Announcing PUP Audio

PUP Audio

Princeton University Press (PUP) is pleased to announce the launch of PUP Audio. Overseen by Digital and Audio Publisher Kim Williams, PUP Audio will work closely with the UK-based production company Sound Understanding, which specializes in nonfiction. PUP Audio books will be available globally across a variety of platforms and libraries, with no exclusive deal for distribution.

The goal for the inaugural season is the publication of six front list titles in simultaneous print, electronic, and audio editions, as well as a selection of recent backlist. PUP Audio will increase its production of audio titles in future seasons.

According to Princeton University Press Director Christie Henry, “Recognizing the importance of listening as a fundamental component of learning, and with a mission to contribute to the growth of knowledge, we believe audio publishing offers an exciting opportunity to engage listeners and animate book-based conversations the world over. We are keen to adapt to ever-evolving new technologies to ensure that PUP content reaches a diverse and dynamic community, and audiobooks speak to this commitment.”

Digital and Audio Publisher Kim Williams also cites clear market growth in audio books as an important factor in the launch of PUP Audio: “The growth of the audio market for nonfiction has been dramatic in recent years, and alongside the many people trying the format for the first time, there is a growing cohort of loyal audio consumers for whom audio is the first choice of format. PUP has benefitted from the expertise of audio consultants and the many listeners among our staff in developing PUP Audio, and we look forward to publishing audio editions of the highest production and narration standards, and promoting them alongside our print and e-book editions.”

A report from the Association of American Publishers indicates audiobook revenue was up 29.5 percent in 2017, from the year before. In the UK, audiobook downloads were up 22 percent in 2017, according to data released by the Publishers Association in June.

The PUP Audio front list list titles set for fall publication include: On the Future: Prospects for Humanity by Martin Rees, Britain’s Astronomer Royal; Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology by National Book Award Finalist Adrienne Mayor; Making Up Your Own Mind: Thinking Effectively through Creative Puzzle Solving by Ed Burger, a mathematician and President of Southwestern University; and Workers’ Tales: Socialist Fairy Tales, Fables, and Allegories from Great Britain, edited by the prolific children’s book author Michael Rosen.

North American & Australian Contact:

Julia Haav
(609) 258-2831
julia_haav@press.princeton.edu                     

European Contact:

Caroline Priday
011-44-1993-814503
caroline_priday@press.princeton.edu

Sarah Caro: University Press Redux Conference

Sarah Caro is the Editorial Director in Social Science at Princeton University Press, based in our UK office. 

Working for university presses most of my career, I have never really questioned their future or indeed the importance of what they do both for the academic communities they serve and the world beyond. I always felt so passionate about what I and my colleagues were doing, so excited by the privilege of working with such a range of fascinating people and ideas, I  assumed everyone else felt the same way too. But perhaps I was being complacent. Perhaps to others outside the world of university press publishing it seems a rarified, mysterious, even irrelevant endeavour.  

There is certainly no doubt that many people have little idea what university presses do, as we were reminded in the opening session of the University Press Redux Conference held at the British Library in London last week. Our own former director Peter Dougherty was quoted as saying, ‘We are a secret. The world needs to know about the great things we do.’ There was much discussion over the two days about the need to communicate all we have to offer more broadly. There may be a tendency to hide our light under a bushel, but the two days of presentations and lively debate could leave no one in any doubt that the UP is not only alive and kicking but also a many varied and splendid thing. Redux indeed.

One striking aspect of the conference is the huge variety in the university press world not only in terms of  output—everything from scholarly monographs, to textbooks, books for a broader audience including cookery books, guide books and natural history, journals, online resources and born digital projects—but also the different ways they reach their audiences and the very different relationships they have with their host institutions. Some UPs are essentially run by their university library services, others are more or less autonomous. Some are run as quasi commercial operations, even returning a surplus to their host institution, while others are dedicated to Open Access. And they are truly global. One of the most interesting sessions I attended included presentations on university presses in Africa and Australia and there were also delegates from presses across the whole of the UK, US, Canada and Europe.

