The Restructuring of Scholarly Publishing in the United States, 1980-2001: A Resource-Based Analysis of University Presses

Article excerpt

* The Restructuring of Scholarly Publishing in the United States, 19802001: A Resource-Based Analysis of University Presses. Barbara G. Haney Jones. Lewiston, ME: Edward Mellen Press, 2009. 452 pp. $129.95 pbk.

Of interest to serious researchers who may be seeking to get their monographs accepted by a good academic press, this study may open some eyes, for aU is not weU in the world of scholarly publishing. But it must be said at the outset that to some extent this is a book of history.

Note the dates in the title - most of the discussion here predates the full impact of the Internet on publishing. Further, many of the trends described here have greatly expanded over the years since - the decline in Ubrary book-buying, for example. So the detailed discussion, based on data largely from the mid-1990s, has a rather quaint feel to it a decade and more later. Add in the recent economic slump, and the book seems even more outmoded. That is not to say, however, that it has little value.

Jones, financial manager of the Edward Mellon Press, a small private publisher of scholarly work, wrote this study as a dissertation at the University of Wales (located near the publisher's U.K. offices), completing her work several years ago. The importance of the topic, to both authors and publishers, has led to its publication now. Many of the trends she identifies in text and tables continue and have often accelerated recently. She notes the growing role of electronic books and Internet book-seUing, two aspects of publishing which are ever more important. The appearance of Kindles and more recently iPads seems likely to speed up the growth of electronic books, whether traditionalists (including this reviewer) like it or not. …