Reports & Publications

Thursday 18 March 2010

Scholarly Book Publishing Practice: First Survey 2009

An ALPSP survey of academic book publishers' policies and practices, published March 2010

Press release 
ALPSP Seminar: the Future of Academic Book Publishing 18 March 2010
Presentation given by Laura Cox (ppt) (presentation)

ISBN: 0-907341-44-6 / 978-0-907341-44-4
112 pages, paperback, full colour charts throughout, 280 x 216mm

Non Members (Print & PDF) £250.00
Members (Print Only) £60.00
Special Rate for AAUP Members: Print copy + PDF @ £156/$299 each (print version not available separately)

ALPSP Members:
To download this report please go to Reports Access page

To purchase a copy of this report, please email info@alpsp.org for further details.

Key findings include:

  • The publishers surveyed publish over 24,000 new titles each year. The collective backlist comprises nearly 350,000 academic and scholarly titles, covering reference, monographs, textbooks, conference reports, professional handbooks and manuals, and research reports.
  • Publishers continue to use offset printing, as well as digital printing for short-run publications aimed at the academic library market and for print-on-demand.
  • 63.2% of publishers publish e-books in one way or another, but they still account for a fairly small proportion of total book sales, with the average across all publishers at just 9.4%. There has been a dramatic increase in e-book publishing since 2004. Two-thirds of publishers have retro-digitised their backlists.
  • The business models in current use are very varied but can be divided broadly into the following categories: outright purchase; annual subscription; purchase by individual book chapter; short-term rental.
  • 45% of publishers provide continuing access to e-books that have been purchased or held on subscription: 30% do so online and 15% charge an annual maintenance fee for the continued service.
  • With the exception of posting to open access repositories, most publishers recognise authors' right to re-use their work in their own teaching and in future published works.
  • The majority of publishers are actively planning new e-book activities: new service providers, new devices, and more experimentation with business models.

    The full report provides a vast array of evidence about the current policies and practices of scholarly and academic book publishers. This report will act as a starting point for further research in mapping the practices of publishers as the e-book market continues to mature. It is hoped that it will provide clarity on a complex area which involves many more variables and permutations than is seen in the more homogenous online journal market.

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