Despite this huge variety, or perhaps because of it, there is a also an incredible sense of community. University presses exist within the world not just of academia but the real world of current events and politics—as was dramatically illustrated by a rather heated debate about the latest OA requirements of the UK government’s main Higher Education funding body. Whatever the differences in how we operate we are all grappling with the same challenges of new technology, diversity, social media, accessibility and simply trying to do what we do better.

I left the BL on the last afternoon, exhausted and full of cold but convinced that the world of the university press is not rarefied (you certainly wouldn’t call it that after some of the more ‘trenchant’ comments during the OA debate), and while occasionally a little bit mysterious, it is always relevant. Relevant because it is about ideas and ideas do not exist without people.

Kim Williams: How to write a book for audio

PUP’s International Rights Director Kim Williams shares her top tips for writing for audio format.

The audio book sector is the fastest growing area of book publishing right now, and chances are you’ve noticed people beginning to talk about listening to audio books, seen advertisements for audio, or you’re one of the 67 million audio book listeners in the US (5.5 million in the UK). Audible now has over 200,000 audio books available for download on its retail platform, while Google Play has just launched the format in 45 countries and nine languages. Looking at library lending statistics, Overdrive have just announced that there were 68 million audio books borrowed worldwide using their library app in 2017, a 24% increase on the previous year.

PUP has been working with audio publishers for ten years to produce some of our books in audio format. In that time, around two hundred of our books have been recorded and published in a digital audio edition. Some of our most successful audio books have sold more than ten thousand copies, and one book has sold over 40,000 copies; we are certain that audio sales are a meaningful way to bring our scholarly ideas to the world, and industry statistics seem to agree.

I took on responsibility for audio book licensing in 2017. Here are my top tips for writing nonfiction books that will succeed as audio books.

Write for listeners. When you’re crafting your book, can you imagine a reader (narrator/voice actor) speaking the words you’re typing? Avoid overcomplicated sentences, sub-clauses, and excessive length. Your reader will need to breathe, and wants to record the book without too many takes.

If visual data is necessary, describe it. If your book relies on charts, tables, or photographs, it’s not an automatic barrier to producing an audio book, but some adaptations will need to be made for the audio book. Publishers can provide a PDF of the visual data for buyers, but listeners respond well to a brief description. This can be added in for the audio edition alone, or carefully built into the text with your editor’s guidance.

Listeners are faithful to narrators. Opinions vary on who is best placed to voice non-fiction books, but increasingly buyers of audio books are aware of who is reading the edition, and will buy books because they like the reader’s voice.  Recording is fast-paced, handled best by production professionals and sound engineers (the unsung heroes of the audio world), and it’s rare for our authors to record their own books.

Long books can be great for audio. One feature that makes some of our finest scholarship perfect for audio is that long books can work well in audio. Subscribers like to get lots of listening hours for their membership fee and will often happily listen to books that are 20-30 hours long. (Rights Director note – there are competing pressures for translated books, so for now let’s assume that there’s no substitute for rigorous editing and revision!)

Narrators need pronunciation guides. Both publishers and scholars can be guilty of a bewildering array of acronyms and abbreviations, which become normalized when you use them every day. Lots of this will be addressed for the book itself, but it’s surprising how unfamiliar acronyms, place and people names, scientific names and other phrasing can suddenly be if you’re forced to say them out loud rather than merely read them. If it seems likely that the book will be produced in audio, you could write pronunciations into a glossary or a separate pronunciation guide to save time when the book is recorded.

I hope these tips are a helpful starter and we welcome your suggestions, too. If you’re new to audio books, you can download one free audio book from Audible, get 50% off your first audio book purchase from Google Play, borrow CDs from your local library, or use your library download service. Let us know if you #LoveAudiobooks!

Essential Reading in Natural History

Princeton University Press is excited to have a wide variety of excellent titles in natural history. From the Pacific Ocean, to horses, to moths, our books cover a range of topics both large and small. As summer winds down, take advantage of the last weeks of warm weather by bringing one of our handy guides out into the field to see if you can spot a rare butterfly or spider. To find your next read, check out this list of some of our favorite titles in natural history, and be sure to visit our website for further reading.

