher, so nuances of imprint and publisher series can’t be entered separately, so the only solution is to detail this information in the ‘Annotation’ section.

I see two options:
• Use the Goodreads ‘anything goes’ approach, or
• Refine the Edition editor page so that additional data can be entered and trust contributors to interpret the definition of the category as best they can (Bookogs method).

@Madir I haven’t answered your question regarding name changes because this is such a complex matter that it raises all sorts of issues.

Good morning (Ok I think it’s time for the cup of tea in your world)…

What I like about BB is the relation utility. That will help also with the publishers. There are already a few relations:

“Imprint of” and others can be added later.

Definitely time for an afternoon beverage in my part of the world☕️

I must admit the relationship system is something that I haven’t even started to explore and it has great potential to solve problems like historical name changes and even the publisher/imprint/publisher series conundrum.

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One thing that is dearly missing in a variety of places are dates.

For example, if aliases had dates, you could say a publisher was called ABC from its creation until 1978, then BCD from 1978 to 1999, then became a division of a large publishing group from 1999 onwards.

Similarly for relationships, date would allow to describe changes over time: “BCD was merged into Big Publishing Group in 1999”.

As a side not, the database schema has provisions for multiple publishers for an edition.
However at the moment we only allow to enter and display a single one.
With your help to address and write down guidelines for how multiple publisher should be used, we can allow multiple publishers and try to solve some of these issues.

That sounds a good idea.

The history of company acquisitions and mergers is very difficult to research, especially if this occurred more than 20 years ago and you almost need to be a corporate lawyer to understand what occurred. However, if the dates are known then it would be helpful to have a field where you can add them.

This is similar to the problem cited by @Madir.

Viking Press was founded in 1925. During its history it was also referred to as Viking Press Inc. and Viking.

The company was acquired by Penguin in 1975 and became known as Viking Penguin, but it was also referred to as Viking.

At some stage the name Viking Penguin was dropped and it became Viking (or even Viking Books).

To add to the confusion Viking could be correctly determined as the imprint name or a shortened version of the publisher name.

How do you faithfully represent all of these relationship changes?

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Another conundrum, Pocket Books:

Pocket Books is a division of Simon & Schuster that primarily publishes paperback books.

Publisher or Imprint?

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