In this episode of SSP’s Early Career Development Podcast, hosts Meredith Adinolfi (Cell Press) and Sara Grimme (Digital Science) speak to Ben Denne, Director of Publishing for Academic Books (Cambridge University Press), about the books side of scholarly publishing. They discuss a range of topics that include text and content types, the commissioning process, business models and the impact of open access, and some of the differences between books and journals.

Ben chronicles his career trajectory that led to his current role, from working as a writer and assisting with childrens’ books to commissioning across several subject areas in academic publishing. He also outlines some of the complexities within the commissioning and editorial processes across monographs, textbooks, and edited collections, as well as how business models can vary across text types. He describes how open access funder mandates such as Plan S, UKRI, and OSTP in the United States are equally relevant to books as they are to journals. Ben concludes with several pieces of advice for early career professionals interested in book publishing. Despite its complexities and sometimes challenging “messiness,” it is a fun and diverse area of the industry for those curious about many subject areas and types of roles. Ben encourages early career publishers to embrace this change and upheaval, as navigating it has become an essential career skill not just in the books space but industry wide.

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Background on this podcast series

SSP’s Career Development Committee launched this podcast series in 2019 to offer advice and discussion on how early career publishing professionals can add to their skill sets, develop networks, and take advantage of new opportunities. The series presents interviews and insights from experienced professionals on how to navigate one’s career in a diverse and ever-changing landscape of scholarly communications. If you have any feedback for the hosts, creators, or for future episodes, please email