No Baggage, Only Possibilities: Starting a University Press from Scratch
University presses provide ideal environments in which to explore new paradigms of dissemination for scholarly content. Unfortunately, most university presses are weighed down by a long tradition of publishing books using conventional printing technologies that drain capital and result in large quantities of unsold copies. The RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press at Rochester Institute of Technology is a recently established university press committed to crafting a new publishing model that is progressive, innovative, and nimble. Situated in an institution well-known for its computer, design, photography, and printing technology programs, the Press is able to take advantage of some extraordinary resources to explore the future of academic publishing, including print-on-demand and born-digital editions.
This paper will discuss the technology and economic strategies implemented by the Press, with a special focus on a collaborative research experiment to produce a high-quality, short-run color publication on a digital press. The result was the acclaimed book, The American Image: U.S Posters from the 19th to the 21st Century.
Keywords: University Press, New Publishing Model, Future of Academic Publishing, Print-on-demand, Born-digital, collaborative research, short-run color, digital press, Rochester Institute of Technology, Cary Graphic Arts Press, economic strategies
Prof David Pankow
Director, Cary Graphic Arts Press