Fresh from San Francisco: Session Notes from the 2018 AUPresses Conference

by Laura


San FranciscoThe Association of University Presses (AUPresses) Annual Meeting took place June 17-19, 2018 in the history rich Fairmont hotel in San Francisco. Speakers, panelists, attendees, and vendors came together for three days of thought provoking conversation and to shed light on topics central to the hearts of the University Press community.

Monday morning began with the plenary session, Discovering Scholarly Resources in a Digital Age. First up, Anurag Acharya of Google Scholar discussed how it is possible to transcend barriers through Google Scholar and bring light to scholarly information that was previously lost. Next, Mark Algee-Hewitt from Stanford University provided a look at emerging scholarship in the digital humanities along with the role the University Press plays within it.

Following the plenary, the next two days of concurrent sessions were full of stimulating conversations and idea sharing. Here are a few quotables from the sessions I attended. My complete 2018 AUPresses Annual Meeting notes are also available for you to download. Whether you are a University Press publisher or not, they include tips, tricks, and insights that you might find helpful as you navigate the publishing world.

Download Session Notes

Making the Most of Exhibits and Conferences

  • The books that people are most excited about are almost always the ones that are not the best sellers – people are really into the work that is focused on their field
  • Events are “pop up intellectual communities.” These communities occur at the conference level, the panel level, and the booth level. This is the fruit of the bridge building.
  • Don’t just meet with potential authors, meet with people you don’t (but should) know

Managing Technology Transitions

  • Connect the changes you are making to the overall strategy or mission of the Press – it will help keep people on task and ensure that each step or subproject is being done for the right reason
  • Broad representation allows for varied viewpoints, but competing ideas/visions can lead to too much compromise
  • “Ninja” gift cards – offer an incentive to engage people in the project and make their work fun and competitive

Managing Print Runs

  • The best print run is the one when you’ve sold the last book and no one else wants one – POD lets you get there
  • The unit cost at the book level does not have as much weight as it used to
  • There are no repercussions for guessing how many books to print when you go POD

Evolution of the Book Review in the 21st Century

  • Reviews are places where people are getting in fights about books and falling in love with them
  • Book coverage is moving away from a cleaner separation from what is regarded as academic and those that would read for more than just a specialized knowledge
  • Book reviews are just as important for non-fiction as they are for fiction work

Download Session Notes

Download your copy of my complete 2018 AUPresses Annual Meeting session notes today!