Academic booksellers and presses are gearing up for the inaugural Academic Book Week with a raft of fresh events unveiled for the occasion.
The week, backed by the Publishers Association, the Booksellers Association and the British Library among others, is taking place for the first time during 9th-16th November.
Public voting has opened up for readers to choose the most infuential academic book of all time, after a shortlist of 20 titles was released containing academic books which had "changed the world." The list includes A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, among others. Readers can vote through this link with the results to be unveiled during Academic Book Week.
On top of previously announced initiatives, including the production of a peer-reviewed Palgrave Pivot monograph, there is now an invitation to academics and university presses around the country to "Tweet Your Academic Book". Organised by the Liverpool University Press, academics are asked to be creative and to tweet, in a maximum of 140-characters, the essence of their recent or forthcoming book, with the inclusion of @LivUniPress. The best entry will win £100 worth of LUP books. The press is also organising a "Writing Sprint", which will begin with seven commissioned pieces of 500 words from experts in their fields and end with a finalised book chapter emerging by the end of the week, which will be published on Liverpool University Press’s MLO platform.
John Smith’s Glasgow, which was named the Academic Bookshop of the Year at the Bookseller Association’s APS awards in March, will host an evening of free wine and nibbles to kick off the dedicated week on Monday 9th November. Customers will be offered a 20% discount off all books between 5.30pm and 8pm and the shop will also be showcasing an exhibition about John Smith’s heritage and historical connection to the city of Glasgow. A programme of events will then run throughout the week, which will include a visit from journalist Iain Macwhirter, who will be discussing his book Tsunami: Scotland’s Democratic Revolution (Freight Books) on 10th November, a celebration of Edwin Morgan’s contribution to Scottish war poetry, hosted by his biographer James McGonigal on 11th November, Professor of Creative Writing, Louise Welsh, discussing her novels on 12th November and a visit from author and astronomer Pippa Goldschidt on 13th November to mark the centenary of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. She will discuss short story collection I Am Because You Are (Freight Books), which she co-edited.
Cambridge University Press is hosting two events to share its heritage and role in shaping academic publishing today: on November 9th CUP opens its doors to the public to meet press achivist Dr Rosalind Groom and board director of the press Kevin Taylor, who will provide an overview of the press’s history and activity across academic books and journals, ELT and education, including the latest digital developments. On November 11th, the focus shifts to bring those involved in the production process together - from authors and publishers to booksellers, librarians and readers – to consider the past, present and future of scholarly communication.
The effects of evolving technology on the monograph will be debated at "Opening the book" on 10th November in London and on 12th November in Oxford; while the global trend for Open Access (OA) - today offered in some form by two-thirds of the world’s journals - will be discussed in Liverpool on 11th November at 'Open Access in Humanities & Social Sciences'; and how trustworthy certain open access sources are, notably Wikipedia, simulatenously debated at the University of Sheffield.
Dr Samantha Rayner , director of the centre for publishing at University College London and principal investigator at the Academic Book of the Future Project, first unveiled the Academic Book Week initiative in February.
At the time, she said: “What it's all about is getting a better appreciation of what each other does. Publishers can showcase innovative digital books, or physical books, and show that to researchers who may be thinking, 'Why do we need publishers?' And university libraries can show what they do - so many students just use Google, and just as Amazon is cutting out physical bookshops, Google is cutting out the libraries. This is an opportunity to say, 'Look at everything we do, the special collections we've got.”