Book Business Q&A: Indiana University Press’ Kathryn Caras talks about INscribe, the electronic publishing platform the press launched this year to increase the spread of its scholarly content.
Indiana University Press (IUP) launched INscribe, an electronic publishing platform, in January. Starting with its journals, the press dipped its feet into providing content digitally, with the plan to delve into book content—it produces 150 new titles each year—once the project was up and running.
Kathryn Caras, director of electronic and serials publishing, talks to Book Business Extra about why digital delivery could be the answer to the challenges university presses face today.
Book Business Extra: Why was it important for a university press to get involved in digital distribution now?
Kathryn Caras: It speaks well to the mission of the press, which is to disseminate scholarship. There is no more cost-effective or impact-wise way to do that than online. That’s why we did it. There is also a financial component. We have for a long time licensed our content to the major aggregators in this country. We realized good income from it. But it is also a time for us to start generating direct online from our own content.
Extra: Tell us about the process that IUP went through to create this publishing platform?
Caras: We’ve been dreaming about it for a long time. We’ve been subleasing our content. We’ve been aware of the capability and the problems that can go along with doing this. About a year ago we started thinking this [through] seriously. We came into the budget process for this fiscal year. We wrote a proposal to the director of the press. We did a budget. We had done research on server providers. So we had all of our ducks in a row, so to speak. We gave her the project, and she gave us the money to do it. We’ve been working physically on creating this site since May of last year. It took us seven months to populate the pages.