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University presses join forces in association
01.01.70 | Philip Jones
The UK's university presses are to create a formal association through which they can cut costs, share skills and lobby the government. Areas of work include consulting with distributors to agree more favourable terms and setting up a website.
The idea for the association developed from an informal group of university presses which shared stands at both the London and Frankfurt book fairs. Those behind the venture estimated that there were around a dozen university presses in the UK.
CUP and OUP will not be included because of their size but dialogue between them and the new organisation has not been ruled out.
Northumbria UP head of publishing Andrew Peden Smith has been spearheading the group alongside representatives from Nottingham UP (NUP). He said: "Until now it has been an informal group, sharing information. We are all hoping to take it a stage further. We want to sell books to the best of our ability, so one of the main driving forces is economic, and there will be commercial opportunities to take advantage of. But we also want to help each other, and understand that we all face many of the same difficulties and problems."
Both LBF and FBF are likely to be used as regular meeting points throughout the year initially, and up to seven presses will attend FBF 2009. The development of a UK organisation comes in tandem with the creation of a Europe-wide association. Both groups are expected to meet and formalise plans at this year's FBF.
NUP managing editor Cliff Adams added: "We are hoping to get enough interest and commitment to go beyond the informal cost-sharing organisation we have already, to a more formalised structure like the association they have in the US. Last year we got things moving, this year we are hoping to consolidate."
Adams said he hoped the association would also increase the visibility of the companies. "We don't get as widely recognised as we could or should. Hopefully, this will make it more obvious that there is an active university press industry."