The book industry is facing many opportunities and challenges as it rises to recent technological developments in the book world. Academics are realizing the potential of these cutting edge developments that often reflect the scientific and technological innovations that they themselves are undertaking. Academic institutions now have the means of publishing their works in an economically friendly manner to an international public through POD publishers like Publibook which permits the “publisher” to become an invisible part of the process, replacing their insignia with that of the academic institution. The combination of these two factors has lead to an increase in the number of university presses and their financial profitability. The university press serves several crucial roles in the functioning of the university, providing a window for the promotion of the universities’ prestige, something of increasing importance as they face drastic budget cuts. Thanks to its partnership with Publibook, the Ecole Centrale de Nantes-a French graduate school of engineering-has developed a university press allowing the editorial team to carry out “publishing” experiments in the same way their counterparts carry our experiments in the school’s laboratories.
Are the new business models that are emerging from these experiments cost-effective? How do these experiments affect the format, features, accessibility and interactivity of the publication? Is there an effect on the way that authors are conceiving their books? What are the new avenues of interpretation for these “hybrid” books? How will university collections benefit from opening up to enhanced books? In this article, I will be looking into the state of the art of emerging university presses. The information in this article is based on interviews carried out with all of the major players in the publication chain, from the editor-in-chief to the end-user, as well as internet research and press articles.
|Keywords:||University Press, Enhanced Books, Print on Demand|
PhD Student and Design Engineer, IRRCyN, Ecole Centrale de Nantes, Nantes, France
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