Market Focus: University Presses Press on Through Recession
The University of Minnesota Press is digitizing its titles, moving everything published since 1925 into electronic format.
Under its Minnesota Archive Editions, the press has made more than 600 out-of-print titles available. And within the next six months, it will have every title to which it holds full rights back in print.
“The seed of the idea came when we heard from Google that they were getting a high number of hits on our out-of-print books,” says Armato. The books will be produced in limited quantities according to customer demand and will be text-searchable through both Amazon’s Search Inside the Book program and Google Book Search.
“We’re seeing an increase in revenue [in our digital business], but it’s under 5 percent of our business,” he says. “So we’ll be ready when the market shifts.” As for when the market will shift? Probably not for 10 years, he predicts.
Temple University Press is trying to provide information to meet the market’s demand. And what it sees is a demand for book chapters, rather than entire books, so it plans to make individual chapters available digitally for purchase.
The press will make these chapters available in what Holzman calls “a very vanilla, Web-based PDF,” compatible with the Kindle, the Sony Reader and any computer.
The recession is slowing down New York University Press’ digital initiatives, says Maikowski. “Without [money], we can’t invest in digital,” he says. However, eliminating these initiatives entirely could have a long-term, negative effect, “so a lot of those initiatives will be scaled back or deferred [rather than eliminated],” he says. “We’re doing all we can to husband our resources.”
Along with the digitization of content, the emergence of Google Book Search and Amazon’s Search Inside the Book, has changed the landscape for university presses.