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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: November ::
SBRP Report and Request for Assistance
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0554  Tuesday, 3 November 2009

[1] From:   Peter Paolucci <
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     Date:   Monday, 02 Nov 2009 22:29:50 -0500
     Subj:   SHAKSPER Book Review Panel Report

[2] From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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     Date:   Tuesday, November 03, 2009
     Subj:   SHAKSPER Book Review Panel Report


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Peter Paolucci <
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Date:       Monday, 02 Nov 2009 22:29:50 -0500
Subject:    SHAKSPER Book Review Panel Report

October 18, 2009

Hardy,

The SHAKSPER Book Review Panel is now approaching its second year of 
operation and consequently, it seems timely to share some thoughts about 
where we have been and where we are going. This is also an opportunity 
to distill our recent deliberations into a succinct articulation of some 
important issues.

The SBPR spent its first year in the necessary deliberations that 
established priorities, decision-making processes, and procedural 
matters; we completed 3 book reviews and made good headway in defining 
our objectives and our criteria for selecting reviewers and texts to be 
reviewed. We now work in quarterly cycles with three intake periods: 
completed book reviews are due to the panel on the first of the months 
April, August, and December. The panel reviews submissions and assigns 
an editor if necessary. Edits and corrections must be completed so that 
reviews can be published no later than the first week of the following 
months (May, September, January).  As the panel approaches our second 
anniversary of operation, I feel we are now coming into full stride. We 
currently have 19 confirmed books in review and 2 awaiting confirmation 
of assignment by the reviewer. We have 5 specific items in need of 
reviewers and beyond that, the list of items to be reviewed looms larger 
by the day. Our total number of active items is 26.

My job as moderator includes contacting publishers to procure 
complimentary copies for our reviewers. To date, about 13 publishers 
have been contacted for 20 of our 27 active items (not all reviewers 
need a review copy); 8 of these 13 publishers have been responsive and 
positive and Oxford University Press and Pearson especially, have been 
outstanding in their promptness, courtesy, and cooperativeness. Others, 
like Routledge, University of London Press, Palgrave-Macmillan, 
Wiley-Blackwell, and Focus Publishing have been a challenge. The problem 
is these five publishers are impenetrable to inquiries. In all cases I 
have sent at least three emails to people in the organization, and left 
several telephone messages; they simply do not respond to inquiries. 
Currently there are 5 items we need (although 2 of them will not be 
published until 2010). Some reviewers were content to purchase their own 
copy, but others asked if a comp copy could be obtained. Thus, there are 
two problems: the first is the unresponsiveness of publishers and the 
second is what to do in cases where we cannot procure a comp copy for 
our reviewers.

The panel has deliberated about what, if anything, could be about these 
two problems. Some panelists felt that reviewers should purchase their 
own copy if need be (after all, the item under review falls within their 
own area of expertise and interest in it would be natural and most 
faculty have expense accounts to deal with such matters); others 
wondered if there might be a way to pay for, or subsidize review copies 
(in one case a publisher offered us a review copy at 40% off MSP). The 
panel also felt that publishers benefit enormously from reviews, 
especially when circulated to a readership as focused and extensive as 
The Global Electronic Shakespeare Conference, and that a comp review 
copy was effective, inexpensive advertising. It was also felt that it 
might still be worth it if we (I) should persist in trying to make 
contact with the recalcitrantly silent publishers. It was also suggested 
that we might canvas the general membership to see if anyone out there 
had an inside track to the five aforementioned companies -- even if they 
knew of a book rep who could be of some help.

In our private discussions, you and I spoke of the possibility of you 
paying out-of-pocket for the occasional comp copy, but the number of 
items that appeared on the list made it clear that any resources you had 
would be quickly depleted if this continued, consequently, that became a 
non-option.

So with regard to the problem of purchasing review copies (where 
necessary), I wonder if it would be feasible to ask the general 
membership to consider making a donation to help out in this regard. I 
know you expressed several concerns about this suggestion: cheques could 
not be made to SHAKSPER because the listserv is not a registered 
business: the funds would not be deductible unless SHAKSPER became  some 
kind of charitable or educational registered that could issue legitimate 
tax receipts. Accordingly, I am submitting this report with my suggestions.

Finally, I am asking if you could canvas the general membership for help 
in getting a response from our challenging publishers.

One codicil. My colleagues on the panel have been wonderfully supportive 
and helpful as I struggle with the problems of these growing pains. I 
also want to add that every reviewer we currently have on board has been 
fantastic to work with, and the membership is in for a treat in a few 
months when all these new reviews come out. You are going to see some 
very interesting ideas emerge, and I hope that the reviews will lead to 
some lively and rewarding conversations on our listserv.