Britain’s Mammals by Dominic Couzens, Andy Swash, Robert Still, and Jon Dun is a comprehensive and beautifully designed photographic field guide to all the mammals recorded in the wild in Britain and Ireland in recent times.

Mammals

Horses of the World by Élise Rousseau, with illustrations by Yann Le Bris, is a beautifully illustrated and detailed guide to the world’s horses.

Horses

A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America, Second Edition, by Jeffrey Glassberg is a thoroughly revised edition of the most comprehensive and authoritative photographic field guide to North American butterflies.

Butterflies

Big Pacific by Rebecca Tansley is the companion book to PBS’s five-part mini series that breaks the boundaries between land and sea to present the Pacific Ocean and its inhabitants as you have never seen them before.

Pacific

Britain’s Spiders by Lawrence Bee, Geoff Oxford, and Helen Smith is a photographic guide to all 37 of the British families.

Spiders

The second edition of Garden Insects of North America by Whitney Cranshaw and David Shetlar is a revised and updated edition of the most comprehensive guide to common insects, mites, and other “bugs” found in the backyards and gardens of the United States and Canada.

Cranshaw

Last but not least, Mariposas Nocturnas is a stunning portrait of the nocturnal moths of Central and South America by famed American photographer Emmet Gowin.

Gowin

Statement on immigration order from AAUP/ARL

The Association of American University Presses along with the Association of Research Libraries has released the following joint statement, re-posted here in full from the AAUP website.

Research Libraries, University Presses Oppose Trump’s Immigration Order

January 30, 2017—President Trump’s recent executive order temporarily barring entry into the US by individuals from seven countries is contrary to the values held by libraries and presses, and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) stand unequivocally opposed to this immigration ban.

The order blocks some members of our communities as well as students, researchers, authors, faculty, and their families from entering or returning to the United States if they are currently abroad or leave the country, even if they hold the required visas. The ban will diminish the valuable contributions made to our institutions and to society by individuals from the affected countries. This discriminatory order will deeply impact the ability of our communities to foster dialogue, promote diversity, enrich understanding, advance the progress of intellectual discovery, and ensure preservation of our cultural heritage.

The work we do—particularly the books we publish and collect—illuminates the past and sheds new light on current conversations; informed by this work we believe that the rationale for the ban both ignores history and places assumptions ahead of facts. More importantly, this decision will greatly harm some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. The United States should not turn its back on refugees who are fleeing their war-torn homes and have already endured long, extensive screening procedures in the relocation process.

Finally, while temporary, the ban will have a long-term chilling effect on free academic inquiry. This order sends a clear message to researchers, scholars, authors, and students that the United States is not an open and welcoming place in which to live and study, conduct research, write, and hold or attend conferences and symposia. The ban will disrupt and undermine international academic collaboration in the sciences, the humanities, technology, and global health.

ARL and AAUP have longstanding histories of and commitments to diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. As social institutions, research libraries, archives, and university presses strive to be welcoming havens for all members of our communities and work hard to be inclusive in our hiring, collections, books and publications, services, and environments. The immigration ban in its current form is antithetical to notions of intellectual freedom and free inquiry fundamental to the missions of libraries and presses. By serving as inclusive communities, research libraries, archives, and university presses have deeply benefited from the contributions of students, faculty, staff, and scholars of all backgrounds and citizenships.

ARL and AAUP support all members of their communities and all students, researchers, authors, and faculty who are impacted by this executive order. The two associations urge President Trump to rescind this order and urge Congress to intervene on behalf of those affected by the immigration ban.

Media Contact
John Michael Eadicicco
jeadicicco@aaupnet.org
+1 917 244-3859

About the Association of American University Presses
The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) is an organization of over 140 international nonprofit scholarly publishers. Since 1937, AAUP advances the essential role of a global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. The Association holds integrity, diversity, stewardship, and intellectual freedom as core values. AAUP members are active across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, arts, and sciences, publish significant regional and literary work, and are innovators in the world of digital publishing.

About the Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.