Self-publishing: A Creative Solution to Academic Survival in the Commercial World

By Thomas Peter Stehlik.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic Free Download

The world of academic publishing is curiously archaic and bound by odd traditions. In Australia, as elsewhere, academics are under pressure to “publish or perish” in an environment driven by outputs, metrics, publication points, journal rankings and “research excellence” frameworks. At the same time, the world of commercial book publishing is driven by an economic bottom line as large publishers are mainly concerned with “shifting units”. However, a textbook that may sell hundreds of units is still not counted as an academic text for research publication points. Self-publishing through a small commercial press, however, is a way around this dilemma. This paper will outline and discuss the process of niche publishing in Australia through Post Pressed, a small commercial press based in Queensland. A number of academics from the University of South Australia have successfully published, authored and edited books through an arrangement with this imprint, which provides ISBN, verso details and distribution, while the authors contribute to printing costs. An initial printing run could be as low as 50 copies—relatively affordable. Book sales then go towards printing further editions. Over the last decade, a number of successful titles have been produced and distributed that otherwise would not see the light of day. In particular, a number of doctoral theses that have been written using a personal narrative approach, and deserve a wider readership than the examiners and the occasional library researcher, have been successfully published through Post Pressed. Edited books also provide the opportunity for early career researchers to contribute chapters and see their work in print. A number of examples of such titles will be presented and discussed.

Keywords: Self-publishing, Academic Texts, Research Publications, Niche Markets

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp.53-60. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 275.896KB).

Dr. Thomas Peter Stehlik

Senior Lecturer, Education, Arts and Social Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr. Tom Stehlik has been teaching and researching for 20 years at the University of South Australia and is currently a senior lecturer in the School of Education. His interests include adult learning, communities of practice, Steiner education and social inclusion. His most recent publication is the book Changing the Paradigm: Education as the Key to a Socially Inclusive Future, co-edited with Dr. Jan Patterson, published through Post Pressed in 2011.


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