On June 2-5, 2011, more than 730 publishing professionals set an attendance record in Baltimore as they gathered for the annual meeting of the Association of American University Presses. The primary focus of this year’s meeting was on digital publishing—how to acquire, produce, and market scholarly e-books and journals, in addition to the traditional print publications that have long been the standard for scholarly presses.
Other topics of interest were the protection of intellectual property in a digital age. As keynote speaker David Simon (creator of the HBO television series The Wire) told the opening-night audience in Baltimore, “Intellectual property needs to be fought for. Copyright matters.”
Subsequent speakers and panels focused on changes in the academy, new publishing partnerships, and changing business models for university press publishing. Smaller nuts-and-bolts sessions addressed topics like the mechanics of selling aggregations of university press projects to libraries, the problems of pricing e-books or developing aps, how to create products with rich metadata and multimedia features, and the threat of e-book piracy.
A larger theme of the three days of events, workshops, and sessions was collaboration—among publishers, libraries, universities, and publishing partnerships.
In a final banquet luncheon on Saturday, June 4, LSU Press Director MaryKatherine Callaway took office as the Association’s President for the upcoming year. Callaway’s inaugural address picked up on the idea of “collaboration,” stressing the importance of collaboration with parent institutions. Advising university presses to develop fuller, closer relationships with their campuses, Callaway cautioned that “Like any relationship, it will take time and commitment to build—and ongoing, relevant communication to keep—these essential connections strong.” The new president announced the creation of an AAUP task force specifically devoted to publisher-university relations. Callaway also recognized that the members of AAUP themselves were a source of strength and collaborative possibilities as they “figure things out with each other, which is one reason AAUP is so important: our collegiality and willingness to shape our future together.”