The Future of the Book in the Digital Age

August 9, 2012

Our business manager, Ioan Suciu, published “The Future of the Book in the Digital Age,” an excellent article about ebooks in the Spring issue of the National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS) magazine, College Services. The article offers a wide-ranging look at issues confronting university libraries, departments, and students as they adopt ebooks, and is available online through the NACAS site.  Here are a few highlights:

“The biggest current issue is that there is a lack of publishing infrastructure to take an e-textbook and deliver it against all available platforms and operating systems. Therefore, the question about switching from print to digital in the classroom is: Could providing access to e-textbooks be enhanced by libraries facilitating use of iPads, smartphones, and ebook readers via standardized platforms?”

“Some U.S.-based institutions have started handing out tablets to students pre-loaded with content: others have started renting out e-readers. Sem Sutter, the head of collection development at Georgetown University said the university offers Amazon e-book readers for check out to students, faculty, and staff.”

Library director Sarah Houghton offers another librarian’s perspective, humorously presented on her Librarian in Black blog: “eBooks is to libraries what that awful boyfriend (or girlfriend) was to you. Think about it. And when I say “eBooks” I mean the whole messed up situation–the copyright nightmares, the publishers, the fragmented formats, the ridiculous terms of service, the device incompatibility, the third-party aggregation companies libraries do business with–all of it. eBooks is the guy who takes advantage of your good nature and generosity only to exploit every last weakness you have for his own personal gain.”

The November Charleston conference is always a great place to soak up the perspective of librarians across the spectrum, and many of our friends are presenting this year, including Mark Coker, Peter Brantley, Mike Shatzkin, Doug Armato, and Georgetown University’s former provost James O’Donnell.

-John Warren

The Passion of the Indies

July 17, 2012

By John Warren, Marketing & Sales Director, Georgetown University Press

Last week I had the pleasure of attending George Washington University’s 5th Annual Conference on Ethics and Publishing, an event with the theme of “Preserving, Protecting and Enhancing the Publishing Ecosystem” and featuring some of the bright minds of academic and general publishing. My friend Mike Shatzkin of the Idea Logical Company, who writes the essential publishing blog The Shatzkin Files, had alerted me to the conference, but I was pleased to see some other familiar names and faces in the day’s line up.

Niko Pfund, President of Oxford University Press, offered a glimpse into Oxford’s strategy and some great case studies in e-book marketing. Shatzkin ran through a sobering summary of the Department of Justice’s case against the big six publishers and Apple, and discussed the possible unintended and negative consequences of the settlement for publishers, and by extension, for the diversity and health of publishing. (Shatzkin is quoted prominently in Ken Auletta’s recent New Yorker article about the case.) An in-depth look at higher education and K–12 publishing was provided by Al Greco, a professor of marketing at Fordham University. I had a hard time, however, discerning the connection to ethics through most of these presentations.

The highlights came from two speakers on the indie side of the equation: Lissa Muscatine, who passionately described her and husband Bradley Graham’s decision to purchase, just over a year ago, the iconic Washington, DC, bookstore Politics and Prose; and Dennis Loy Johnson, president of Melville House, who quite eloquently articulated the passion, potency, and peril of independent publishing in the Kindle age.

The day following the conference, I was able to spend some time with Dennis. We’d met ten years ago, when we had neighboring booth space at Book Expo America, the nation’s annual publishing confab. That was shortly after he and his wife, sculptor Valerie Merians, had become publishers, a decision that emerged from the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Then, I couldn’t help but admire his fervor, which the intervening decade has not dissipated. Among other things, he told me about the remarkable story of publishing Hans Fallada’s novel, Every Man Dies Alone.  Dennis described how the novel, originally written shortly after World War II and overlooked for forty years hence, became a phenomenon largely due to the enthusiastic support of independent booksellers, stores such as Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC.

The amazing backstory of Every Man Dies Alone, and how the book came to be published, reminded me of a nonfiction work which Georgetown University Press will be publishing in early 2013: Jan Karski’s Story of a Secret State. Melville House’s book is a novel, based on a true incident, while Georgetown’s is nonfiction, but both describe amazing acts of resistance, of passion and heroism in the face of Nazi oppression, and both are works being brought to new audiences in the digital age. Karski, a member of the Polish Underground, was one of the first people who tried to warn the West about the Holocaust. (Karski was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, on May 29, 2012.) I just finished reading the manuscript, and look forward to helping to bring Karski’s story, relatively unknown in the United States, the attention it deserves.

We have one of “The 50 Coolest Book Covers”

June 20, 2012 recently did a feature of “The 50 Coolest Book Covers.” Our book Kidney for Sale by Owner designed by David Drummund was one of the books named. This cover just so happens to be one of our favorites at the press. We’re quite pleased by the (well-deserved, if we say so ourselves) notice!

