Recent NATION Article Highlights University Presses

The Nation‘s Scott Sherman takes a close look at institutions like Princeton University Press in a recent article entitled “University Presses Under Fire: How the Internet and slashed budgets have endangered one of higher education’s most important institutions.” Sherman writes:

… the network of university presses has become a vibrant part of the publishing ecosystem. It encompasses giants such as Oxford University Press, which has fifty-two offices around the world, as well as Duquesne University Press, which specializes in medieval and Renaissance studies. University presses publish a vast range of scholarship, but they also publish a dizzying array of books that are unlikely to find a home at Manhattan’s large commercial publishers. Consider some recent offerings: Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen’s An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions (Princeton); Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker’s Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (California); Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark (Texas), edited by Chad Hammett; and Warren Hoffman’s The Great White Way: Race and the Broadway Musical (Rutgers).

University presses don’t just publish books: they keep books in print and rescue out-of-print books from obscurity. Thanks to the University of Minnesota Press, there is an attractive new edition of Gary Giddins’s Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker (1986). “People sometimes dismiss university press publications as low-selling, but that underestimates their cultural importance and influence,” says Doug Armato, director of the University of Minnesota Press. “When you look at the endnotes of bestselling serious books—Robert Caro’s biographies of Lyndon Johnson are a good example—you see how much they are built on work published by university presses.” And occasionally there is a runaway success: Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is published by Harvard University Press.

Read the article in its entirety through the Nation.

 

2-4 foreignaffairsbook

No Matter How You Say It — It’s Still “On Bullshit” — books in translation for #UPWeek

Peter Dougherty’s consideration of the impact of translations for university presses is available here. One of the best parts of getting our books into translation, is seeing what the foreign publishers do with the cover, title, and design. This poster illustrates a few interpretations of the NY Times best-seller On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt. On Bullshit is one of our success stories. It has been published in more than 25 languages.

onBullshit

Day 3 of the #UPWeek Blog Tour focuses on specialty subjects from some of our colleagues

upweekFor Day 3 of the University Press Week Blog Tour, we turn our attention to the content–the subjects of the books, journals, series, and everything else–we publish. This is an opportunity for presses to highlight special subject areas in which they publish, or subjects for which their press is particularly well known.

MIT Press
mitpress.mit.edu/blog

Gita Manaktala, Editorial Director, writes about the possibilities of the web. MIT Press authors are increasingly using the internet for scholarship, finding newly mediated ways to teach, to conduct research, to present data, and to engage with various publics.

Texas A&M University Press
tamupress.blogspot.com
University of Georgia Press
ugapress.blogspot.com
Nik Heynen, Deborah Cowen, and Melissa W. Wright, series co-editors, will discuss UGA Press geography books, specifically as they relate to the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series.
University of Pennsylvania Press
pennpress.typepad.com

Penn Press acquisitions editors discuss the foundations and future of some of the press’s key subject areas.

University of Toronto Press
utpblog.utpress.utoronto.ca

A discussion of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies lists.


Wilfrid Laurier University Press
nestor.wlu.ca/blog

Cheryl Lousley, editor of the Environmental Humanities series, writes about the engagement of environmental issues through the humanities disciplines, such as literature, film, and media studies, for example. She outlines the genesis of the series and discusses some of the most recent publications.

The complete schedule for the blog tour is located here.

Day 2 of the #UPWeek Blog Tour is underway with posts on the future of scholarly communication

upweekThe focus of Day 2 of the University Press Week Blog Tour is “The Future of Scholarly Communications”. University Presses are engaged in a wide variety of new initiatives designed to acquire and publish meaningful scholarship in new and innovative ways and in partnerships with libraries, organizations, and other groups with vested interests in this area of what we do. Today we celebrate a few of these initiatives and take a peek at what the future holds for us all.

