Last November’s Academic Book Week was hailed as a great success, celebrating the ‘diversity, innovation and influence’ of academic books with more than 60 events taking place across the country and online, hosted by libraries, bookshops, universities, and academic publishers. The celebrations gained global media attention, as Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was voted the most influential academic book of all time from a shortlist that included works by Shakespeare, Orwell, and Einstein.
It’s good news, then, that Academic Book Week will return next year, running from 23-28 January 2017. The centrepiece of next year’s events will take place at the British Library on 25 January, when the final report from the Academic Book of the Future project will be launched. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Library, and led by theCentre for Publishing at University College, London, the project has for the past two years been exploring how scholarly work in the arts and humanities will be produced, read, and preserved in the future. Last year’s book week was run by the ABF project team, but for next year’s they’ll be assisted by a group of bodies including the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, the Booksellers Association, the British Library, Midas PR, The Publishers Association,Research Libraries UK, and University College London. Anyone wishing to host an event is asked to visit the Academic Book Week website, or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Less encouraging news comes from Leicester, where the university bookshop has been threatened with closure, to be replaced by a service allowing students to order books through the student union, and pop-up bookshops at the start of term. The Bookseller reports that space occupied by the shop, currently situated in the David Wilson Library, will be converted into an additional study area. The proposals are currently under consultation, with a decision expected later this month.
Last month’s Beijing International Book Fair saw the UK’s two largest university presses, Oxford and Cambridge, both sign cooperation agreements with the China Publishing Group, China’s largest trade publisher. All three presses also featured on the latest ranking of the 52 largest international publishers by Publishers Weekly and France’s Livres Hebdo, with CPG down two places at 15, OUP down two to 21, and CUP up one to 37. The list remains as dominated as ever by academic and educational publishers, with Pearson holding on to first position, and Wiley, McGraw-Hill Education, Scholastic, Elsevier,Springer, and Cengage all occupying places in the top 20.
A busy month for Cambridge University Press also saw the launch of Cambridge Core, a new online platform that brings all its academic content into a single place. Replacing Cambridge’s two previous academic platforms, Cambridge Journals Online, and Cambridge Books Online, the new platform hosts more than 30,000 ebooks and 360 journals, including titles from press partners such as Liverpool and Edinburgh University Press.
Another university press in the news is the University of Wales Press, which has just announced a partnership with the Open Library of the Humanities to convert the International Journal of Welsh Writing in English into a fully gold open-access journal. The deal marks the first partnership between a university press and the Open Library of the Humanities; the latter will now house the journal on its submission and presentation platform, while the University of Wales Press will continue to publish it.