University Press eBook Consortia

Reposted in full from the NYU Press blog, From the Square

The team of directors spearheading a university press-branded consortium to sell collections of ebooks to academic libraries—Steve Maikowski, New York University Press; Eric Halpern, University of Pennsylvania Press; Alex Holzman, Temple University Press; and Marlie Wasserman, Rutgers University Press—is pleased to announce a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for $47,000, to be used to advance the venture toward its fall 2011 launch. Fifty-five university presses have expressed a strong interest in participating in this project. Managers at many of these presses understand that the separate efforts of individual presses are an inefficient solution to the challenge of disseminating university press ebooks to academic libraries. By working together to achieve efficiencies of scale, presses that join the consortium will put the needs of the scholarly community as a whole at the top of the agenda.

With the benefit of the new Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, the press directors organizing the venture will draft a prospectus clarifying a viable business model, including user features and pricing, and will begin to enlist the fifty-five presses and others in a formal consortium. In addition, the organizers will tender a request for proposal to a small list of prospective business partners able to host the platform and market the ebook offerings. The press directors also will organize an advisory board of experts from the Association of Research Libraries to assist in determining the final size, number, and coverage of discipline collections. The consortium expects to launch with over 2000 new titles and 23,000 older titles in subject-area collections, as well as a complete collection offer.

In this next phase of the University Press Ebook Consortium project, the original four press directors managing the project have been joined by Doug Armato, University of Minnesota Press, and Donna Shear, University of Nebraska Press.

“We are confident that this will be a transformational initiative,” noted Steve Maikowski, director at New York University Press. “Publishers will be able to retain control of their content and realize reasonable revenue on their ebooks, academic libraries will be able to order university press ebooks at fair prices and in a timely way from known and reliable vendors, and students and scholars will have greater access—both in terms of discovery as well as actual use– to more university press books than ever before. Equally important, the consortium will allow university presses to rebuild relationships with their core academic library market. ”

For more information, contact: Alex Holzman, Director, Temple University Press, (215) 926 2145, alex.holzman@temple.edu

Hat tip, teleread.org