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The Scottish Publishers Association

Founded 30 years ago by a small group of Scottish Publishers, the Scottish Publishers Association (SPA) is a trade association representing nearly 80 Scottish publishing companies of varying size. The SPA was established to aid publishers in the marketing of their titles around the world. It exists to ensure that Scottish publishing is represented in all avenues of the book trade and to further the development of a literary culture in Scotland.

SPA at Frankfurt, 2004; Photo: Liz Small Some of the most important services that the SPA offers its member publishers, and is approached for, are advice, publishing and trade information and support. The SPA also offers networking and marketing opportunities and training for all members.

In addition the SPA implements research, develops projects and liaises with outside organisations which are considered to be of interest and benefit to the membership of the SPA.  Examples include universities, the British Council, Scottish Executive and Scottish Enterprise.


There are four categories of membership:

  • Full
  • Associate
  • Library
  • Small press

Membership categories of the SPA are dependent on the size and turnover of the company. Companies applying for membership should be based in Scotland. Please visit the SPA website for more information or click here for a list of SPA members.

Speakers at Book Party, 2004; Photo: Liz Small


A full programme of professional training courses is also organised every year. These courses are open to those within or interested in the publishing industry, such as students. The SPA offers a range of courses covering practical professional skills, such as proofreading, grammar and copy-editing as well as more business orientated seminars with subjects as diverse as e-marketing, copyright and contracts. In-house courses for organisations can also be arranged.

Trade Book Fairs

The SPA represents Scottish publishers at many international book fairs each year. Publisher members of all sizes are given the opportunity to display their titles on the SPA stand.

Storyteller Stuart McHardy, Gothenburg Book Fair

Fairs attended by the SPA include:

  • Bologna Children's Book Fair
  • BookExpo America
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Educational Resources Scotland
  • Frankfurt Book Fair
  • London International Book Fair
  • Scotland's International Trade Fair

The SPA has also recently attended book fairs in Prague, Gothenburg and Frankfurt. Frankfurt is the most important trade fair for publishing in terms of buying and selling rights, meeting international distributors and raising an international company or product profile. This year, Frankfurt attracted almost 270,500 visitors. The SPA stand represented 22 Scottish companies in 2004, and developed many good international contacts.

Book Source

The SPA is the majority shareholder in BookSource, a warehousing and worldwide distribution service for trade publishers, charities and other commercial enterprises. The unique set up of BookSource allows for a greater amount of investment in company resources and a sophisticated ordering system.

* The Scottish Publishers Association
* Literature homepage
* The Gothenburg Book Fair
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