Archive for June 6th, 2011

The “Business Model” of an Academic Press

2011 Jun 6

Reposted from an SG thread about crowdfunding.

I’ve been wanting to share a talk I went to hosted by the University of Washington Press, which explained their “business model.” It was among the most depressing talks I’ve ever gone to. Luke Crane has a more sustainable economic enterprise than the entire academic publishing world, no joke!

They said it took $30,000 and 3 years for them to produce a volume and, generally, they might end up selling 300-500 copies of a book. Selling 1,000 copies was a significant success. Also, they often didn’t have the funds to afford a print run, so the press and authors would apply for grant funding to cover a significant amount of that. Or, at some presses, the author might be asked to front some portion of printing costs themselves.

That entire industry is dead and it doesn’t seem like they’re doing much about it. They still have a kind of vampire hold on the universities because many people still view publishing a volume through an academic press as they only way to gain scholarly status and tenure, but that’s less and less true these days as both tenure and academic publishing continue to die. The whole system is going to crash and have to be rebuilt along totally different lines. It’s totally unsustainable and not really a “business” at all.

I had been considering approaching some academic presses to see if they’d be interested in publishing Magic Missile and/or another edited volume I might put together later on, but there’s basically zero chance of that now, given how completely out-of-date their publishing model is. I mean, I can sell 500-1000 copies of something through the normal indie games channels, given a year or two. Waiting 3 years and having to raise $30,000 just isn’t worth it for the kind of non-support that an academic press would apparently provide. I even know the kinds of people that I could contact to get peer review, which is the major service that academic presses provide. Essentially, I feel like I could run an entire academic press for RPG-related books much better than most actual academic presses.

[Simon’s Quest] Super Suit: The Landing Site

2011 Jun 6

Hey Simon! Here’s the landing site map that I whipped up. I may end up drawing most of the maps digitally, but I wanted to at least sketch out the first one by hand.

Off to the bottom left, off of the map, is the dusty landing strip where your ship touched and you rolled forward to rest at the base of this mesa that shelters the Camp II dig site. We didn’t talk about your ship yet, so I didn’t draw it on the map. You wanna tell me about that first and then we’ll get to exploring the landing site?