5 minutes with Peter Berkery

5 minutes with Peter Berkery
Peter Berkery
Executive Director
Association of American University Presses

Peter Berkery has been Executive Director of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) since early 2013. Berkery comes to AAUP from Oxford University Press, where he served for the previous five years as Vice President and Publisher for the US Law Division. Prior to that he worked for Wolters Kluwer for 11 years in a series of positions, publishing works on securities licensing examination training, securities law, taxation, and financial planning. He began his publishing career at a division of Thomson Reuters.

Berkery has extensive experience in government affairs and association management. He has been Director of Government Affairs for the National Society of Accountants and Government Relations Counsel for the National Paint and Coatings Association and has served as Assistant Executive Director and Staff Counsel for a division of the American Trucking Associations. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation and as its President.

Berkery has a BA in Classical Studies from Boston College, and both an MA and a JD from The American University, as well as a Master of Laws in Taxation from George Washington University. He has been admitted to practice in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and the United States Tax Court. He is a certified financial planner.

What was the last book you read?
Mouhamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantanamo Diary.

And what did you read it on?
Paper… As God intended. Digital is an awesome way to discover information, but the human (or, at least, my brain) requires paper to comprehend it.

What’s next on your reading list?
Born to Run, Springsteen’s autobiography.

What are you watching right now on TV?
Dust gathering.

What is the one thing about your business that we need to know?
University presses are THRIVING. I know the conventional wisdom is 180 degrees opposite, but the reality is the energy, enthusiasm, and innovation are as high as they’ve been in perhaps over a decade. New presses are starting up, and AAUP’s membership has increased by almost 10% in the last five years.

What do you like about your job?
The people; in my entire career, I’ve never met such a caring and generous group—both the involved volunteers from AAUP member presses and my central office colleagues. It’s extraordinary.

Does the publishing industry understand technology?
Publishing understands technology in a reactive way but has not always embraced proactively its transformative potential. I do think we’ve gotten good at adapting technology to our core missions. We still produce in great numbers the codex (a technology humans don’t seem to be abandoning!) but look at the tools we now use to do so—and the other formats and user-experiences those tools allow us to provide.

How does social media aid the publishing industry?
That’s a leading question… Given the current political climate—which social media helped to foster—I’m not prepared to say it’s a net benefit anywhere. Maybe I’ll have a less bleak answer in a year, or four.

Go on, let us know your musical guilty pleasure
Original Broadway Cast Recordings – even the cheesy ones.

What piece of advice would you give first-timers at the Fair?
Pace yourself, avoid the centre aisles, explore the by-ways, and hydrate!

Visit the AAUP Pavilion at The London Book Fair 2017: Stand 7D14.

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