Editor’s Note for Reimagining the University Press [JEP Fall 2010 issue]

November 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Posted in E-Books, Electronic Publishing, Monographs | Comments Off on Editor’s Note for Reimagining the University Press [JEP Fall 2010 issue]

Editor’s Note for Reimagining the University Press:

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, this already tottering publishing system – while still publishing an impressive stream, both broad and deep, of scholarly books in all of the humanities and social sciences, as well as providing many of the most important analyses of the critical social, political and cultural issues for general as well as academic readers (the latter precisely the kind of books that the large US trade publishers, almost all now controlled by global media conglomerates, have been rapidly jettisoning) – had to confront arguably the greatest disruptive force of all: the accelerating and escalating digital tidal wave, which, it became quickly apparent, would overwhelm all preexisting forms of social and professional communication—while providing entirely unforeseen and massive new opportunities and resources. But this comes at a Faustian price, since such root-and-branch transformation inevitably threatens all existing publishing processes, personnel, and prerogatives as well.

As individuals at beleaguered institutions are wont to do, the initial reaction of some at university presses consisted of circling the wagons, repeatedly intoning stale mantras of self-praise, clinging to fraying publishing practices like a security blanket, and convincing themselves (or letting their benighted professional organization convince them and others) that they could ride out this technological tsunami intact, in part by clutching ferociously to the Disney-corrupted version of the print copyright regime.”

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