University Process

May 16 2018

Interesting information regarding university presses

Several weeks ago, NAIPR Director Chuck Erickson sent us a lengthy article from the Centre Daily Times of Centre County, PA, the home of State Collegeand thus of Pennsylvania State University. Titled “Red ink prompts PSU Press to scale back efforts”, the article by reporter Margaret Hopkins took a broad and often discouraging look at the economics of scholarly publishing in this era.

Looking at various university presses from Maine to California, Hopkins has assembled data which show significant steps backward for many presses in terms of output, distribution, staffing and maintaining other cost parameters, and the like. One consequence has been a move toward sharing expanding costs on an increasingly cooperative basis.

For example, the University of Michigan Press has shut down its warehouse and distribution service and instead will use thatof the University of Chicago Press.

“The University of Illinois Press has lopped 20 titles off its list in response to a decrease in state funds,” the article goes on.

The University of California Press has cut five academic fields from its publication list.

Print-on-demand is one approach being considered for cutting overall costs; although that will result in higher costs per book sold, the costs of inventory maintenance would be significantly decreased.

Another avenue receiving strong consideration at many university presses is electronic, or on-line, publishing, probably not good news for the independent representative. There are even those who think that paperless scholarly communication may be imminent. On the other hand, they may be the same folks who predicted 50 years ago that the ‘teaching machine’ meant the demise of the book in the (then) near future.

NAIC winter meeting skipped

It has been decided that there will not be a NAIPR meeting this November or December in New York during sales meetings. A careful charting and review of the days available for such a meeting suggest that calling one would be a wasted effort. During this transition year in what is in fact turning out to be a major shift from December to November meetings, no single date has emerged as one which would be available and convenient to a significant number of members.We will therefore hold off until May in the hope of getting as many as possible together during that period. We’ll try to make up for this lack with that meeting!