Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 205.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 06:29:58 +0100
From: "Norman D. Hinton" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: 15.201 the tyranny of the monograph
I've been hearing about the death of the monograph, the journal, the
scholarly book, et c. for at least 40 years and I still don't believe
It seems to me that scholarly presses can (and should) do a few things
1. Quit making the books so fancy and hence so expensive. We should
have paper-bound books on cheap paper as the French do.
2. (Part of 1) quit trying to win awards for handsome books -- I have
been arguing with University Press publishers on this topic since about
1956 -- and market books that graduate students and young faculty can
afford. I frankly think that far too many University Press people are
trying to impress each other with binding, type faces, dust jackets,
3. Deliver books on time --= I still remember the year I ordered a text
book from the University of California Press and it was delivered 18
months later -- and they were upset when I had it sent back. (p.s. i
know there are unavoidable delays in publishing -- one might think that
if this was the case, the Press might have sent word to its customers,
as commercial Presses always have in my experience)
4. Stop trying to find subjects that are esoteric and "classy". I
know presses that have stopped trying to publish in various fields
which, to tell the truth, had published only on the outer fringes of
those subjects -- the sort of book that makes one say "I guess that's an
interesting topic, but I'll read it in the library some day, if ever".
5. Don't be afraid to publish boring books on major topics. I know a
whole bunch of Press people who are quite proud of the fact that they
would never have published some of the most central books in various
fields because they were not glitsy.
6. Quit going around being fashionably gloomy.
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