Open Access Book Publishing
Print Sales, Publisher Revenues, and New Business Models
Developing open access models for monograph publishing is a priority for many university presses today, but it has been a challenge to provide the level of subvention necessary to sustain open models. As a consequence, open access programs have increasingly looked to include library support as well, for example through various flavors of subscribe to open models. In addition, some publishing leaders have come to question the assumption that when monographs are published on an open access basis, purchases cease. Could a hybrid model emerge that draws from the best of the existing books marketplace and new publishing models?
To explore this question, a team of researchers, drawn from the Association of University Presses, several members presses, and Ithaka S+R collected and analyzed data from 26 university presses.Our key finding: open access titles can generate significant revenue — both on the print side and digitally.
As we discuss in the full report, published today, there are of course many caveats. The patterns vary by field. Format matters, and titles with both hard and soft cover formats generate the most revenue. Finally, it is not all uniform, and as with any list outlier titles help to make the list as a whole more sustainable.
We believe that the findings from our project, undertaken with support from the NEH, can support publishers themselves, as well as libraries, authors, and distributors/intermediaries, in developing new kinds of publishing models that help to advance the open agenda. We look forward to partnering with all these organizations to explore next steps for this work..