Last night I was having dinner with one of my new roommates, who is completing her fifth year in the chemistry PhD program at MIT (!). We talked for a while about what she does each day in the lab, and then she started asking me questions about the Emerson publishing program. Of course I got excited, because I love talking about publishing, and I told her how much of a crazy hit-or-miss kind of industry publishing is. Then she asked me a question that actually relates to some of the things I'll be studying more in-depth later this semester.
Her parents live in Switzerland and she asked, "Why is it that some books seem to come out sooner in other countries, or that the paperbacks come out sooner in other countries?"
I was then able to explain to her a little bit about subsidiary (sub) rights and how the sale of these rights impacts when books are published in what country. For instance, My Great Novel may be published by Pidal Press in the U.S. in hardback, but the rights have also been sold for it to be published in English and in paperback in France. (Of course there's more to this subject but I'd like to delve into it more deeply as I learn more about it later this summer.)
She had no idea that the whole sale of rights in publishing was such a huge thing, and she seemed genuinely interested. It served to further validate what I'm studying and it also made me think that yes, people who aren't involved in publishing are interested in this stuff too, because they genuinely have no idea what goes on behind the closed doors of the publishing industry. (Not that I know a ton more than they do, having not yet worked in the "pub biz" [as my old coworker used to call it] myself, but I'm just going by what my professors are telling me.)
So there you have it. Relevance! Interest in my studies by someone who is not studying anything remotely related to it! Validation! Fun anecdote! Call it what you will, but it was really cool to talk about the stuff I'm studying outside of the classroom. I just wanted to share/brag about that in here. Longer post on fair use coming soon.