So much great stuff on university press blogs during university press week that it’s difficult to keep up. So, in case you missed it here’s what happened yesterday:
* Scott Esposito, editor of the always worthwhile and indispensable The Quarterly Conversation, talks about the importance of former University of Chicago professor and literary critic Wayne Booth on the University of Chicago Press blog:
I find it impossible to read Wayne C. Booth and not come away illuminated. Though he’s generally classified as a literary critic, Booth was really much more than that. He was an amazingly well-read, dedicated thinker who showed how questions about literature were really questions about human perception and the philosophies with which we approach life.
* Douglas Armato, director of the University of Minnesota Press offers a history of university presses and a sense of where they might be going. Here’s what he sees as a possible future for publishing in the humanities:
What I see ahead for the humanities and social sciences is an intensely innovative, hybridized environment for university scholarly communication—one that encompasses both open access and nonprofit models, scholarship in university repositories and that published by presses in the established forms of e-books and e-journals, large digital humanities initiatives, and a lively constellation of individual and collaborative scholarly blogs, micro blogs, and websites. In many cases, specific research projects will span and flow across all these forms in what I think of as a process of endosmosis and exosmosis, from less concentrated scholarly forms to more concentrated ones such as the monograph and back again.
On the University of Illinois Press blog, Stephen Wade, author of The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience argues that university presses amplify our democracy. He explains:
Not driven by a robust bottom line as their primary reason for being, they make room for the richness of American voices. Many of our most evocative and emblematic creators, despite their value for us all, thrive at the margins, escaping both popular notice and the rigorous analysis they merit. So much of what I know about string band music, for instance, comes not just from a near-lifetime of playing it, but from reading about it. As champions of work that would rarely find a home in the commercial publishing world, the university presses, citing here the single example of the Music in American Life series, form a refuge. It would be painful to imagine my own life without these books. They provide not only substantive knowledge, but personal enlargement.
Bison Book manager, Tom Swanson considers the importance of university presses for regional publishing:
Our Press matters because, without it, we lose a voice for our place. The generations of readers since Sandoz’s time deserve to see the prose that she created in Old Jules and Crazy Horse. It is our obligation to make sure that the books like this exist.
Our Press matters to our University, our State, our Region, our Country and the World, but for me it’s the region that counts. It needs representation and the University of Nebraska Press provides a source of literature and prose about the land and people of the wide open.
And that’s just part of what University Presses do every day. We are a voice.
Finally, on the Syracuse University Press blog author Laurence M. Hauptman gives three reasons why university presses matter including:
university presses generally work closer and spend more time collaborating with authors, especially new ones to the field, performing more of an educational role by teaching scholars the ropes of the publishing process. For me, the staff of Syracuse University Press were indeed my teachers over the years, instructing me at every stage of the publishing process—how to prepare a manuscript for submission; the need to secure images and permission letters early in the process; the way to structure a proper bibliography and organize an index; the vital role of a copyeditor and how to best proof a manuscript; the importance of working with the production and marketing staff in the selection of book titles, jacket descriptions, and cover designs; and ways to better market and promote the final product once the book is published.