University Presses and the Digital Universe
He says it seems to vary from press to press whether they are ahead or behind in areas of technological growth.
“Some are way out front in all kinds of Web 2.0 activities; others are still doing the same things they did two years ago. So the variation is due to staff and financial constraints. Others may well be due to either resistance to change or not being completely conversant (and/or won over) to the new realities of publishing,” Maikowski says. “Many presses have blogs, RSS feeds and are engaged in many new forms of Internet marketing and social media programing.”
Yale University Press also is seeing growth that can be attributed to the Internet and digital technology push.
“We have grown quickly (more than 30 percent in the last four years), which poses many structural and strategic questions,” Donatich says. “The biggest issue for the industry is the control of our essential intellectual properties and the way it is disseminated in the various media: physical books, e-books, granular Web access, audio, CD, DVD, etc. I believe that the niche publishing that most university presses engage in can only profit by the ever-elongating ‘tail’ and the focused habits of the reader scholar.”
Kent State University Press also is capitalizing on the changing landscape of the industry. “We continue to investigate ways to market and deliver our content digitally, primarily through partnering with third parties,” Underwood says.
The press currently is building a database for direct e-mail and has partnerships with various third parties, including Google Book Search, to drive customers to its content.
“Many university presses are way ahead of the curve. For instance, National Academies Press was delivering e-content 10 years ago, and [Project] Muse, out of Johns Hopkins University Press, was an early leader in creating an online journal collection for sale to institutions,” says Underwood. “Several AAUP members have blogs, e-newsletters and are moving into the direct selling of digital content.”