Shaping the world around us
Much of what we see and hear on television, radio, in the theatre and in cinemas started out as a book. British authors and illustrators – from JK Rowling and Ian McEwan to John le Carré and Quentin Blake – are read and celebrated around the world. British books inspire plays, musicals, films and television shows.
Educational, academic and professional books contribute over £1.3 billion to the UK economy every year. They define the UK’s status as a world-class centre for education and research, and drive scientific progress.
Scientific and technical books and journals published in the UK can be found in classrooms, libraries, laboratories and offices on every continent – and increasingly online, too. Ninety per cent of all scholarly journals are now available electronically, and the ways in which they can be consulted and cross-referenced are transforming academic research. The constant exchange of ideas and data which publishers facilitate between academics and researchers could one day lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s, or the world’s first truly carbon neutral car.
Of the 120,000 books that are published every year, a few will have an impact far beyond the dreams of their authors. In 2003 Vikas Swarup, an Indian diplomat based in London with an imminent posting in Pakistan, wrote a novel. It told the story of an uneducated, orphaned boy from the slums of Mumbai who wins a billion rupees on a fictional TV game show. It was called Q&A.
Two years later, it was discovered by a UK publisher. Q&A has now been translated into 37 languages, and won awards around the world. It has been adapted into an audio book, a radio play, a stage musical and a feature film, called Slumdog Millionaire, which has won eight Oscars, four Golden Globes, seven BAFTAs and five Critics’ Choice Awards. It has changed the lives of the actors. It has cemented the reputation of the director. And it has altered perceptions of India across the world.
All the result of a book published UK.