Tim Davies, ALPSP UP Redux, Stationers’ Company – and more
By Tyler M. Carey – Chief Revenue Officer
Westchester’s year is off to a great start, especially with the growth of our work in the UK market. As you may have seen a couple of weeks ago, we have brought on Tim Davies, formerly of The History Press and Oxford University Press, to help us grow our business in the UK. Tim’s expertise running publishing companies, and his previous experience with American firms such as Baker & Taylor and Author Solutions has him uniquely positioned to help Westchester not just grow our client base, but also to identify any areas where we should grow. He is currently actively engaged in expanding our bench of copyeditors in Great Britain to help us stay ahead of the curve in our copyediting capacity as we grow. And boy, are we glad Tim is doing that! At ALPSP’s UP Redux conference, there was a tremendous level of interest from the UK’s university presses about the work that Westchester does with many of their peers in the US, as well as more and more work with UK-based publishers.
Our friends at UCL Press hosted the recent ALPSP UP Redux, which was a well programmed conference for the university press and academic publishing spaces. The show had an international feel as a result of old friends from the States including Duke University Press and The MIT Press sending staff, giving the conference a set of contrasts to draw from for sessions and discussion. The US presses that came gave helpful, proven insights on where the US university press space has been and where it’s going; The MIT Press’ Amy Brand’s Keynote was particularly effective in exploring these areas. Timothy Wright (Edinburgh University Press), David Prosser (RLUK) and his panel, and Bloomsbury’s Richard Charkin also contributed quite a lot of perspective about where academic, university press, and library programmes have been headed. Andy Redman from Oxford also provided a very practical walkthrough of how a larger university press has embraced XML-first production to handle its large legal list, tying in nicely with the later panel on “buy vs. build” regarding tech platforms.
From the UK perspective, the use of Open Access as a mechanism to help grow presses rapidly was covered by UCL Press and other UK based presses, as well as JSTOR’s Frank Smith who added to the global perspective by talking about how Open Access has helped put scholarly content into the hands of scholars and consumers in emerging markets. There was some debate on this topic, but based on the successes of smaller start-up university presses in the UK – as well as those like UCL Press that have experienced growth fueled by open access – it was impossible to challenge the use of Open Access as a way to launch a program. The debate did continue though, as it pertains to the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) position that all UK monographs need to become open access in the near future. You can read more about publishers’ concerns regarding HEFCE’s stance in this article by The Bookseller.
Another highlight for me was once again visiting Stationers’ Hall for the New Members evening at The Stationers’ Company. While I’m still very much a new recruit myself, it was great to speak with other publishing professionals who are interested in joining the Company, as well as seeing old friends who have been members for years. Of special focus during the evening’s open presentation was a focus on the Stationers’ Academy and other charitable programmes run by the Company. It was inspirational to hear members speak of the mentoring work they do to help children better navigate their education and early professional development. There is truly a commitment at the Company to help others, while also ensuring that publishing continues to remain a viable path for young graduates, keeping up the Company’s more than 600 years’ worth of work growing the industry.
During the remainder of my trip to London, Tim and I took the opportunity to meet with existing partners. We also took time to plan for the upcoming IPG Spring Conference (if you haven’t registered yet, mention Westchester when you do) and the London Book Fair. Westchester will have stands at both conferences and we’re eager to talk about all the great work we are doing with publishers in the US, and increasingly in the UK and Europe. Please contact us to arrange a meeting to discuss your publications program and ways we can help.