A wonderful part about being a small business is being able to do things (or try to do things!) that larger companies might not be interested in, or don’t think is worth their while. At Bright Red, we go out of our way to try and offer a bit extra to our customers whenever we can. This is why we distribute from our own wee warehouse in Fife to offer the quickest turnaround on orders and best customer service.
It is also why we spend a lot of time in the evenings throughout the school year attending Parents’ Nights across the country. Our customers really appreciate that we make the effort at no further cost (apart from our own time that is, but we throw that in for free!).
Another way we have been trying to make a difference with our new publishing over the last five years is to develop and produce guides for subjects that typically would not, or have never, attracted that kind of investment from a commercial publisher. Since 2013 we have published books for Accounting, Engineering Science, German, Practical Cake Craft, RMPS and Spanish. The cohorts for these subjects at National 5 and Higher level are small and have always cried out for good material to aid teachers and students. The books are marginal in terms of return but fill such big gaps in classrooms that we feel it is really important to commission projects to offer a useful resource.In 2016 we began to publish books for technical subjects and launched the list at the Technical Teachers’ Association Conference with our new Higher Graphic Communication Course Book. It went on to be a bestseller in the months that followed and attracted a lot of praise. We also published our Study Guide for National 5 Engineering Science and it, similarly, proved to be a great success. Suitably encouraged we went on to publish our National 5 Design and Manufacture Study Guide and we began to receive requests from teachers and pupils to think about commissioning more books in this area.
The remaining technical subjects were really quite small though and very practical in nature – could we effectively create a good resource that would appeal to teachers and students enough to rely on in the classroom? Our first attempt was our National 5 Practical Woodworking Study Guide which we published last August. It has proved an enormous success and the feedback has been incredible, including the response below from a technical teacher at a Highland secondary school,
‘Just received a Bright Red Study Guide for National 5 Practical Woodworking and I am massively impressed! Absolutely brilliant and hats off to all involved. I have been a techie teacher for 33 years and have never come across such a well written, well presented book as this, apart from what you produced for Higher Graphic Communication which was also fantastic. Very well done. To finally have a proper, decent resource for my main classes that I teach is such a huge benefit and will make my job much more manageable and will give the pupils an even better chance of reaching their potential in this subject.’
Not bad going! This is the kind of feedback that makes small educational publishing companies tick. We have pressed on with our plans for more technical projects and are looking forward to our Higher Engineering Science Study Guide publishing later this month. This is another first ever publication in the subject and is eagerly anticipated.
We have also just commissioned this week a guide for National 5 Practical Metalworking (you heard it here first!) and we can’t wait to get going on that.
So, it’s all getting a little bit technical, but it’s also hugely exciting to be able to tackle these projects and offer essential and vital resources to schools, teachers and students!