Our Spring/Summer 2012 New Titles Catalog is Now Available

January 19, 2012

We are happy to announce the publication of our Spring/Summer 2012 new titles catalog. You can download a copy on our website. Please take some time to look at our new offerings. Inside you’ll find more information about exciting titles like:

Why Peace Fails: The Causes and Prevention of Civil War Recurrence
By Charles T. Call
Examines the factors behind fifteen cases of civil war recurrence in Africa, Asia, the Caucasus, and Latin America. Call argues that widely touted explanations of civil war—such as poverty, conflict over natural resources, and weak states—are far less important than political exclusion.

Afghan Endgames: Strategy and Policy Choices for America’s Longest War
Edited by Hy othstein and John Arquilla
Brings together some of the finest minds in the fields of history, strategy, anthropology, ethics, and mass communications to provide a clear, balanced, and comprehensive assessment of the alternatives for restoring peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Qatar: A Modern History
By Allen J. Fromherz
In this groundbreaking modern history, Fromherz presents a full portrait that analyzes Qatar’s crucial role in the Middle East and its growing regional influence within a broader historical context.

Ethics Beyond War’s End
Edited by Eric Patteron
Top thinkers in the field offer powerful contributions to our understanding of the vital issues associated with late- and postconflict in tough, real-world scenarios that range from the US Civil War to contemporary quagmires in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and the Congo.

Federal Management Reform in a World of Contradictions
By Beryl Radin
Renowned public administration scholar Radin reveals what may lie behind the failure of so many efforts at government management reform.

Cultural Chinese: Readings in Art, Literature, and History
By Zu-yan Chen and Hong Zhang
An advanced language textbook with a new approach to cultural integration and immersion. In this unique book, culture becomes the very core of language learning, transitioning its role from context to text.

Georgetown University Press Content Now Available on Project MUSE

January 13, 2012

Selected Georgetown University Press content is now available as part of Project MUSE’s University Press Content Consortium (UPCC) Book Collections.

The newly launched UPCC Book Collections provide libraries, researchers, and students with access to a wealth of high quality book-length scholarship, fully integrated with MUSE’s electronic journal collections. With digital books from more than 65 major university presses and related scholarly publishers, UPCC collections will offer over 14,000 book titles, alongside content from over 500 respected scholarly journals, in a user-friendly environment with rich discovery tools.

“Georgetown University Press is proud to be a part of this significant offering of scholarly content and looks forward to making more and more of our titles available through the UPCC collections,” says Gina Lindquist, assistant director and marketing and sales director at Georgetown University Press.

For more information on Project MUSE’s UPCC Book Collections and to browse title lists, click here.

Georgetown University Press FY11 Annual Report

December 8, 2011

2011 was another great fiscal year for the press. We finished with a net surplus for the seventh consecutive year, with sales 6% ahead of fiscal year 2010—our ninth consecutive year of record sales. Ebook sales increased 141%, though they still represent a small percentage of overall sales. Since fiscal year 2003, sales at the press have increased 119%, with a compound annual growth rate of 9%. In addition to great sales, the press also published a visually stunning and intellectually rich history of Georgetown University, continued its roll-out of the new third editions of the Al-Kitaab Arabic Language Program, and launched a new website. To learn more, please read our FY11 Annual Report.

Columbia Sales Consortium to Represent Georgetown University Press

December 7, 2011

Starting January 1, 2012, Columbia Sales Consortium will handle sales representation of Georgetown University Press to booksellers in the United States.

Columbia Sales Consortium is a division of Columbia University Press and represents a number of academic and university presses to booksellers throughout the United States.

“Columbia’s sales reps are top-notch and their experience in selling university press content to the book trade is remarkable. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship,” stated Gina Lindquist, assistant director and marketing and sales director of Georgetown University Press. “Furthermore, we are fortunate to find ourselves in the company of the many esteemed and admired university presses that Columbia Sales Consortium also represents.”

“Columbia University Press is very excited about Georgetown University Press joining the Columbia Sales Consortium,” said Brad Hebel, director of sales and marketing at Columbia University Press. “Georgetown has a great publishing program and books that are well respected among booksellers and readers everywhere. Their books fit very well with the other presses in our consortium and it will be a pleasure for our sales reps to present these titles to all our bookselling partners in the US.”

Booksellers wishing to contact a sales representative regarding Georgetown University Press titles should contact: William Gawronski in the West; Kevin Kurtz in the Midwest; Catherine Hobbs on the East Coast; and Dominic Scarpelli in New York City.


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