All-Digital Publisher Fails

August 20, 2010 at 2:25 pm 3 comments

Rice University Press switched in 2006 to all-digital publishing through Connexions.  While that reduced costs, not enough, and RUP has just been shut down.  Doesn’t bode well for the economic model of all-digital publishing.

Rice University Press is being shut down next month, ending an experiment in an all-digital model of scholarly publishing. While university officials said that they needed to make a difficult economic decision to end the operation, they acted against the recommendations of an outside review team that had urged Rice to bolster its support for the publishing operations.

Some supporters, in fact, are in discussions about raising private support to continue the press as a scholarly publishing outfit that might not be attached to any single university.

Many supporters of academic publishing had high hopes for the Rice project, which was launched in 2006 with the goal of merging the quality and rigor of scholarly peer review with the convenience and low cost of digital publishing. The demise of the project led to immediate speculation about whether the Rice experience suggested difficulties for the economic model or if other factors may have been decisive.

via News: Abandoning an Experiment – Inside Higher Ed.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ian Bogost  |  August 20, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    It doesn’t bode well because all-digital printing is not a cost-savings model, its a cashflow-sparing model.

    I wrote more about it here

  • 2. Mark Miller  |  August 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I read a local article about a month ago which said that most students still prefer to get hardcopies rather than e-books. They interviewed students and found that they wanted more from the media, like the ability to add their own side notes to the books. I took that as encouraging, actually. It means that young people get it that they can expect more of their electronic media. I mean, heck, it should enable more things to happen than print media. E-books offer some convenience (less bulky), but in terms of learning opportunity they actually take away capability!

  • 3. Buzz Tatom  |  August 20, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Printing is about choices. As a printing company in Dallas, Tx we do both offset and digital printing. What we find is it is hard for a in house print shop with one type of technology to satisfy all customers and all their needs. They go at it thinking they are going to save money. A successful printing company spreads it’s investment over hundreds if not thousands of customers. Again, academia fails at living in the real world.


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