Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Academic Publishing: Two Views

Any legal historian out there at work on his or her first book manuscript might want to check in on two recent views of the academic publishing. The first is a report from the recent meeting of the Association of American University Presses; the second is Stanley Katz’s speculations about what might be down the road. When it comes to books written for academic audiences in the humanities or social sciences, Katz writes, “I have no doubt that we are rapidly moving into an environment of tiny initial print runs (if there is any print run at all) followed by print-on-demand, combined with some form of electronic delivery.”

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1 comment:

Alfred Brophy said...

Thanks for this, Dan. Very helpful and sobering discussion.

I'm sure we're headed for fewer monographs; the market won't support the current levels, I fear. But I'm not sure that the print runs of those lucky enough to see the light of day will be tiny--the economies of scale counsel in favor of decent print runs. That is, a print run of 200 is about the same cost as a print run of 1000.

What I've been wondering about is whether law books will continue their (relative) popularity. My sense (this may be wrong) is that academic law books do a little bit better than monographs in some other fields, perhaps because there's a slightly larger audience in academic libraries for them. That is, law libraries may buy some copies, as well as major academic libraries. This slight advantage (if indeed it exists) may be rapidly disappearing, as law school budgets shrink, along with everyone else's.