Tag Archives: Blog

Meet the Press

We’ve been working a long time to cultivate our mysterious persona (since 1943!), but sometimes being mysterious isn’t all that great. People we meet often have questions about who we are and what we do.

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Most folks are familiar with the “Big Five” publishers, and they do great work. But there are more than 120 university presses in America (not to mention Europe, Australia, China, Canada, and the UK) publishing ~12,000 books a year!

The main difference between our press and a publisher like one of the Big Five is that our books must all be peer-reviewed before they can be published. University press books are sent to scholars and peer-reviewers across the globe to be vetted before they are approved for publication. Even books like The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book were reviewed by experts in the field. This process ensures that our published books remain of the highest quality and helps us maintain a clear and focused mission.

University presses, as a whole, are instrumental to the expansion of knowledge and scholarship. From scholarly monographs and journals, to partnerships with universities, libraries, historical societies, and others, university presses ensure the continued development of research, ideas, and understanding. Below are a few more reasons why university presses matter. For more information, visit www.aupresses.org.

  • University Presses make available to the broader public the full range and value of research generated by university faculty.
  • University Press books and journals present the basic research and analysis that is drawn upon by policymakers, opinion leaders, and authors of works for the general public.
  • University Presses help to preserve the distinctiveness of local cultures through publication of works on the states and regions where they are based.
  • University Presses encourage cultural expression by publishing works of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction and books on contemporary art and photography.
  • University Presses, through the peer review process, test the validity and soundness of scholarship and thus maintain high standards for academic publication.
  • University Presses add to the richness of undergraduate and graduate education by publishing most of the non-textbook and supplementary material used by instructors.
  • University Presses extend the reach and influence of their parent institutions, making evident their commitment to knowledge and ideas.
  • University Presses help connect the university to the surrounding community by publishing books of local interest and hosting events for local authors.
  • University Presses provide advice and opportunities for students interested in pursuing careers in publishing.

from “The Value of University Presses,” compiled by the
Association of University Presses (AUPresses)

We want to demystify the machinations of our university press and reach out to our community and friends, old and new. In the weeks ahead, we’ll introduce our staff, feature our process, and of course, highlight our books along the way. We couldn’t do what we love without the support of our readers and fans, so don’t be shy! We’re always delighted to answer any questions anyone might have about UPK, who we are, and what we do.

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Celebrate with us, It’s University Press Week!

UPWeek_SmallPardon us, we’re going to toot our own horn this week! We’re celebrating University Press week along with our friends at more than 120 other member presses of the American Association of University Presses. This week we’ll be rounding up the news and accomplishments of university presses across the country (and the world), and sharing more of what makes university presses so special. We hope you discover more about us, about university presses as a whole, and some of the great books and people that make our jobs so wonderful. As always, we love to hear from you too! Feel free to leave us a comment here, on Facebook, or chat with us on Twitter if you want to learn more about our unique, influential community.

To kick things off, here’s an article that recently appeared in The Economist, on the unique challenges facing university presses in the midst of an ever-changing industry.

University presses are thriving in some places, such as China, which has around 110 of them. But elsewhere they are at a moment of transition. They face the same difficulties as commercial publishers, such as digitisation and the decline of bookstores, as well as some of their own. There has been a decades-long shrinkage in demand for their titles, as the rising price of scientific journals has left libraries less money to spare for buying new books. Academic monographs are considered a splash today if they sell just 800 copies in their first year. Public and private universities, under financial pressure, are scrutinising the subsidies they give their presses. Some have talked of shutting them….

Those in the business argue that it is unfair to judge their success by profitability. “No one asks the chemistry department to be profitable,” says Peter Berkery of the Association of American University Presses. When the University of Missouri tried to close its press last year, the administration backed off after an outcry. “If the university presses weren’t there, a lot of very important books would not be published,” says Andrew Wylie, a literary agent.

Read the full article here: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21588376-often-ignored-part-publishing-industry-faces-unique-challenges-homes-tomes

Additionally, 37 university press blogs (including our own!) have joined together to highlight our history, our books, our staffs, and our specialties. Individual presses will blog on a different theme each day, including profiles of university press staff members, the future of scholarly communication, subject area spotlights, the importance of regional publishing, and the global reach of university presses. Today, several university press blogs are introducing themselves and a member of their staff. We encourage you to click on over to meet some of the acquisitions editors, editorial supervisors, production managers, and sales and marketing specialists who make books, books. Click over for the full blog tour schedule.

Stayed tuned for more from us and our friends around the AAUP!