I was disappointed to see the North Carolina Historical Review’s otherwise positive assessment of Andrew and Alex Lichtenstein’s Marked, Unmarked, Remembered conclude with the suggestion that “the main flaw of the book” is that “academic publishers generally have great difficulty reaching a widespread public audience.” As director at West Virginia University Press, which published the… Continue reading A response to the North Carolina Historical Review
The current system of scholarly publishing is dying, and dying fast. Academic print books are dying. Several presses have closed and almost all are struggling. Not all presses will survive. Most of the presses will die.
I’m pleased to host the blog’s first guest post, by John Hussey, senior key accounts sales manager at Ingram Content Group, a leading book distributor. Here’s John: In 2014, I penned an article for Against the Grain titled “Academic Publishing Is Not in Crisis—It’s Just Changing” in which I described the transformation of university press publishing… Continue reading Guest post: Academic publishing is not in crisis—it’s still just changing
Here are some of my favorite statistics about university press publishing: One university press has closed since 2010. 83% of scholarly monographs find a publisher. 70–80% of faculty prefer print for book-length reading. 20–25% of university press sales are to libraries (down from approximately 70% in the 1970s). At the University of California, 7% of… Continue reading Emplotting the recent history of university press publishing
I spend a lot of time thinking about the disconnect between people who do the work of scholarly publishing and people who write about it. Detached contemplation and analysis have their (important) place, but the insights of information science types, think tankers, and other observers of scholarly communication often strike me as difficult to square with… Continue reading The making of a successful university press book; or: What information science misses about publishing
Open access (for books anyway) has been slow to take. Currently about one percent of new scholarly books are OA, most of them presumably in the UK, where OA is often a matter of policy. That small return is based on an enormous investment of time, effort, and resources. I think it was the wrong… Continue reading The wrong moonshot
This piece was originally posted on the University of Nebraska Press blog as part of UP Week in 2013. There are lots of ways of telling people you live in the middle. Here’s mine: When I zoom all the way out on my phone’s GPS, the blue you-are-here dot pulses between the “d” and the… Continue reading Publishing, region, and place
A recent Chronicle piece on university libraries and what it describes as their pivot away from books has me thinking (with help from some friends on twitter) about the increase in library-reporting university presses. It’s a sensitive topic that doesn’t always, I think, receive a lot of attention or get treated with sufficient nuance. University… Continue reading Libraries and publishers
The Chronicle Review asked members of the university press community to respond to a set of questions about the state of the field; it’s a good piece and I encourage you to read it. I was flattered to have some of my responses quoted in the article and have, with permission, posted my full answers below. 1. What… Continue reading The state of university press publishing (questions from the Chronicle Review)
There are two variables to watch when people talk about scholarly publishing: the cost of publishing a book, and who pays that cost. Plans to push the model in an open access direction, like the new AAU-ARL-AAUP initiative announced last month, focus entirely on the latter, as far as I can tell. That is, the cost… Continue reading It costs $35K to publish a scholarly book. Who should pay that?