Date of this Version
Report published by the Association of University Presses and the Association of Research Libraries September 4, 2019
Table of Contents P2L3 Meeting Planning Committee 3 Land Acknowledgment 3 Participants 3 Introduction 5 Presentations 7 Opening Plenary: Generous Thinking Lightning Rounds Promising New Models: MIT and University of Michigan MIT University of Michigan Highlights from Roundtable Discussions 11 Digital Scholarship and Digital Humanities Flipping the Financial Model for Monographs Engaging with Library Communications and Development Next Steps for P2L 13 Endnotes 14
In choosing as its theme a “world not dependent on sales,” the P2L3 Meeting Planning Committee situated P2L in the context of a long-running Andrew W. Mellon Foundation–funded research and innovation agenda on monographs in the digital age.1 Most recently, Ithaka S+R in 2019 laid out the trend lines for university press publishing and library expenditure, which found that while library spending for university press titles is relatively steady, e-book purchases are increasing and print book purchases are decreasing. With e-books nearly twice the cost of print, on average, this steady state amounts to a decline in titles purchased. The report concluded: As predicted by others in the industry, only a fifth of library book expenditures are for university press titles. The academic library really is not the university press’s sole or even top customer, but the nearly 20 percent fall in spending for university press titles over the four-year period [2014–2017] doesn’t bode well for the health of these presses, especially if they continue to rely on onetime print book sales as their main source of revenue.2 P2L is one of two active partnerships between the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Association of University Presses (AUPresses). The other is Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME), a joint pilot initiative of ARL, AUPresses, and the Association of American Universities. TOME is one of several active experiments aiming to flip the financial model of the press whereby the institution pays upfront for the cost of publication, rather than relying on its sales. In preparing for a post-sales-dependent environment, the planning committee considered the unique strength of the P2L community with its organizational and operational alignment between the library and the press.