Duke University Press
dukeupress.typepad.com
Priscilla Wald, Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Duke University, on the slow future of scholarly communication.
Harvard University Press
harvardpress.typepad.com
Jeffrey Schnapp, faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard and editor of the new metaLABprojects book series, on the emerging currents of experimental scholarship for which the series provides a platform.
Stanford University Press
stanfordpress.typepad.com

Alan Harvey, Press Director, discusses the challenges presented by new technologies in publishing, and how the industry model is adapting to new reading-consumption habits.

Temple University Press
templepress.wordpress.com

Alex Holzman explores the partnerships university presses and libraries can forge as the means of communicating scholarship evolves.

University of Minnesota Press
uminnpressblog.com
Editor Dani Kasprzak describes a new UMP initiative.
University of Texas Press
utpressnews.blogspot.com

Robert Devens, Assistant Editor-in-Chief for the University of Texas Press, on the future of scholarly communication.

University of Virginia Press
www.upress.virginia.edu/blog

Historian Holly Shulman, editor of The Dolley Madison Digital Edition and the forthcoming People of the Founding Era, looks at the need for university presses to adapt to new technologies, while ackowledging the difficulties of doing so.

The complete schedule for the blog tour is located here.

Free #UPWeek event “Innovation in Scholarly Publishing”

upweekAs part of the celebration of University Press Week, Association of American University Presses is hosting a free online program “Innovation in Scholarly Publishing”, November 15 at 2:30 PM: http://shindig.com/event/innovation

Join speakers *William Germano*, Dean of Cooper Union, author, and former Editor in Chief of Columbia University Press, *Kathleen Fitzpatrick*, Director of Scholarly Communication at the Modern Language Association, and *Gita Manaktala*, Editorial Director at The MIT Press and moderator *Carlin Romano*, Critic-at-Large of/The Chronicle of Higher Education/, former President of the National Book Critics Circle, and a Guggenheim Fellow, for a discussion of the implications of recent technological and cultural shifts for the work of AAUP members and their authors.

More information and RSVP: http://shindig.com/event/innovation

Don’t forget that the University Press Week Blog Tour starts on Monday, November 11! Complete schedule is available here. Princeton University Press will contribute to the tour on Friday.

HuffPo shows love for PUP in “17 Most Innovative” UP’s

Anis Shivani got in touch with us several weeks ago to ask PUP publicity for the buzz on fall’s new releases.  We knew he was writing a big UP roundup piece but hadn’t anticipated such extensive title-dropping – or such an earnest appeal to the media to pay attention – to which we say snaps, Anis, and thank you!

It’s always a small victory to see appreciation – and review coverage – for academic books in the mainstream media.   We know that big names on important topics stand more of a chance at a mention than other equally worthy books in the catalog.  That’s not news to us.   But the Huffington Post piece which ran this past Saturday is bursting at the seams with enthusiasm for both our VIP releases and lesser-known authors.  What a nice change of pace.

Princeton University Press was featured along with 16 other UP’s distinguished as the most “innovative” academic publishers.  Shivani’s piece points to the disconnect between quality of material and media exposure.   The main distinction of a UP book is, naturally, meaty content.  A UP book is the filet mignon to trade’s burger patty in the realm of non-fiction: unprocessed, high-quality, muscle-building protein.   We may not be dressed up with condiments and bursting with aggressive flavor but we’re lean, unadorned steak.  Why eat beef if you can’t taste the cow?

Meat metaphors aside, why is the media so hesitant to bite?  Why don’t we get more reviews?  Our authors work just as hard – if not harder – than anyone signed with a major trade house for less quantifiable return.  Ask a friend in academic publishing – better yet, find a publicist, and I’m sure she or he would be happy to wax on about the injustice of being overlooked by the heavy hitters in the entertainment industry.  But this is not a rail-against-review-neglect post.  This is a thank you to our friends at HuffPo and a “Hey, look at us!  We’ve earned this attention” occasion.

We can only hope that a few key members of the media read Shivani’s piece and take it to heart:  “university presses do not publish boring or excessively weighty or arcane books. They may not be into showmanship and high-stakes publicity maneuvers, but their steady, unrelenting focus on particular subject areas creates vast bodies of new knowledge that the mainstream reviewing community makes a great mistake in ignoring.”