Notable & Quotable: Marguerite Avery on MIT Press' New Direction
Marguerite Avery, Senior Acquisitions Editor at The MIT Press, spoke about one of her favorite recent acquisitions, “Intellectual Property Strategy” by Harvard law professor John G. Palfrey. The book launched a new “Essential Knowledge” trade series for the press, all below 150 pages in a 5” x 7” paperback format. As part of the press’s mission to disseminate scholarship, this book is meant to take what Avery calls a “thorny technical subject” and make it accessible to a wider readership.
Paring down the length of the book left them without room for a good deal of ancillary material, including rich media. Enter the app.“Intellectual Property Strategy” is now available on iTunes (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/intellectual-property-strategy/id491137377?mt=8) along with case studies and video interviews included on the press website (supporting a belief in non-proprietary access to scholarship).
Avery has been with MIT Press “off and on” for the past ten years, taking a break to obtain a master’s degree in library science. Her inspiration for getting the degree was a suspicion that there were greater similarities between the issues faced by publishers and those faced by librarians than most realized. Both, says Avery, are “based on certain usage model and need to change radically as people’s expectations for accessing information online are changing.” Avery was pleased to learn that a library science background does indeed help in publishing. “Ideally librarians and publishers would be working together,” Avery elaborates, but there’s not as much cooperation as she’d like to see. “They don’t always agree on how content is used.”