The CDDC’s all-in-one structure allows for a quick, seamless process, Weinkle says. She cites a recent example of a UCP author who notified the distribution center on a Friday that he would be doing a book signing the following week, for which he needed additional copies of the book printed. The book was scanned by noon Monday, and printed and delivered by Wednesday. “It was so easy for me,” she says, “because of the relationship with the press.”
Weinkle notes that clients value the CDDC’s marketing and distribution methods tailored specifically to academic publishers, but that clients are free to upload files stored in BiblioVault with any printer they choose.
“There are some presses where we will just distribute [their titles], and others where we will sell [but] do no marketing. With others, we sell, market and distribute—for foreign pubs, we will look at all these possibilities,” Kiely says. “A majority [of clients] are just straight distribution.”
Being a money-making, but not-for-profit venture puts UCP in an unusual position. University publishing offers a different set of freedoms and constraints from what is encountered in the consumer book world.
“I think that … what you work for at [a] commercial scholarly press is different because you are always thinking about the bottom line,” Kiely notes. “University press publishing is quite different, yet at the same time you have similar strengths and similar issues, such as print-run constraints and price limitations. The key is to balance the scholarly imperative and commercial imperative,” he says.
“If your goal is to break even, that drives a certain approach, so it’s something we are actually passionate about,” he continues. “Chicago has a great tradition of printing commercial books, and also a long tradition of being willing to take chances [with] things that commercial publishers might not take a chance on.”