What is the relationship between Juta and University of Cape Town Press?
Juta & Co Ltd. is the shareholder in the university press but the university exercises editorial control through the UCT Press Editorial Board. This board is comprised of ten academics appointed from different academic departments at the university. They act as quality controllers, ensuring that books published under the UCT Press imprint are of an acceptable academic standard.
Publishers expect authors to submit comprehensive book proposals that encapsulate the following:
A rationale for the book.
Why is the book necessary? What will the book be achieving that other books fail to achieve? What is the purpose of the book?
The target audience for the book
Who is the book aimed at? If it is aimed at a student market, for which level of study and for which courses? What is the number of students who generally enroll for the course?
Competing books in the market.
Which other books are in the market that are competing with the proposed book? What exactly will set this book apart from the ones currently in the market?
The structure/content of the book.
A short synopsis of what each chapter is set out to do.
The Finances of Book Publishing
A book project has to finance itself. A viable book project should at least sell one thousand copies per annum. The attached costing sheet indicates the investment that publishers put into a book project. If a book cannot sell at least a 1000 copies per annum, it should at least have a subsidy.
The author should also provide marketing suggestions regarding accessing both the international markets and African markets.
Once an Author has submitted a book proposal and the Publisher concerned is confident about the proposal, a publishing proposal or motivation is conceptualised and presented to the Publishing Director for approval. The Publisher also prepares a briefing to Sales & Marketing.
University of Cape Town Press Editorial Board
If the book falls into the Social Sciences, such a proposal together with reader reoprts will be presented to the UCT Press Editorial Board for approval.
Once a book proposal is accepted and the author has submitted the full typescript then the book is put into production. The Publisher then hands over the typescript to the Project Manager.
The book production stages include the following stages: editing, proofreading, typesetting, printing, and distribution. (see attached costing sheet which indicates all the production costs that are incurred in transforming a manuscript into a book). Juta outsources their editing, proofreading, typesetting and printing requirements.
Book Marketing & Distribution
As soon as the book is put into production, we start the process of pre-publication marketing through forthcoming book announcements to bookshops, relevant academic departments, lecturers etc.
In terms of reaching the African and international markerts we have agreements with Global Book Marketing GIO Marketing.
What is the state of academic book publishing vis-avis the rand/pound/dollar exchange rate?
The exchange rate is creating favourable conditions for South African publishers because imported books are now very expensive and therefore unaffordable to the ordinary student. There is a need for more locally produced books that are not only price sensitive but have local context, content and examples .
What are the challenges facing academic publishers?
There is a belief in the South African academic community that South African publishers are not supportive of local scholarship. That South African publishers do not publish locally produced scholarship if it does not necessarily lent itself to being a textbook.
This has resulted in what I prefer to call intellectual imperialism. This is a situation where South African academics publish with either American or British publishers but the knowledge does not reach home because the books become highly expensive locally. The challenge therefore facing academic commercial publisher is how do we as publishers continue to be profitable while also furthering critical projects such as indigenous knowledge production? How do you satisfy your shareholders without necessarily alienating your authors, which are a very important integral part of the publishing business?
To counter this South African Publishers might explore the possibiliy of co-publishing agreements with international publishing houses.
For example Juta/UCT Press have co-published with the following publihers:
Why are institutions now pursuing self-publishing? From the publishers point of view this phenomenon is detrimental to the publishing industry.
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