Hiking Cascadilla Gorge with Ange

A few weeks ago, I received an email about the Cornell Library and Press Service and Recognition Awards. This is the first time we’ve participated in an official program like this.

A number of Cornell University Press staff nominated their colleagues. It was exciting to see staff appreciating each other in an open forum.

As we zero in on our second straight year of break-even performance, I nominate our entire staff. Their willingness to embrace change and innovation has produced outstanding results.

Everyone in Sage House has contributed to the Press’s success.

Continue reading “Hiking Cascadilla Gorge with Ange”

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Hiking Cascadilla Gorge with Ange

A Book Lovers Dream: First time at BookExpo

We boarded the bus soaking wet. I was clingy tightly to my two bags full of books, catalogs, and other goodies, trying to protect them from the rain. We had just walked several blocks in the pouring rain, feet sore from roaming the Javits Center for hours. A memorable experience for my first-time visiting NYC. Nevertheless, it was a great day!

If you’re wondering why we were boarding a bus soaking wet with bags full of books, well, BookExpo. My colleague Sarah and I spent last Thursday attending the biggest book trade show in North America, a nice change in scenery from our typical Thursdays spent at Sage House. Neither of us had been to BookExpo before so we were both thrilled when we were given the opportunity to attend.

BookExpo was a book lovers dream.

IMG_3955Booths upon booths filled with stacks of books in every genre, many available for you to take and read. The best booths were inviting and modern, with couches and chairs for you to sit, talk, read, or even charge your phones like we did in a cool poetry booth.

We spent some time talking with other university presses and looking at their catalogs, and the types of books that they publish. We also met authors, sales people, and fellow marketers; we even ran into old high-school acquaintances. This event was a great place to meet people, and listen to other people in the industry. As fairly new members of the publishing world, Sarah and I found this experience invaluable.

Continue reading “A Book Lovers Dream: First time at BookExpo”

A Book Lovers Dream: First time at BookExpo

One-hundred fifty notable books: Literary studies (PART ONE)

From the emergence of the study of English literature as an academic discipline in Victorian England until the re-emergence of Cornell University Press in 1932, academic publishing had devoted itself principally to the production of scholarly apparatus: dictionaries of Old and Middle English, inventories of manuscript collections, and biographies, bibliographies, and variorum editions of great and minor poets. When Cornell revised its press under the directorship of Robert Patterson, it acquired rights from Yale University Press to all 17 volumes of the Cornell Studies in English, to which it added 26 more titles over the next 35 years. Volumes in this series included an index of names in Middle English poetry, Milton’s prose tracts and Latin poems, and several collections of the correspondence of Wordsworth and his circle. One of the most successful entries in this series Were Edwin Nungezer’s Dictionary of Actors and of Other Persons Associated with the Public Representation of Plays in England before 1642—still a useful reference, although if it were published today it would undoubtedly have been given a snappier title.

Much of this useful and interesting work still goes on at university presses, though much of it has been supplanted by searchable online databases.

Another successful volume in the series, Harold Wilson Blodgett’s Walt Whitman in England, was an early example of what would become a defining characteristic of Cornell titles: the exploration of a little-known aspect of a well-covered subject. Continue reading “One-hundred fifty notable books: Literary studies (PART ONE)”

One-hundred fifty notable books: Literary studies (PART ONE)

Director Dean Smith Leaving Cornell University Press

Earlier today, Duke University Press announced that Dean Smith will be their next director. Dean, of course, has served Cornell University as its press director since 2015. This morning, Dean gathered the CUP staff together and told us his bittersweet news.

Surprise and shock greeted his startling announcement, but also pride, good wishes, and congratulations. During his four years here, Dean has led us all with humor, intelligence, compassion, and wisdom. We have all benefited from his guidance and mentoring and we will be saddened when he departs us and moves south.

Dean leaves us at CUP with an emboldened mentality. He has given us the spirit and desire to fly ever higher, to dream ever bigger, and to achieve ever more. In the past four years, we have become leaders in open access publishing, we have moved into journal publishing, and we have grown our front list such that we now publish 150 new books a year. Dean has brokered the agreement with Northern Illinois University Press announced publicly last week. He has overseen the development of our regional trade imprint, Three Hills. We’ve forged new and lasting strategic partnerships and collaborations with various university departments and outside service providers. He moved us into a new reporting structure under the Cornell University Library where we now have full and solid support and advocacy. He has developed a nascent endowment and fundraising capacity. And he has acquired some of our best-selling books of the past few years.

Dean Smith’s time at Cornell University Press has been a spectacular success, and he leaves us positioned for success, sustainability, and growth. We all wish him the best in his new role and want him to know that he has given us the gift of confidence and strength as a publisher of incredible authors and books and in ourselves as purveyors of publishing knowledge and excellence.

Bon Voyage, Dean. We’ll miss your bow ties, Baltimore sports books, Grateful Dead references, and unstoppable optimism.

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Director Dean Smith Leaving Cornell University Press

150 Years of CUP: Daniel Willard Fiske, the First Director

As part of our celebrations of our 150th anniversary, we’ve compiled a series of short biographies of our esteemed directors. Here is the first entry, about the first director, in this series.

