This is all true--except for the New York Times part (but you knew that).
UNIVERSITY PRESSES. DARK CLOUDS FORMING . . .
to Publisher's Weekly, University presses are facing some significant
challenges—most notably, “a hot political climate” in which university
administrators are beginning to view the financial support many presses receive
“with more scrutiny than they have in the past.”
Other news claims that several university presses have asked their authors to forgo royalties in the future, and more than one claim their trustees “have initiated an independent review to propose direction for the press’s future amid significant financial challenges.”
According to Theodore P. Savas, director and founder of Savas Beatie press, “far too many publishers have decided what their customers SHOULD be reading, and are jamming it down their throats, rather than finding out what they want to read and own, and what they care about, and then providing those titles.”
“Many presses scoff at publishing micro-history or tactical studies,” explains Savas, “or God forbid, more books on Gettysburg.” He scoffs at what he calls “an elitist mindset.” “I was raised to believe the customer is always right. When did that change?” he asks. “One assumes a book reader is smart enough to decide what he or she wants to read.” This is why, he continued, “many of the modern cultural studies sell a fraction of what strategic and tactical studies sell,” Everything has its place, he added, “and it is wonderful to have so much to read. But we are here, thriving and expanding because we love our customers, we treat them like family, and we offer good books at a fair price on what they want to read. For the most part, they are not getting them anywhere else.”
Many new authors are coming to us with canceled contracts, or have pulled their manuscripts from other presses. We welcome you.
Spread the word.