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OUP hits 300 with Very Short Introductions
16.12.11 | Charlotte Williams
Oxford University Press will be releasing its 300th Very Short Introduction title in January 2012, alongside its first app, which will feature sample chapters and additional content.
The series takes complicated topics—from The History of Art to Ireland or Nothing—and asks experts to distill their knowledge about it into 35,000 words. The 300th title will be Film by Michael Wood (26th January, pb, £7.99), critic and reviewer at the London Review of Books and professor of English at Princeton. The book will cover the history of film, its meanings and intentions, and its future in the digital age.
VSI commissioning and series editor Andrea Keegan said the series will also cover Stars, Metaphysics, and Biodiversity and Conservation in the next six months. "I think as long as we continue to publish relevant subjects which have interest for the general reader and students, and ensure that the authors continue to be of the top calibre, we can keep the series fresh for years to come," she said. The series is spreading into new areas—new management titles were introduced during 2011, and a new editions programme has started, which will be publishing Archaeology and Islam as second editions in 2012.
Keegan said: "The books are not primers or surveys, but sophisticated 'takes' on a topic, and we allow the authors to express a point of view, while giving readers a really good way into a subject they may never have encountered before."
The VSI app, which will be free and available on all platforms, is intended to introduce the series to new readers, with a brief overview of each title and information about the authors, as well as a free sample chapter from each title. Its additional content will include a series of questions written by the authors to provoke and direct readers, alongside "Meet the Author" videos.
All VSI titles are released simultaneously as e-books. OUP said the bestselling titles to date are Literary Theory by Jonathan Culler, Globalization by Manfred Steger and Buddhism by Damien Keown.