Upcoming panel offers an inside look at academic publishing industry

Author: Trish Bredar

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Rapid changes in the academic publishing industry mean that many emerging scholars face unknown terrain when it comes to publishing their first book. On April 1, a panel of experts will come together to demystify the process and provide new insights for new and established scholars alike. Sponsored by the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion, the Graduate School, and the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, “Academic Publishing Today: A Conversation” will offer an inside look at today’s publishing industry for scholars in the Social Sciences and Humanities, particularly those planning to turn their dissertation into a book.


Special guest Jennifer Banks, Executive Editor for Religion, Classics, Philosophy, Literature, and Psychology at Yale University Press, will join two representatives from the University of Notre Dame Press—Editor in Chief Eli Bortz and Assistant Acquisitions Editor Jennifer Kolesari—for a conversation moderated by Thomas Tweed, Director of the Anasari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion. Panelists will discuss topics including the shifting landscape of the academic publishing industry, changes in academia more broadly, and advice for emerging scholars. There will also be ample time for questions from audience members.


For those considering or embarking upon careers in academia, this event can provide invaluable behind-the-scenes information. When asked how emerging scholars might benefit from hearing a publisher’s perspective, Jennifer Banks commented, “If you want to understand how books are published, an editor can provide unparalleled insight into the process, both in terms of the big picture as well as the nuts and bolts of pitch letters, the timing of submissions, how to choose a house, what expectations to have throughout the process, and more.”


While young scholars can and should seek guidance from advisors and home departments when trying to publish their work, faculty rarely have the same type of knowledge as editors who are fully immersed in the industry. “I don’t think many scholars are aware of just how dramatically the sales landscape has changed for books, particularly for academic books,” says Banks. “Our sales, for instance, to academic libraries are a fraction of what they used to be.” How can scholars respond to this and other changes in the industry? Join the conversation on April 1 to find out.


The event will be held Monday, April 1, at 1030 Jenkins Nanovic Halls. Lunch will be provided starting at 12:15, with the panel to begin at 12:30. All members of the Notre Dame community are welcome. Registration is preferred.