Mingling in the Motor City: Session Notes from the 2019 AUPresses Annual Meeting

by Laura


The Association of University Presses (AUPresses) Annual Meeting took place June 11-13, 2019 in Detroit, MI. Panelists shared experiences and key learnings during six sets of concurrent sessions in an effort to foster discussions aimed at helping one another grow and succeed.

While the sessions covered a variety of topics, the underlying theme throughout all that I attended was the same – collaboration and communication. Be it across departments, with peers at other University Presses, with librarians, or even with authors, collaboration and communication are critical to succeeding in today’s world at University Presses.

L to R: GM Renaissance Center; event sign; Sheridan exhibit booth swag; view of Canada across the river

Here are a few quotables from the sessions I attended.  My complete 2019 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

Frontlist Digital Printing: Who Decides and How

  • It is a collaborative effort – from beginning when a book comes into the Press we are talking about possibilities
  • As the industry makes changes and advances, digital is something you have to do
  • You do not need a crystal ball to be perfect at the beginning – digital printing gives flexibility

Better Off Dead? Or, Backlist Reprints, are they Worth it?

  • Bringing back content with value – basic philosophy is “if you don’t do this you (the Press) might end up dead”
  • Books are better off dead if you don’t have the institutional knowledge to produce them again
  • If you bring an older title back into print, reviving the dead ISBN is a terrible idea

Sales Projections: How to Get Real or Learning to Love Sales Forecasts

  • Sales forecasts are about looking at and recognizing patterns – regardless of your area or subject, if you can look at it and see a pattern, you can do sales projections
  • Comps are probably the biggest factor in what you think sales will look like
  • Run an “anniversary” sales report to see how the title performed 12 months after the publication date

Managing Multiple Job Titles

  • Know when you are at your best in every day – your “focus cycle” –  and plan your tasks to fit accordingly
  • It takes a village to raise a book and we are all on the same team
  • All things come back to communication

What Librarians Want Publishers to Know

  • Experimentalism is something we all need to share to move forward
  •  Library renovations tend to focus on new study and program space, not collections
  • There is growth in resource sharing – lending to other institutions

Designing Covers for Scholarly Books

  • There is a fine line between sacrificing the design to make someone happy
  • A strong team is needed (acquisition, design, sales, etc.) to make sure everyone is on board
  • Sometimes I ask the author “are you going to buy the book or do you want someone else to buy the book?”

Download Session Notes

Download your copy of my complete 2019 AUPresses Annual Meeting session notes today!