Rapid development of textbooks
Thornes needed to produce a substantial portfolio of new textbooks and
supporting materials to support AQA’s revised GCSE specifications in more than
50 different subjects. The new books had to hit the market on time, which called
for lightning-fast development schedules. Nelson Thornes did not have
sufficient in-house staff to achieve this challenge, or time to recruit and
train new team members.
is a very ambitious publishing project,’ said Nelson Thornes’ publishing
manager Bob Wood. ‘We needed a reliable, professional and expert organisation
to support our in-house team. When we spoke to Wordhouse, we were very
impressed with their pedigree.’
collaborated with Nelson Thornes in a number of ways and carried out the
following key roles:
and commissioning authors and subject advisors
the authors through the writing, reviewing and revision process
and developing the draft materials to ensure instructional effectiveness.
book was conceived and planned as an extended sequence of four-colour, highly
illustrated double-page spreads – as in the example from one of the textbooks shown above left. But they were not stand-alone books. The GCSE specifications called
for ‘relevant and engaging content’, with student and teacher print and digital
resources to match.
total, Wordhouse developed 11 of the new books. Each was meticulously planned,
including how they would interact with the corresponding digital resources for
the subject area. Where necessary, Wordhouse carried out market research to
test the commercial viability of the book. Wordhouse also steered the books through
Nelson Thorne’s internal investment procedures, providing evidence of profitability
and feasibility, using in-house proposal and project validation processes.
management was equally detailed. Wordhouse managed a large and disparate team
of authors, editors and AQA advisers throughout the writing process, right up
to the point of handover to Nelson Thornes’ production department. Wordhouse’s project
management and development editing expertise ensured the books’ fitness for
purpose and instructional effectiveness.
flexibility provided by Wordhouse allowed Nelson Thornes to temporarily
increase editorial capacity to meet intense production schedules. The eleven
books were published on time and within budget, meeting the highly detailed and
demanding specifications set by AQA.
Wood said: 'This has proved a very successful working partnership. As well as
fulfilling the brief, Wordhouse has kept us informed at all stages, providing
us with tracking information and meeting us face-to-face as necessary. They
have also made valuable suggestions for improvements.'