Because it’s our 150th anniversary and we’re excited about it, we’re offering a special deal for anyone who wishes to subscribe to our 1869 Book of the Month Club.
Starting in March, and running until the end of 2019, we’ll send you one new surprise book each month for just $15 each.
So, for $150 you get 10 front list books, shipped to you for free.
All you have to do is subscribe to the 1869 Book of the Month Club and send us your payment before March 15th. We’ll take care of the rest. We’ll even throw in a special little 150th anniversary gift from time to time throughout the year.That’s how excited we are, and how much we value our 1869 members.
For more details, email us.
(The 1869 Book Club is only available to subscribers in the US.)
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.
Daniel 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.
We were the first. Not many get to say that. Well, we do! CUP is 150 years old. So we were around before all the other university presses.
From a marketing perspective this should be a dream. Easy hook, lots of promotion, and so on. But do readers even care? Do they know or want to know that we’ve been doing this publishing thing since 1869? Do authors? What about vendors and other stakeholders? Somehow, I struggle to believe Amazon is going to see we’re 150 years old and immediately order thousands more books!
Regardless, over the past year or so, the marketing team has been brainstorming and planning how to make people take notice of the fact that CUP is the first university press to the sesquicentennial mark. Colleagues from other departments have joined in and we’ve enlisted help from a variety of people on campus. We’ve got the main stuff covered: parties, events, logos, etc. We’ll use those things to let influencers on campus and in the University Press world know about the amazing things we’re doing. But what about the outsiders? Those who might not care so much? Time to get creative. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tell people our story and, perhaps most importantly sell some more books.
Being 150 years old is also an excuse to experiment, to push out some wild and wacky marketing campaigns that perhaps only tangentially use the 150th as their foundation. Videos, podcasts, blogs—content, in other words—will revolve around the 150th but won’t be consumed by it. This catalogue is full of 150th stuff but it’s not the main purpose of the catalogue, obviously! Our new website launched just in time for the 150th and we’ll use the confluence of these two things to move boldly into a content-marketing strategy more suited to the next 150 years (Weeks? Hours?) rather than what’s been done by book publishers for the past 150.
So, we’re 150! Yay, us. And we’re telling you all about it. Lucky you. But, really, from the marketing side of things, this milestone anniversary is all about being the first again. First to try new things. First to change. First to experiment. First to tear it all up and start again. And again. And again. We’re going to the be first to try a whole bunch of crazy things in scholarly book marketing and we hope you enjoy at least one or two of them.
Martyn Beeny is Marketing and Sales Director. He likes coming first; it’s a winning thing. This post was first published in the Spring/Summer 2019 Cornell University Press Catalog.