UCP News

The crisis in non-fiction publishing

June 26, 2015
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The crisis in non-fiction publishing

Bolder. More global. Risk-taking. The home of future stars. Not a tagline for a well-placed index fund portfolio (thank G-d), but the crux of a piece by Sam Leith for the Guardian on the “crisis in non-fiction publishing”—ostensibly the result of copycat, smart-thinking, point-taking trade fodder that made Malcolm Gladwell not just a columnist, but a brand. As Leith asserts: We have a flock of books arguing that the internet is either the answer to all our problems or the cause of them; we have scads of books telling us about the importance of mindfulness, or forgetfulness, or distraction, or stress. We have any number about what one recent press release called the “always topical” debate between science and religion. We have a whole subcategory that concern themselves with “what it means to be human.” Enter the university presses. Though Leith acknowledges they’re still capable of producing academic jargon dressed-up in always already pantalettes, they are also home to deeper, more complex, and vital trade non-fiction that produces new scholarship and nuanced contributions to the world of ideas, while still targeting their offerings to the general reader. If big-house publishers produce brands, scholarly presses produce the sharp, intelligent, and individualized contributions that later (after, . . .

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Carol Kasper receives the 2015 AAUP Constituency Award

June 25, 2015
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Carol Kasper receives the 2015 AAUP Constituency Award

Carol Kasper, our very own marketing director, was recently honored by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) with their 2015 Constituency Award. The Constituency Award is unique, in that it involves an open-call nomination process from one’s peers, and focuses not only on individual achievement, but also on the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that marks the measure of integrity and success within the scholarly publishing community. From the official press release: The Constituency Award, established in 1991, honors an individual of a member press who has demonstrated active leadership and service, not only in service to the Association but to the scholarly publishing community as a whole. In addition to a term on the Association’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2011, Kasper has been a member of numerous committees and panels throughout the years, including the Marketing Committee, the Bias-Free Language Task Force, and Midwest Presses Meeting Committees. . . . In addition to her formal service to the Association, and her leadership in the university press and international scholarly publishing worlds, Kasper has hosted numerous Whiting/AAUP Residents over the years. One of the nominating letters added: “Carol has dedicated all this time and energy to the AAUP in her . . .

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Economics for Humans: free e-book for March

March 4, 2014
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Economics for Humans: free e-book for March

More about Economics for Humans, our free e-book for March: At its core, an economy is about providing goods and services for human well-being. But many economists and critics preach that an economy is something far different: a cold and heartless system that operates outside of human control. In this impassioned and perceptive work, Julie A. Nelson asks a compelling question: If our economic world is something that we as humans create, aren’t ethics and human relationships—dimensions of a full and rich life—intrinsically part of the picture? Is it possible to take this thing we call economics and give it a body and a soul? Economics for Humans argues against the well-ingrained notion that economics is immune to moral values and distant from human relationships. Here, Nelson locates the impediment to envisioning a more considerate economic world in an assumption that is shared by both neoliberals and the political left. Despite their seemingly insurmountable differences, Nelson notes that they both make use of the metaphor, first proposed by Adam Smith, that the economy is a machine. This pervasive idea, Nelson argues, has blinded us to the qualities that make us work and care for one another—qualities that also make businesses . . .

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2013 PROSE Awards

February 7, 2014
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2013 PROSE Awards

The PROSE Awards (or, the American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence) are unique to the scholarly and professional publishing communities—not only prestigious, but selected from “over 535 entries of books, reference works, journals,and electronic products in more than 40 categories,” juried by a community of peer publishers, librarians, and academics. In addition to offering congratulations to all the winners, we are delighted to point you toward those books from our own list that received either a PROSE Award or honorable mention for general excellence: Art Exhibitions Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North By Peter John Brownlee, Sarah Burns, Diane Dillon, Daniel Greene, and Scott Manning Stevens Biological Sciences (Honorable Mention) The Ornaments of Life: Coevolution and Conservation in the Tropics  By Theodore H. Fleming and W. John Kress Earth Sciences The Lost World of Fossil Lake: Snapshots from Deep Time By Lance Grande Education Education, Justice, and Democracy Edited by Danielle S. Allen and Rob Reich Environmental Science (Honorable Mention) Our Once and Future Planet: Restoring the World in the Climate Change Century  By Paddy Woodworth Literature (Honorable Mention) Five Words: Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes By Roland Greene Music and . . .

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Carol Kasper on the history of Chicago’s distribution program

November 13, 2013
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Carol Kasper on the history of Chicago’s distribution program

To continue the themes of University Press Week, which include “celebrat of the role of university presses in our intellectual, cultural, and civic life,” we asked our Sales and Marketing Director Carol Kasper to give us an insider’s perspective on the history of Chicago’s distribution program, which currently works with over one hundred individual publishers. Her thoughts on how the program has helped to facilitate “community and commerce” among university presses follow below: November. Cold winds. Rain. The last bursts of fall color. Thanksgiving. And, now, University Press Week! A nice thing to see after thirty-plus years at the University of Chicago Press and a recent three-year stint on the board of the Association of American University Presses. Some of the things we talked about during my recent tenure are still ongoing—for instance, the effort to reach out to scholarly presses that aren’t attached to universities and to presses outside North America. These causes were two that I felt most strongly about, no doubt because of my experiences with Chicago’s distribution programs. So, a little meditation here on the nature of community and commerce in the scholarly publishing world in honor of University Press Week! First, a non-rhetorical question that . . .

