In Honor of University Press Week (#UPWeek) Princeton University Press Authors Share the Importance of University Presses

 

“University presses have been essential not only for advancing the critical study of American literature but, perhaps more important, for making (and keeping) available reliable texts of American writers whose works don’t have the immediate commercial potential that would attract the interest of most trade publishers. The Library of America, on whose board I sit, depends on the scrupulous editorial work of university presses (other examples would be the Ohio State edition of the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne) for bringing the best texts to a broader public. My own experience with university presses–Harvard, University of Missouri (for which I co-edited one volume of Emerson’s sermons), and, most recently, Princeton–is that editorial support is first-rate, and attention to the manuscript meticulous,  And, of course, it is a gift to any author to know that his or her work is likely to remain in print long after the first phase of public attention has passed. In short, university presses are invaluable–among many other reasons– for their role in preserving our national literary culture.”

~ Andrew Delbanco, Author of  College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be

 

“For me, the value of university presses is immense. Among their many important contributions is their support of the so-called ‘long tail’ of the publishing industry — books that do not necessarily attract a wide audience, but nevertheless have importance for our culture or society. But university presses are also able to meld popularity with intellectual rigor. One example is Princeton’s recent  reprinting of Andrew Hodges’ extraordinary biography of Alan Turing.  It’s great that this book, described in a New Yorker review as ‘one of the finest scientific biographies ever written is available to the public in a special new edition for Turing’s centenary year.”

~ John MacCormick, Author of 9 Algorithms That Changed the Future

 

 

University presses allow us to disseminate ideas in long form and in a way that enables more people both within my field and in the social sciences more generally to learn about new research through an interdisciplinary channel.  Articles are often published in journals that are very narrow and specific, and thus can be overlooked by scholars in other fields or areas of concentration. University press books are much more accessible to a wider academic audience while maintaining academic rigor and excellence. In my world, if one is to publish books at all, a university press is essential to tenure.  Additionally, university presses are very focused on upholding the integrity of the research and reference to the scholarly context in which my work emerged from. Many editors at university presses are very up to date on the research in the field and are actively engaged in the ideas and research all along the way from inception of the idea to the page proofs.  My experience with Princeton University Press was wonderful and fun from beginning to end. I could not recommend a publishing house more.”

~ Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, Author of The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art, andMusic DriveNew York City(New Edition)

 

“University presses have special importance in the field of economics, and I suspect others, for two primary reasons. First, unlike journals, which are typically more stringently constrained by space, academic presses give scholars  the ‘leg room’ they require to elaborate their ideas, allowing them the opportunity to develop and share the bigger picture surrounding their scholarship. Second, unlike journals, which typically reserve space for narrower contributions the details of which have been fully worked out, university presses permit scholars to explore potentially important and ‘expansive,’ albeit at the time of writing, still largely speculative ideas–the kind of ideas that provide fertile soil for future contributions to knowledge.”

~ Pete T. Leeson, Author of The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates

 

“The university press serves as a signal to everyone in my field that the work has been peer reviewed to a rigorous standard and deemed valuable by experts in the field. It’s the highest endorsement for a book in Political Science. The university presses are willing to go the extra mile to publish the necessary graphics and tables that enrich my arguments and provide the real value in my books. The high quality of everything they do, from the feel of the paper down to the simplicity of the graphic design signals readers that what is inside is important.

The university presses are serving the scientific and artistic communities in a way that a commercial press could not do–it’s sort of the difference between the big-budget studio film and the quirky independent film, we love them both but for different reasons.  And books, like films, would be less complete without the smaller niche market offerings.”

~ Lynn Vavreck, author of The Message Matters: The Economy and Presidential Campaigns