Navigating the Big Deal: A Guide for Societies

Shifts in how publishers market and sell journal packages have significant implications for society journal valuations over the long term. These same shifts may also be setting some societies up for publisher “lock-in” — making it difficult to change publishers in the future.

How Much Does Publishing Cost?

There have been several recent studies of what it costs to publish academic monographs, but they all mistake the cost of production with the cost of publication. This post summarizes the issues and suggests a very simple way to calculate the cost of publication.

Neither Fish Nor Fowl: Journal Publishing and the University Press

University presses are not well positioned to thrive in journal publishing because they have not adopted any of the (relatively few and common) business strategies that are necessary, given market dynamics, for success. I do not put forth this thesis lightly. I have great affection and admiration for university presses, their value — craftsmanship, attention to detail, “getting it right”— and their mission. This is not admiration from afar: I served, in the formative years of my career, at the University of Chicago Press (Chicago), where I learned the tools of the trade and many of the practices and protocols of scholarly publishing still in use today. But after nearly two decades of observing university presses, from within and without, this thesis seems to be inescapable.

Everybody Wants a Netflix for Books

There will never be a “Netflix for books” if by that term one means a comprehensive collection. Book aggregations must serve the overarching needs of the publisher to generate revenue and are thus best viewed as simply one channel among many.