University Press Ebook Consortium Moves Forward

The team of directors spearheading a university press-branded consortium to sell collections of ebooks to academic libraries—Steve Maikowski, New York University Press; Eric Halpern, University of Pennsylvania Press; Alex Holzman, Temple University Press; and Marlie Wasserman, Rutgers University Press—is pleased to announce a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for $47,000, to be used to advance the venture toward its fall 2011 launch. Fifty-five university presses have expressed a strong interest in participating in this project. Managers at many of these presses understand that the separate efforts of individual presses are an inefficient solution to the challenge of disseminating university press ebooks to academic libraries. By working together to achieve efficiencies of scale, presses that join the consortium will put the needs of the scholarly community as a whole at the top of the agenda.

With the benefit of the new Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, the press directors organizing the venture will draft a prospectus clarifying a viable business model, including user features and pricing, and will begin to enlist the fifty-five presses and others in a formal consortium. In addition, the organizers will tender a request for proposal to a small list of prospective business partners able to host the platform and market the ebook offerings. The press directors also will organize an advisory board of experts from the Association of Research Libraries to assist in determining the final size, number, and coverage of discipline collections. The consortium expects to launch with over 2000 new titles and 23,000 older titles in subject-area collections, as well as a complete collection offer. Continue reading

New NYU Libraries Special Collections Blog

The Back Table is a new blog highlighting special collections at the libraries of New York University. This blog was born out of a collective interest among archives and library staff to forge a stronger connection between the NYU special collections, the departments that act in accordance with them, and the larger library and archives community. Our goal is to maintain a virtual space for exploring our professional interests as archivists and examining how those interests apply to our work at NYU Libraries.

Watch for posts every Tuesday. The month of February will feature introductory posts from each Bobst special collections repository (Fales, University Archives, Tamiment) and affiliated departments (Preservation, Digital Libraries).

New York Book Show Design Awards!

NYU Press is delighted to announce that we have won jacket/cover design awards in the 2010 New York Book Show. The New York Book Show is a North American competition, so we have some prestigious company: Abrams; University of Alberta Press; Alfred A. Knopf; McSweenys; Penguin; Princeton University Press; Random House; Rizzoli; and the Smithsonian Institution.

Watch This! by Jonathan L. Walton
Design by: Brady McNamara

Jews, God, and Videotape by Jeffrey Shandler
Design by: Ann Weinstock

Spirituality, Inc. by Lake Lambert III
Design by: David Drummond

The Study of Halloween: A Week of Ghoulish Articles

This week, From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, presents five articles on the world of Halloween. These scholars have extrapolated many hidden texts from the popular perceptions of halloween and the paranormal. Check back every day this week for a new spooky short essay!

Monday: Illegal Alien Costumes by Alyshia Gálvez
Tuesday: The Ghosts of 14th St. by David Freeland
Wednesday: Hate Crime Laws and New Identities by Mary Gray
Thursday: Tricks, Treats, and Shattering Stereotypes by Lara Frater
Friday: The Angry Coffee House Ghost by Christopher D. Bader, F. Carson Mencken, and Joseph Baker

New Book Series! Families, Law, and Society

NYU Press is proud to announce a new book series that addresses the social, legal, and political challenges facing the modern family.

Families, Law, and Society will publish innovative work exploring the social, legal, and political issues that lie at the center of conversations about the family in modern life. The 21st-century family is in dramatic transition, with the roles, needs, and interrelationships of its members under intense scrutiny and flux. Debates over same sex versus heterosexual partnerships, cohabitation versus legal marriage, children conceived biologically versus by artificial reproductive technology are just a few of the indicators that today’s families are changing faster than the laws and policies that regulate them.

The series aims to address the wide range of issues that inform and influence family law in both the private realm (e.g., divorce, adoption, marriage) and public domain (e.g., welfare, child abuse, juvenile justice). While interdisciplinary research is encouraged, the series editor will strive to ensure that all books published in Families, Law, and Society consider the interrelationship between family and law, and critically examine the social and cultural changes in the lived realities of families and the relationship between families and the law.

Edited by one of the academy’s leading experts on family law, the series will serve as a platform for scholars publishing provocative and timely works in an all-important public policy arena that has thus far not garnered the attention it merits.

Series Editor: Nancy Dowd is the David Levin Chair in Family Law and Director of the Center on Children and Families at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. An active scholar in family law, feminist, and critical theory, she is the author of three books from NYU Press: In Defense of Single Parent Families, Redefining Fatherhood, and (with Michele Jacobs) Feminist Legal Theory: An Anti-Essentialist Reader. NYUP will publish her fourth book, The Man Question: Feminist Jurisprudence, Masculinities, and the Law, in the fall of 2010.

Confessions of an NYU Press Intern

Hello. My name is Eric Brach, and I’m an NYU Press intern.

Now, before you get all excited – before you start google-stalking me, offering me your facebook friendship, or attempting to buy your way into my head and heart by offering me delicious chocolate confections – let me tell you this: I cannot get you my luxe job.

Sorry. It just doesn’t work that way.

That aside, what I can do is tell you all about what it’s been like working at NYU Press all summer. Joe has graciously allotted me a bit of space today to reflect on what it’s been like to dampen my feet in the rooftop pool of the academic publishing world – the deep end – and that’s what I plan to do.

