Emily Taber, Editorial Assistant at Temple University Press, offers her thoughts on the 2009 Association of American University Press (AAUP) Annual Meeting held last week in Philadelphia.
I have worked at Temple University Press for two years, and this was my first AAUP annual meeting. Aside from attending lively sessions and meeting new people, the AAUP conference was a fantastic opportunity to see the two sides of publishing connect. On the one hand, you have a group of people who genuinely love the look and feel of printed books. The Book, Jacket, and Journal Show was a crowd favorite. On the other hand, you have industry professionals closely following the latest developments in e-books and open access technology. Sessions on electronic publishing were some of the most talked-about at the conference—everyone was wondering what the future of the book will be.
These two groups do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, for publishing to succeed, they cannot be. It’s possible to love the smell of new books and own a Kindle. It’s possible to appreciate the convenience offered by e-book readers and value production design.
It was a rewarding and refreshing experience to be at AAUP, where conversations about the necessity of electronic publishing existed side-by-side with praise for well crafted print books. Digital technology has left its mark on print publishing already, through print-on-demand and digital reprints. Members of the AAUP know this, and their perspective is essential in shaping sound publishing practices for the future. While no one knows what the state of publishing will be in fifty years, much less in five or ten, it is heartening to think that there will still be a group of our colleagues engaged in thoughtful consideration of what comes next.
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