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End of an era: Farewell to Jack Cella

October 11, 2013
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End of an era: Farewell to Jack Cella

After this Sunday, October 13, Hyde Park will never be the same. Jack Cella, the general manager of the Seminary Co-op Bookstore for the past 43 years, will retire after helping the store transform from a locally centered cooperative to the nation’s premier scholarly bookstore, with more 50,000 members and three locations. It would be nearly impossible to exaggerate the depth and breadth of Cella’s contribution to the culture of scholarly publishing and to this remarkable institution, and in turn, his value to the Hyde Park community, and especially to the University of Chicago Press. From our promotions director Levi Stahl: Being a regular at a bookstore is one of life’s great pleasures. And what you want above all—your reward for being a regular—is good company: you go to the store to talk with the people there, to find out what they’ve been doing and seeing (and of course reading), to hear what they’ve spotted that they think you might like, to catch up on the flood of new books you’d otherwise miss. What you want is to talk to Jack Cella. It’s almost impossible to leave a conversation with Jack—quiet, understated, serious, friendly Jack—without a new book if not . . .

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Introducing UCP’s Summer Shorts

June 18, 2013
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Introducing UCP’s Summer Shorts

“Still longer than a tweet and still shorter than A River Runs Through It—” SUMMER CHICAGO SHORTS Publication Date: June 18, 2013 The University of Chicago Press is pleased to announce the launch of our summer series of Chicago Shorts—distinguished selections, including never-before-published material, off-the-radar reads culled from the University of Chicago Press’s commanding archive, and the best of our newest books, all priced for impulse buying and presented exclusively in DRM-free e-book format. Aimed at the general reader and running the gamut from the latest in contemporary scholarship to can’t-miss chapters from classic publications, Chicago Shorts continues to turn the page on the twenty-first-century reading experience. With summer upon us, we’ve selected a group of shorts that offer all the pleasures you look for in that season: they’re light, funny, and engaging; they stoke our dreams of faraway places and outdoor adventures; and like summer itself—they leave you wanting more. Among the Summer Shorts, you’ll find: Ain’t Love Grand! From Earthworms to Elephant Seals by Marty Crump God: The Autobiography by Franco Ferrucci (trans. by Raymond Rosenthal) Spiral Jetta Summer: Swimming in the Great Salt Lake by Erin Hogan It’s Alive! The Science of B-Movie Monsters by Michael LaBarbera . . .

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The Trials of an Editor

May 8, 2013
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The Trials of an Editor

We greet the spring with an annual rite, neither more nor less essential than the other invocations that usher in the season (woodpecker outside my window foxing with overzealous, semester’s-end induced sleep; big-leaved magnolia blossoms littering the street like well-boutonnièred toilet-paper folk art and norteño/Baby Bash productions looping over and under some dude’s fancy for the J. Geils Band). With this rite—the announcement of the recipient of any particular year’s Laing Prize—we drum up the legacy of Gordon J. Laing, former general editor of the University of Chicago Press. In February 1925, the same month that saw the New Yorker publish its first issue, Laing penned a satirical piece about university publishing for the in-house newsletter Press Impressions. Stravinsky strings on, and we reproduce it in its entirety below: *** The Trials of an Editor Some Experiences of the Man Intrusted with the Preparation of Manuscript for Our Publication By Gordon J. Laing, General Editor From Press Impressions, Volume 2, Number 5, February 1925 The editor of Press Impressions gave me the title of this article and I have let it stand. The fact, however, is that although I have been an editor for fifteen years, I have never had . . .

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2013 Laing Prize: Andreas Glaeser’s Political Epistemics

April 30, 2013
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2013 Laing Prize: Andreas Glaeser’s Political Epistemics

The Gordon J. Laing Prize is awarded annually by the University of Chicago Press to the faculty author, editor, or translator of a book published in the previous three years that brings the Press the greatest distinction. The varied expertise of past recipients has spanned the disciplines—from intellectual property wars and evolutionary theory to racial profiling and eighteenth-century Italian opera—and helped to generate an enviable listing of scholars that the University is lucky to call their own. On top of all that, this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Prize, first awarded to Bernard Weinberg in 1963 for A History of Literary Criticism in the Italian Renaissance. This year, the 2013 Laing Prize went to Andreas Glaeser, associate professor of soci0logy at the University, for Political Epistemics: The Secret Police, the Opposition, and the End of East German Socialism. Glaeser’s book considers socialist East Germany’s unexpected self-dissolution in 1989, building on extensive in-depth interviews with former secret police officers and the dissidents they tried to control, among other resources, to offer an epistemic account of socialism’s failure that differs markedly from existing explanations. Included below are some snapshots from the recent Laing Prize reception taken by our editorial director . . .

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Introducing Chicago Shorts

February 1, 2013
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Introducing Chicago Shorts

“Longer than a tweet and shorter than A River Runs Through It—” INTRODUCING CHICAGO SHORTS  The University of Chicago Press is pleased to announce the launch of Chicago Shorts—distinguished selections, including never-before-published material, off-the-radar reads culled from the University of Chicago Press’s commanding archive, and the best of our newest books, all priced for impulse buying and presented exclusively in DRM-free e-book format. Aimed at the general reader and running the gamut from the latest in contemporary scholarship to can’t-miss chapters from classic publications, Chicago Shorts turn the page on the twenty-first-century reading experience. Among the inaugural batch of nine Shorts, you’ll find: What Every Novelist Needs to Know about Narrators by Wayne C. Booth Ebert’s Bests by Roger Ebert Nixon and the Silver Screen by Mark Feeney A Little History of Photography Criticism; or, Why Do Photography Critics Hate Photography? by Susie Linfield Custer’s Last Stand: The Unfinished Manuscript by Norman Maclean Shylock on Trial: The Appellate Briefs by Richard Posner and Charles Fried Erika and Klaus Mann in New York: Escape from the Magic Mountain by Andrea Weiss Bill Veeck’s Crosstown Classic by Bill Veeck with Ed Linn Rabbits with Horns and Other Astounding Viruses by Carl Zimmer . . .

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