UCP recently published a long-outof- print book on Kurdistan, oversized and lavishly illustrated, which Kiely says few commercial publishers today would consider releasing. The book, he notes, is considered by the Kurdish people to be a “national treasure.”
“We put a lot more into the books than I’ve ever had experience with in the past,” he says. “The editorial effort is phenomenal—it does take longer [to produce a book], but we put a lot more effort into improving quality of writing, and peer review is much more rigorous.”
Of course, very much rooted in practical, broad-based appeal is the press’s flagship product: “The Chicago Manual of Style.” Now in its 15th print edition, the online version of the reference manual used by generations of writers and editors was released a year and a half ago. Kiely says the response has been, in some ways, surprising.
“We originally thought of the online edition as being for libraries and other institutions,” he says. “We have been very surprised at the response from individuals. We have a vibrant base of copy editors [subscribing], for instance.”
The Web site provides searchable content—including a popular Q&A section offering advice to researchers with obscure citation questions—and a subscription-only “my manual” feature, which allows users to create their own customizable style sheets.
“That kind of thing has a Web 2.0 sort of feeling,” he notes. “You can manipulate it yourself rather than it just being static.”
On tap for the 16th edition is the firstever simultaneous print and online publication. Kiely reports that, with the exception of the Q&A, the content offered on the Web version will be the same as in print. “That was done by design,” he says, “because we want this [Web site] to be the last word, and have the book be the last word as well.”