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Rutgers University Press is Co-recipient of Mellon Foundation Planning Grant to Explore a Collaborative “E-book” Program
Rutgers University Press, New York University Press, University of Pennsylvania Press, and Temple University Press have received a planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will be used to explore the feasibility of a collaborative university press ebook program. The participating presses will hire a consultant to survey librarians and appraise technology vendors, purchasing models, potential partnerships, and delivery platforms.
For university presses, this is the ideal time to investigate the potential for a new ebook initiative. The need is clear, and no ebook vendor or business model has emerged to fill it to the satisfaction of the academic publishing or library communities. The consortium envisioned by the four partner presses would be an ambitious but practical way for scholarly publishers to address the changing landscape for the dissemination of scholarship.
The initiative, which may be developed further depending on the recommendations from the planning grant, would differ from existing ebook ventures because it will be run by and for scholarly publishers, in collaboration with a non-profit or for profit partner, with a primary focus on the needs of university presses and their library customers. Other notable features of the potential collaboration that would be explored in the planning project include:
A large number of university presses, a minimum of ten in the first year, but with a plan for significantly larger scale, adding 5-10 in each successive year over a five-year period
The presses that would launch this project would represent a mix of press sizes
The goal would be to launch with a minimum of 10,000 ebooks, both backlist and frontlist, with a plan for annual additions
Initial focus on the library market with the possible expansion to students for classroom use, and, depending on the consultant’s recommendation, later to individual consumers
Multiple delivery models and purchase/subscription options, giving libraries the flexibilities they seek, including selection by subject area, year of publication, and patron-driven features
Possible bundling with print or print-on-demand editions should the libraries find this useful as we make the transition from print books to ebooksRegarding the grant, Steve Maikowski, director of New York University Press and co-principal investigator, with Marlie Wasserman, director of Rutgers University Press for the grant, said, “This is a very ambitious planning grant, and we are thankful to the Mellon Foundation for supporting the research into a possible collaborative university press ebook initiative and business. We very much look forward to working with our consultant(s) in the next six months on this major investigative and research project.”
Media Contact: Lisa Fortunato
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