15.205 what scholarly presses can and should do

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Thu Aug 30 2001 - 01:35:17 EDT

  • Next message: by way of Willard McCarty: "15.204 copyright town meeting in NYC"

                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 205.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 06:29:58 +0100
             From: "Norman D. Hinton" <hinton@springnet1.com>
             Subject: Re: 15.201 the tyranny of the monograph

    I've been hearing about the death of the monograph, the journal, the
    scholarly book, et c. for at least 40 years and I still don't believe

    It seems to me that scholarly presses can (and should) do a few things
    to help:

    1. Quit making the books so fancy and hence so expensive. We should
    have paper-bound books on cheap paper as the French do.

    2. (Part of 1) quit trying to win awards for handsome books -- I have
    been arguing with University Press publishers on this topic since about
    1956 -- and market books that graduate students and young faculty can
    afford. I frankly think that far too many University Press people are
    trying to impress each other with binding, type faces, dust jackets,

    3. Deliver books on time --= I still remember the year I ordered a text
    book from the University of California Press and it was delivered 18
    months later -- and they were upset when I had it sent back. (p.s. i
    know there are unavoidable delays in publishing -- one might think that
    if this was the case, the Press might have sent word to its customers,
    as commercial Presses always have in my experience)

    4. Stop trying to find subjects that are esoteric and "classy". I
    know presses that have stopped trying to publish in various fields
    which, to tell the truth, had published only on the outer fringes of
    those subjects -- the sort of book that makes one say "I guess that's an
    interesting topic, but I'll read it in the library some day, if ever".

    5. Don't be afraid to publish boring books on major topics. I know a
    whole bunch of Press people who are quite proud of the fact that they
    would never have published some of the most central books in various
    fields because they were not glitsy.

    6. Quit going around being fashionably gloomy.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu Aug 30 2001 - 01:41:23 EDT