Univ. of Michigan Press becomes part of Library

From the Chronicle of Higher Education “U. of Michigan Press Reorganizes as a Unit of the Library” (subscription required).

As the article notes, having a University Press as part of the University Library organization is not new (Stanford University Press has been part of the Stanford University Libraries organization for years),

But Philip Pochoda, the press’s director, said in an interview that he believes this arrangement is notable because it relieves the press of pressure to be financially self-sustaining.

The new model for the University of Michigan press will emphasize digital publishing, with a small print-on-demand component.

I like the idea that this move allows the University of Michigan Press to experiment with new models of publishing, without being constrained by a profit-making paradigm.

I also like the idea of libraries being directly involved in developing and sustaining new models of publishing. It seems to fit well with the notion that a main mission of libraries is to provide access to information. We have traditionally done that by purchasing copies of published materials, and then providing the means for that material to be used by our communities. As old models of publishing break down, libraries have some opportunities to cut out the middle-man. This fits with my sense of how libraries might apply Clay Shirky’s ideas about newspapers to thinking about our future.

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