NYU Press is interesting to me in that it’s a commercial enterprise with a decidedly non-commercial bent. We’re not looking to put out the next Harry Potter; what we strive to do is publish first-rate scholarship, a world of the written word that is not generally at the top of casual readers’ lists. That said, the Press needs to be cognizant of dollars and sense; this leads to an interesting balancing act: how do we focus on mission A, introducing to the world the best academic work we can, while not losing sight of somewhat opposing (OK, nearly diametrically opposing) mission B: generating enough income to stay focused on mission A?

The answer? It’s tough. I worked in Washington, D.C. for a number of years, and I always marveled at the similar mental and financial gymnastics undergone as a matter of course by the myriad non-profits in that city on a hill. Now I’ve had the chance to see how it plays out, and I’m starting to understand: it requires savvy and a very, very steady hand.
Continue reading

NYU Press Forms Partnership for Readers with Print Disabilities

NYU Press has joined two other prestigious university publishers to provide digital books for Bookshare Publisher Partner Program’s accessible online library for people with print disabilities. The University of Chicago Press, the University of California Press and New York University Press have all agreed to provide Bookshare with digital book files that will contribute thousands of new scholarly works to the Bookshare collection. Books from Nobel Prize winning authors and academic texts in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and disability studies will expand the choices available for students in higher education and readers of distinguished authors.

The Bookshare library provides legal access to more than 50,000 books and 150 periodicals to readers with print disabilities. Thanks to Bookshare, a person with a print disability can read a newspaper the same day it hits the newsstand or download a best-selling book simultaneously with its print publication.

“The goal of university press publishing is to bring important scholarship to the widest audience possible,” said Steve Maikowski, Director, NYU Press. “We are pleased to be participating in the Bookshare program, giving readers with print disabilities access to our books with greater ease and in a wider range of formats than ever before. Given NYU Press’s strong commitment to publishing in the field of disabilities studies, we are particularly pleased to make our books available in accessible formats.”

Fewer than five percent of the books needed by people with print disabilities have typically been available in accessible formats. An award from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) allows Bookshare to expand its collection through publisher partnerships and to significantly increase the number of users who have access to the service.

To learn more about bookshare, visit their website.

NYU Press Leads Group Receiving Mellon Grant for UP Electronic Book Project

NYU Press is pleased to announce the receipt of a planning grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a collaborative university press electronic book project. The grant, to be administered by NYU Press on behalf of collaborating presses at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Rutgers University, will fund multifaceted research into the feasibility of developing a consortium of university presses to deliver e-books to libraries on a shared platform. The participating presses will select and hire one or more consultants who will survey librarians about their evolving needs for digitally available scholarship, and appraise technology vendors, purchasing models and partnerships, and delivery platforms.

The initiative will differ from existing e-book ventures in that it will be run by and for scholarly publishers, with a primary focus on the needs of university presses and their library customers. Other notable features of the consortium include:

  • A large number of university presses, a minimum of ten in the first year, but with a plan for significantly larger scale, adding five to ten in each successive year over a five-year period
  • The presses that would launch this project would represent a mix of sizes
  • The goal would be to launch with a minimum of 10,000 e-books, both backlist and frontlist, with a plan for annual additions
  • Initial focus on the library market with the possible expansion to students for classroom use, and, depending on the consultant’s recommendation, later to individual consumers
  • Multiple delivery models and purchase/subscription options, giving libraries the flexibilities they seek, including selection by subject area, year of publication, and patron-driven features
  • Possible bundling with print or print-on-demand editions should the libraries find this useful as we make the transition from print books to e-books

For university presses, this is the ideal time to launch a new e-book initiative. The need is clear, and no vendor has emerged to fill it to the satisfaction of the academic publishing or library communities. The consortium envisioned by the four partner presses is an ambitious but practical way for scholarly publishers to address the changing landscape for the dissemination of scholarship.

The co-principal investigators for the grant are Steve Maikowski, Director of NYU Press, and Marlie Wasserman, Director of Rutgers University Press.

NYU Press Books Now Available on Kindle

NYU Press is pleased to announce the launch of an initial group of 65 books on’s Kindle e-book device. This first group includes both newly published books and backlist classics. Among the books now available on the Kindle are Phil Zuckerman’s Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment, Andrew Ross’s Nice Work If You Can Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times, and Nicholas Rasmussen’s On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine. To see the list of available books, click here.

In the coming months, NYU Press will make many more books, both old and new, available on the Kindle and other e-book reading devices.

NYU Press Mourns the Passing of Author Luke Cole

It is with great sadness the NYU Press notes the passing of one of our authors, Luke Cole, who was killed on Friday, June 6, 2009 in a car accident in Uganda. With co-author Shelia Foster, Luke wrote the now classic From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement (Critical America Series) for NYU Press in 2001. The book is now considered a classic on environmental justice and racism and has long been a staple book for environmental studies classics. A graduate from Harvard Law School, Luke was also the founder of the Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment, based in San Francisco and represented many low-income communities and workers in their fight against environmental hazards.

We mourn his loss.

–Ilene Kalish, Executive Editor, NYU Press

More on Luke at Daily Kos