RMC2003.0026Daniel Willard Fiske, 1869–1871
Photo courtesy of the Cornell University Library Rare and Manuscript Collection

 

When Cornell University Press was established in 1869, the board of trustees appointed Daniel Willard Fiske (usually known as Willard Fiske) as its first director. Fiske’s background was well suited to running the press, he was already the university librarian and held a chair in North European languages at Cornell. Earlier in his career he was an assistant librarian at the Astor Library in New York City, founder of the Chess Monthly journal, editor of the Syracuse Journal, partner in a bookstore, and a former editor of the Hartford Courant in Connecticut.

University founder A. D. White and Fiske were boyhood friends and Fiske was an important adviser to White in the early stages of planning the university, which included plans for a university press from the beginning. Once the press was up and running, with student labor recruited and Benjamin Hermon Smith appointed as manager, White was not as closely involved. He was officially replaced as director by Smith in 1871 but kept a close watch over its affairs until his retirement in 1883.

 

150 Years of CUP: Daniel Willard Fiske, the First Director

The One-Week Bookstore @CornellPress opens its doors this Nov 5th!

A few weeks ago our team got an email from the Marketing Director that read: “Mahinder (our Editor in Chief) just sold a book! In Sage House. To a real customer. Fun.” A couple lines later in the same email, we found out that we were having a pop-up bookstore right here at Cornell University Press. The ball was rolling.

So as a result of this random but wonderful happening of selling a book in-house, on November 5th at 10:00am and for one week only, our doors will be open, our bookshelves will be filled, and Ithacans will march through the grand, old entrance to get their wishlist titles from our very first pop-up store.

There’s not much more to it. Walk in, choose your next reads, pay cash, check or credit card, and carry your books home. Or as our Exhibits Coordinator David put it: “Cash, credit, check, and carry!” Paperbacks will be $10, hardcovers will be $15. Taxes included. It’s a one one-time deal to make knowledge more accessible to professors, students, and all book lovers in the community. Plus, the chance to wander about Cornell University Press, and experience the magic of publishing books in the beautiful Sage House mansion.

I was not supposed to write this blog post. But the person that volunteered to do it is busy putting everything together for next week, so I stepped in. Looking for inspiration on what to write, I stumbled upon an article that said that “… pop-up retail tickles the parts of one’s brain that likes new things”. I instantly understood what had happened. At #CornellPress, we just love new ideas. And the opportunity to bring our customers face to face with the books we love, in our own backyard, and in such a spontaneous format, sold it for us.

The invitation is up: This November 5th through November 9th, stop by Sage House on 118 Sage Place to take part in The One-Week Pop-Up Bookstore, and get the books you want.

In the meantime, we’ll be busy preparing for it: part of our staff is being trained in the world of sales and retail, flyers are being distributed all over town, and books are piling up downstairs, growing our pop-up inventory. And as everybody’s doing their bits and pieces, I am curious to see what excitement, feedback and results our first and one time only pop-up bookstore will bring.

FLYER copy


About the author of this blog post: Adriana Ferreira is the Social Media Coordinator at Cornell University Press. Her birthday is November 9th, so if you happen to stop by the pop-up bookstore that Friday, make sure to give her your best wishes!

The One-Week Bookstore @CornellPress opens its doors this Nov 5th!

SAY WHAT YOU WANT! #SWYW

Pay What You Want is over. Done and dusted. But it was great. We were able to bring customers together with their wish-list books at a price they could afford and continue to spread knowledge far and wide at the same time. And this month, we are doing something different.

Say What You Want is the name we have chosen for our new marketing campaign. The goal: to get to know our customers better, understand their needs and preferences and prepare to better cater to them in the future; to help professors in their mission to motivate and support students; and last but not least, to make sure that our authors’ experience with Cornell University Press as their publisher is one they are delighted with.

How it works: we have designed three different surveys,

  1. Our survey for customers and the general reader
  2. Our survey for professors
  3. Our survey for Cornell University Press authors

How to participate: Click on the corresponding link above and submit your responses, follow @CornellPress on Twitter and Facebook, OR visit our website and subscribe to our mailing list! The questions are short and simple, with a majority in multiple-choice format that reflect how much we value everybody’s time.

What’s in it for you: as a thank you present, you’ll get a 50 percent off discount code that can be used in our website to purchase any of our books. And here’s the icing on the cake: every participant will also be entered in a raffle for a chance to win $250 in #CornellPress titles of their choice!

I can’t wait to dig into the results and find out about the latest trends in reading and our customers’ preferences when it comes to books. What formats do they prefer? Do they listen to audiobooks while they commute, or maybe while doing laundry? How important is a title? And when it comes to professors, what are their main concerns regarding course adoption? How can we provide suitable materials for their students? Are our authors content with the way we are doing things at Cornell University Press? How can we improve?

In the competitive, forever evolving world of publishing, it is our belief that we have to be willing to take the next step and be flexible enough so that we can adapt to new environments, our consumers’ lifestyles, striving to improve our offer in order to meet their expectations and desires. Granted, surveys may not be the most ground-breaking and innovative marketing tool, but they have proved to be reliable, efficient, and if implemented successfully, of great use.

 


About the author of this blog post: Adriana Ferreira is the Social Media Coordinator at Cornell University Press. She will take any survey as long as the reward is tempting enough and would love to take part in the #SWYW promotion!

SAY WHAT YOU WANT! #SWYW