Are You Ready for the Future
What challenges do you foresee impacting the book publishing industry as a whole over the next year?
Jordan: The biggest immediate challenge is facilitating the widest possible access to and usage of copyrighted materials online without undermining copyright and the control of intellectual property, or eroding the revenue streams to authors and publishers that reward and encourage creative work. Google’s plans for Book Search need to be re-examined and refined through compromise with libraries, publishers and authors to sustain a vibrant book industry in the future.
What challenges do you anticipate in your segment of the book-publishing industry?
Jordan: For academic publishers, the goal is as always to publish books that bring the outstanding scholarship being written in universities, think tanks, print publications and other centers of critical thought to the wider community of scholars and general readers. Whether the topic is poverty, climate change, terrorism or the translation of important foreign works of literature, university presses have a vital role to play in disseminating knowledge. Universities are under assault in some quarters for being remote and disconnected. Book publishing can and should provide a necessary corrective.
Another challenge? The Internet has great potential that remains untapped for book publishers. Among other things, Columbia is developing more targeted marketing campaigns using its Web site and electronic outreach, and will make more of its publications available to readers from its own Web site in the future.
Plus, together with other university presses, Columbia sees a leadership role for scholarly publishers and university libraries to take in fostering an understanding and appreciation for the value of copyright among scholars, students, and the general public.
Finally, finding new models to support the cost of publishing academic work that may enjoy only limited readership beyond the academy. In order to thrive in this environment and remain competitive, creative thinking is essential both to produce this work less expensively and to finding more cost-effective means of bringing it to readers. Columbia’s strategy for online publishing is intended to supplement declining print monograph sales in libraries with new forms of electronic access to this material.