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Wednesday, November 7 • 4:40pm - 5:25pm
Are Economic Pressures on University Press Acquisitions Quietly Changing the Shape of the Scholarly Record?

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The monograph remains central to humanities and qualitative social science research and the form most important to the tenure process. But the future of the form is uncertain. University and other scholarly presses have played a vital role in supporting the publication of scholarly monographs, in particular the all-important first book. While good data on the subject is not easy to gather, evidence points to an erosion of traditional revenue streams for monographs that have not yet been replaced by new funding models. The average scholarly monograph is not recuperating its costs. For decades, library purchasing supported the form. With library budgets tightening and new collecting strategies gaining hold, the scholarly monograph would appear to be no longer sustainable via a sales model inherited from the print context.

Recent research has addressed the impact of cooperative library purchasing, the role of American university press publishing in shaping the monograph, the effects of new business models and approaches to access, and the costs of producing scholarly monographs. Yet there is a gap in the literature where the beginning meets the end: If the monograph remains central to tenure, but is increasingly financially burdensome, will presses stop acquiring them? One possible outcome, as sales of copies per title decline, is a transition in presses’ acquisitions approaches from a focus on shepherding individual books to a drive for quantity. Another possibility is a shift toward a list aimed at a larger, less specialized readership at the expense of the monograph. And presses are experimenting with up-front subventions that may cover publishing costs while also allowing open access distribution.

This session will present preliminary data from a longer-term study on university press acquisitions trends, how and why they matter. Discussion will draw on the interconnected perspectives of library, aggregator, and press stakeholders.

avatar for Meg White

Meg White

Director, Technology Services, Rittenhouse Book Distributors, Inc.
Meg White is a 25-year veteran of the health sciences publishing industry. Her background includes various sales, marketing, and product development positions at Rittenhouse Book Distributors, Mosby, Williams & Wilkins, and Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. She... Read More →

avatar for Emily Farrell

Emily Farrell

Sales Manager, Northeast, De Gruyter

Nicole Kendzejeski

Associate Director, Project MUSE, Johns Hopkins University Press
avatar for Mahinder S. Kingra

Mahinder S. Kingra

Editor in Chief, Cornell University Press

Kizer Walker

Director of Collections, Cornell University Library

Wednesday November 7, 2018 4:40pm - 5:25pm EST
Grand Ballroom 3, Gaillard Center