Open Book Publishers was born in 2008, sparked into life by co-founder and managing editor Alessandra Tosi’s first-hand experience of the frustrations of academic publishing. The thrill of seeing her book in print was dampened by the realisation that, thanks to its exorbitant price and small print run, very few people would have the opportunity to read it. She and co-founder Rupert Gatti began OBP to make high-quality academic books accessible for everyone everywhere and free of charge.
Nine years on we have come closer to realizing our ideal of a world where scholarly works are available to all. With the publication of our hundredth title, Michael Bryson and Arpi Movsesian’s Love and Its Critics: From the Song of Songs to Shakespeare and Milton’s Eden, it is a good time to ask: what have we achieved as we arrive at this milestone, and what do we want to do next?
Over three blog posts we will discuss our innovative publications, our Open Access model and our technological development to celebrate some highlights from our first one hundred books – and to chart a course for the next hundred!
OBP is delighted to announce the launch of OBP Customised, a new line of customised editions that lets readers create their own books! We are the first Open Access publisher in the UK to offer such a service – an exciting opportunity for readers to mix, match, and personalise their own books. By creating their own cover, combining chapters from OBP books, or by mixing OBP content with third-party content, readers will be advancing the Open Access vision of knowledge dissemination paired with knowledge reuse. Continue reading
There is quite a lot of discussion about how to finance the costs of publishing monographs in Open Access. While lots of alternative business models have been identified, actual hard data on the publishing costs and revenue associated with academic books are conspicuously absent from the debate (for fairly obvious reasons – commercial publishers consider such data to be commercially sensitive). Continue reading
In the first part of this post I identified some of the problems I perceive with the legacy publishing model for academic books, articulated the primary objectives of OBP, and noted that at OBP we have the same number of sales per book and two orders of magnitude more readers than legacy publishers do. The intention of this second part of the post is to present some data and use it to assess our success in meeting our four objectives. In Part Three, I will present cost and revenue data to assess the business model. Continue reading
Here are our cost and revenue figures. As also reported at the OASPA conference, they are for the 12-month period from 1 September 2014 to 31 August 2015. Being based in the UK, our accounts are actually denominated in British pounds, but to ease international comparison I have reported everything in US Dollars. As I mentioned in Part One, the most interesting and exciting aspect of Open Access publishing is, I believe, the ability to reduce the costs of academic publication and distribution. After all, that is what the Internet was invented for! Continue reading