Farewell to the Printed Monograph
March 23, 2009
The University of Michigan Press is announcing today that it will shift its scholarly publishing from being primarily a traditional print operation to one that is primarily digital.
Within two years, press officials expect well over 50 of the 60-plus monographs that the press publishes each year -- currently in book form -- to be released only in digital editions. Readers will still be able to use print-on-demand systems to produce versions that can be held in their hands, but the press will consider the digital monograph the norm.
Many university presses are experimenting with digital publishing, but the Michigan announcement may be the most dramatic to date by a major university press.
The shift by Michigan comes at a time that university presses are struggling. With libraries' budgets constrained, many presses have for years been struggling to sell significant numbers of monographs -- which many junior professors need to publish to earn tenure -- and those difficulties have only been exacerbated by the economic downturn.
The University of Missouri Press and the State University of New York Press both have announced layoffs in recent months, while Utah State University Press is facing the possibility of a complete elimination of university support.
The complete story at Inside Higher Ed.
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