Books or Articles?
The advice I’ve gotten as a junior professor is to stick with articles and put off scholarly books until post-tenure. It’s an interesting question, especially when your work begins to show some consistent themes that would lend themselves to systematic treatment in a book. Therefore I wonder: Is the advice to put off books until post-tenure good advice? I can think of a couple of reasons that it might be. First, tenure committees might not be as familiar with how to count books, if they count them at all. Second, a good book needs some fresh content to supplement the revamping of articles past, and the opportunity cost of that fresh content might be two or three new articles.
Even thinking beyond tenure considerations, are books really worth it for most of us (i.e., the non-Cass Sunsteins of the academic world)? Royalties can’t be enough of a financial incentive in most cases, and citation counts might on average be lower (although I haven’t empirically tested this) because articles are more accessible to other scholars through electronic databases. So what are the relative benefits of books and articles, and does the equation change pre- or post-tenure?