NYU Press kicks things off today with a quick note from author and New York Times editor Connie Rosenblum on the importance of University Presses in telling regional stories, such as the one found in her recent book Boulevard of Dreams: Heady Times, Heartbreak, and Hope Along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. She writes,
“At first glance, the subject might have seemed intensely local. But to my mind, the story of one of the most iconic, and most battered, urban areas in the nation was of profound importance, and I’m immensely grateful that NYU Press made it possible for that story to reach a broad audience.”
Columbia University Press earns bonus points for posting not one, but two, articles on the importance of university presses and their possible futures. The first is by Sheldon Pollock, who is the Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies at Columbia University. Pollock calls upon the university and its faculty to become more involved with university presses. The second from Jennifer Crewe, editorial director and associate director at Columbia University Press, describes university presses’ willingness and ability to innovate to meet new intellectual and economic challenges.
University of North Carolina Press offers a fascinating article from John Sherer, director of UNC Press, in which he reflects on his rewarding return to university press publishing after years of being “higher on the publishing food chain” in NYC trade publishing.
While there’s no doubt that the print runs and advances are smaller here, the world of university press publishing is hardly less complicated than its corporate cousins; nor is it less open to risk and reward. In fact, the challenges that university presses face are leading to a new spirit of entrepreneurship and putting a spotlight on the critical role they play in the academic and publishing ecosystems.
University of Virginia Press opens the forum to their author Catherine Allgor. Like so many university press authors, following the success of her earlier book, Dr. Allgor dipped a toe into trade publishing, only to discover the experience paled in comparison with the “holistic business” approach of a university press. I always have mixed feelings when I hear our authors are being courted by trade houses — it means we did our job of promoting their earlier books well and of course who can begrudge authors for wanting to be paid well for their work, but I am also secretly worried that they might not get the attention they deserve, too. Maybe some of them will eventually return to their university press roots, but for now, here is the “B-School takeaway” from Dr. Allgor:
“Excellence. Integrity. Unanimity. From beginning to end, the integrity of the ideas and the commitment to making the best book we could drove every decision. Author, editor, contributors, production people, marketing staff—we all had one aim in mind. We who wrote and edited struggled to fulfill the intellectual potential of presenting Mary Cutts’s biography of her famous aunt to a reading public. The process of creating this book with UVP has truly been an exercise in holistic business.”
And the final stop in the University Press Week Blog Tour is Oregon State University Press where they offer up a virtual smorgasbord of posts from authors and interns. The final post is from Jessica Kibbler, the George P. Griffis Publishing Intern, and reflects on how her experiences at OSU Press have opened her eyes to the digital possibilities in publishing. But, I encourage you to check out earlier articles from authors Richard Etulain (“University Presses: A Love Affair”), Robert Michael Pyle “(University Presses: Writing of Substance”), Brian Doyle (“University Presses: Telling Stories That Wouldn’t Be Told”), Ana Maria Spagna (“University Presses: What They Are (and Aren’t)“).