Academic publishing, a few facts

Academic publishers sell monographs and textbooks.

  • They usually sell monographs for £75  with print run of 2-300, but this may no longer be a viable financial model. Reasons to continue printing monographs might be: cheaper printing costs with print-on-demand (POD), going digital , selling chapter by chapter online, etc. They have to sell monographs in hardback to make sure they’re getting money in and getting that library market. Occasionally, some books sell as paperbacks from the start but the publisher has to be sure there’s a market for it.
  • Academic publishers don’t get stuck in manuscripts. They look for peer reviews to “greenlight” the book. If a book gets two bad peer reviews, they’ll toss the book, two good reviews and it’ll go ahead for discussion; if it gets one good, one bad, they might get back to author and maybe get a third opinion.
  • They don’t tend to publish PhDs because those are too niche. However, a proper book proposal based on a PhD can do well.
  • Academic publishers pay authors around £200 per book, no royalty; though if there’s a paperback print authors will get 7%.
  • It costs £4-500 to index a book and authors have to do it themselves or commission a professional indexer out of pocket.
  • Publishers pay peer reviewers almost nothing: £40 for a proposal , £60 for a manuscript or the option to receive a copy of the book (retail price it’s worth £75, but it’s worth the unit cost price of £11 to the publisher).

So why do authors and peer reviewers do it for so cheap?
Authors get academic recognition and peer reviewers will need other people to peer review their publications.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s