The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0009 Friday, 5 January 2007
From: Todd Pettigrew <
Date: Thursday, 04 Jan 2007 12:29:25 -0400
Subject: 18.0006 Price of Academic Journals
Comment: RE: SHK 18.0006 Price of Academic Journals
On the matter of textbook publishers, I feel I must rise to the defence
of WW Norton and Company. (Full disclosure: I worked for Norton from
1998-2000, but have no financial interest in the company).
Contrary to what many believe, Norton is not a publishing giant, nor is
it part of a massive conglomerate as many commercial text book
publishers are today. Rather it is a mid-size company, owned entirely by
its employees, and, fights valiantly against huge multinationals like
Pearson who would gladly crush it like a bug if they could.
As with other publishers, Norton faces a challenge with used books
because the sale of a used text does not provide any revenue for the
publishers (nor royalties for the authors, I might add). Indeed, in most
cases, textbook publishers make almost all their profits in the first
two years of a new edition, after which sales drop off as used books
become widely available. Thus textbook prices continue to rise, and
publishers are pressured to bring out new editions frequently.
As for literature and for Shakespeare in particular, Norton has brought
out new editions of its lit anthologies at a pace that is positively
glacial by industry standards -- about every six or seven years for the
Norton Anthology of English Literature, and the Norton Shakespeare
remains in its first edition since, I think, around 1996. As for me, I
am actually looking forward to a new Norton Shakespeare, not because the
plays need updating, but because I would like updated notes and
bibliographies that represent the current state of the discipline.
Cape Breton University
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