At the recent Association of American University Presses (AAUP) meeting in Austin, TX, I finally got my hands on the print version of this report, which allowed me to actually read it all since I was no longer stuck behind a paywall. As we all know, it is fascinating. On so many levels.
I am pleased that The Chronicle took the time to compose this survey, send it out, and aggregate the responses, giving university presses a moment in the spotlight in a way that we do not often receive. I am saddened, though, by its overall approach. With a few exceptions, only directors or very senior editors responded (or were invited to). Questions posed were limited to subjects surrounding the acquisition of books. Responses seemed to gloss over the fact that we are businesses with marketing and sales teams.
As I read the questions and answers, I kept wanting to know what these wise and esteemed members of our community think about things other than writing quality, types of books, the acquisitions process, etc. I was struck that many of the responses were cautious—unwilling, perhaps out of fear or respect or something else, to push beyond the expected. While I criticize, I also understand. And yet I wished for something different. As such, I present here my responses to those same questions. I offer them from my perspective as a relatively short-term member of the community and as a marketing-and-business-first thinker. I expect and hope that my responses will elicit criticism, consternation, consideration, creativity, and more conversation. I look forward to, as some of us noted on Twitter during AAUP, a continued conversation. Hopefully that discussion will focus, at least partly, on the future of the university press so that this attention from The Chronicle does not simply fade into the ether now that we have returned to our campuses. Continue reading “Doc Martyn’s Sage Marketing: A Marketing Response to The Chronicle’s Report on the Future of Scholarly Publishing”