In his latest post, Simon Linacre reviews Associaton of University Presses Directory 2018 and deems it an essential tome for the future of scholarly publishing
Many of you will be plowing through ‘Best Books of 2018’ reviews at this time of year, as is traditional in the media as time is short before Christmas, but pages still have to be filled. This will then give way to ‘Best Books of 2019’ reviews written sometime in October. Even journalists deserve some sort of break over the holidays.
As a change to this format, we at Cabells wanted to highlight a book that is neither the best nor worst but will stand you in good stead in 2019, whether you are an academic author, publisher or librarian. So, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the Most Useful Book of 2019… (drum roll, please)… The Association of University Presses Directory 2018!
Now, the latest editions of directories rarely get much of a fanfare, so what makes the AUPresses book any different. Well, the book (printed by Thomson-Shore and available through University of Chicago Press) has been released at a time when there is much anticipation among publishers and librarians alike about the role university presses are likely to play in the years ahead. The cards seem to be falling, finally, in their favor after years of dominance by large commercial publishers. With Open Access driving the agenda, barriers to entry are falling as technology gets better and cheaper, and funding mandates potentially disrupting the marketplace, the opportunities are there for universities and their presses to effectively take ownership of research content supplied by academics.
The book itself will expertly guide anyone interested in these developments. The meat of the text includes details of scores of university presses globally which are members of AUPresses, from Abilene Christian to Yale University Press. Each press has a wealth of information on it included in the entries – address, phone numbers, distributors, online details, and most impressively of all staff registers with numbers and email addresses for every person listed. These people are also included in pages of names in an index at the back.
Even more useful, there are other sections to help those with an interest in publishing understand more deeply the university press environment. There is a sub-list of those presses who publish both books and journals, and a robust guide defining what university presses do, how to go about submitting a book manuscript, and for publishers, a smaller directory of AUPresses Association Partners who support presses in their distribution and sales.
Overall, the book has something for everyone. For publishers, it is a treasure trove of information to seek out publishing partnerships; for librarians, it is an essential listing of everyone they could ever think of contacting from university presses about their content. And for authors, it is invaluable in offering direction when it comes to that dreaded time of finding a publisher for their work. And here we find perhaps the most useful section of all – a 10-page grid that lists every university press and each subject they publish in. So, that manuscript you have in your bottom drawer on Australasian history? Better keep Athabasca and Cambridge university presses on your radar. It is hard to imagine any other resource listing that information for authors. How very useful.