Mudditt recently spoke to Book Business magazine about the the explosion of interest in e-books, two pilot “born-digital” products the Press is developing, and the new challenges scholarly publishers face. She shares insight on the ways UC Press’s e-book strategy is changing, and reveals how Kindle sales of Mark Twain’s Autobiography have compared to the print version.
Read an excerpt of the interview below, and access the full article on Book Business’s website.
Is the demand for scholarly books changing? What do you think is causing these trends?
Mudditt: The market for scholarly monographs has been shrinking for at least a couple of decades. This has been driven in significant part by the allocation of shrinking library budgets: As the price of scholarly journals, particularly in STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] fields, has skyrocketed, the available budget for books has become smaller and smaller. Over the past decade or so, the budgetary problem has been exacerbated by the dramatic technological and cultural shifts as information has moved to a Web-based, decentralized and abundant environment. In this world, the largely static, often print-only, scholarly monograph seems both isolated and out-of-date. The challenge for those of us in the scholarly publishing world is to find a way to reinvent the model in such a way that scholarly discourse can become more accessible than it has ever been—a vibrant hub of information and debate that serves not only the academy, but a much wider audience seeking answers to many contemporary problems.