Presses under pressure 1

May 8, 2008

Your critique of UK academic publishers was an unsettling read ("Publish and be ignored", 24 April).

You ignored the vast majority of publishers operating creatively to bring specialised books to a specialised market. Sales within the academic sector tend not to happen through glossy ad campaigns and high-profile reviews but through targeted marketing and controlled metadata - that is, correct bibliographics and subject coding, particularly for search engine optimalisation.

Perhaps publishers fall short in assuming a level of insider knowledge about the process that authors may not possess. Why not provide a real service through articles on recent industry challenges such as consolidation and homogenisation of publishing houses and retail outlets; the breakdown of territorial restrictions and problems caused by the weak dollar; and copyright in the electronic age?

Kathryn Earle, Managing director, Berg Publishers, and vice-chair, Independent Publishers Guild

Anne Beech

Managing director, Pluto Press, and chair, Academic and Professional Special Interest Group, Independent Publishers Guild.

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