The Future of Academic Presses

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5 Responses

  1. former student says:

    ah, the market at work, my friend. There is so little demand for most academic books. Often they just repeat what has been published in journal articles.

  2. Bruce Boyden says:

    I suspect the fees for coursepack and textbook permissions differ substantially, but for my Internet Law coursepack I haven’t had much problem with the university presses. It looks like they are charging $0.12 to 0.15 per page per copy, with most at 0.12. For comparison, law reviews run from a flat fee of $3 for the whole class (U Chicago L Rev), to as much as $0.10/page/copy. Also, the presses are much easier to get permissions from than some law reviews.

    The real offenders when I was putting my reader together was not the academic presses, but various news organizations, who want $1 or more/page/copy for some article about an obscure story that ran 5 years ago. In particular, I have a special “un-thankyou” in my reader to the AP, New York Times, and Washington Post, for making it cost-prohibitive for me to excerpt some articles I wanted to. Possibly there’s some lucrative market for excerpts of old news articles I’m not imagining, but I suspect the problem is that they just don’t want to take the time to adequately assess the market.

  3. Often, utside the insular world of academia, when people perceive a need that is not being met by the market, they take advantage of it. If they are correct, they are then amply rewarded for their efforts. This then allows them to, among other things, endow pet projects at their favorite universities.

  4. Joe Miller says:


    I think there are interesting opportunities out there for a different way of handling the low-demand-monograph problem.

    There are coordination problems, obviously, with organizing a way to offer the right credentialing from a low-cost web publishing platform. But there are some models out there, e.g., the Public Library of Science journals that have assembled great editorial boards that offer a high-quality credentialing signal. (

    I think the Institute for the Future of the Book,, has done some work on these issues in the academic monograph context.

    Finally, it’s interesting to see your post on the same day as Prof. Waldeck’s post about problems with the casebook publishing market. Could web publishing platforms be the answer to both problems?

    Thanks for highlighting the problem …

  5. D. Lee says:

    You raise some great points, but I’d like to see some citations on this issue.

    I’m not trying to be a pedant. I just want to research this issue more in depth.