Cordially,
Peter Paolucci, Ph.D.
Moderator
SHAKSPER Book Review Panel
   and
Department of English
York University
Toronto, Ontario
									
[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:       Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Subject:    SHAKSPER Book Review Panel Report

Dear Subscribers,

Before I proceed, I think all members of this list can agree that we all 
owe a vote of thanks to Peter Paolucci for his outstanding work as 
Moderator of the SHAKSPER Book Review Panel (SBRP). As a member of this 
panel, I have been receiving Peter's e-mails keeping the Panel in touch 
with his work on our behalf and as owner of the list I have further 
received copies of Peter's e-mails to potential reviewers suggested by 
the Panel and then to publishers requesting review copies for our 
selected reviewers -- this part of the moderator's job is the thankless 
side. On the other side is the excitement of the Panel's e-mail 
deliberations, selecting books to review, suggesting reviewers, vetting 
the received reviews before their publication, following up, and so on. 
Peter has undertaken all these tasks and instituted operating procedures 
that we have been following in the pursuit of implementing my desire to 
establish a first-rate, peer-vetted book review feature for SHAKSPER. I 
fear that Peter might have dedicated far too much of his last year's 
sabbatical doing these difficult and unrewarding tasks on the list's 
behalf. So, thank you, Peter.

However, as Peter's report indicates the implementing of this feature 
has not been an easy one. We now have 5 books that have been reviewed 
and more than 20 books we have identified in our queue, but the problem 
is, as Peter has explained, some publishers have either not responded to 
his request for review copies or are unwilling to provide them:

 >Some reviewers were content to purchase their own copy, but others
 >asked if a comp copy could be obtained. Thus, there are two problems:
 >the first is the unresponsiveness of publishers and the second is what
 >to do in cases where we cannot procure a comp copy for our reviewers.

One solution possible solution that we have suggested is to ask list 
members if they might be able to intervene with publishers with which 
they have relationship to see if they might be able to assist us in 
procuring review copies:

 >It was also suggested that we might canvas the general membership to see
 >if anyone out there had an inside track to the five aforementioned 
companies -
 >even if they knew of a book rep who could be of some help.

So I am formally requesting that if any of you have a relationship with 
one of these publishers -- Routledge, University of London Press, 
Palgrave-Macmillan, Wiley-Blackwell, and Focus Publishing -- such that 
you might be able to help us get review copies for our reviewers, please 
contact me (
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  or 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 ) and-or Peter 
Paolucci (
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 ) and we will let you know the titles we are 
seeking.

However, should this strategy fail, WHAT THEN?

I had offered to pay out of pocket for these books as I do for ALL other 
SHAKSPER expenses, but I have just retired for reasons beyond my control 
and purchasing 2, 4, 6, 10 academic titles with my other expenses for 
the list is prohibitive. We had another idea:

 >I wonder if it would be feasible to ask the general membership to
 >consider making a donation to help out in this regard. I know you
 >expressed several concerns about this suggestion: cheques could
 >not be made to SHAKSPER because the listserv is not a registered
 >business: the funds would not be deductible unless SHAKSPER became
 >some kind of charitable or educational registered that could issue
 >legitimate tax receipts. Accordingly, I am submitting this report with
 >my suggestions.

Now, as Peter and I have discussed, asking for donations to help pay for 
these copies is a sticky proposition.

For years, I have thought about incorporating as a not-for-profit 
corporation as has been done with PsyArt, for example. Unfortunately, I 
have not had sufficient time or drive to handle all the legal procedures 
that would be necessary to file for this status. Or, at least, my 
psychological issues are such that I have not gotten around to doing so. 
If there is anyone on the list with experience of setting up a 
not-for-profit corporation, could you please contact me and help me 
through the process or offer me suggestions for how I might be able to 
get this done.

But the problem is that we have some reviewers who have agreed to review 
for us and we don't have the review copies to offer them. Even if I were 
to go the not-for-profit route, there would be a delay between the time 
SHAKSPER was incorporated and my ability to collect funds on its behalf.

Also, since I am not a lawyer, I am not sure if I am legally able to 
accept money on SHAKSPER's behalf before we are incorporated. I imagine 
that if I were to receive checks as gifts, I could legally deposit them 
and use the funds to purchase review copies, but these gifts would 
clearly NOT be tax deductible. ALSO, PLEASE LET ME MAKE IT CLEAR THAT I 
AM NOT REQUESTING MONEY AT THIS POINT. What I am currently seeking is 
suggestions from members about what we as the SHAKSPER Book Review Panel 
might be able to do to get copies for our reviewers.

I want to make it clear that because I am concerned about legal 
consequences I am not requesting contributions. Right now, all I am 
doing is trying to find out what options we have.

So please once again even if you were to know an address to send checks 
to, DO NOT DO SO.

However, if you have thoughtful, considered suggestions for me and for 
the SBRP to consider regarding how we might get copies for our reviewer, 
please send those suggestions to me and-or to Peter to the e-mail 
addresses above.

And if you have any experience or suggestions or offers of assistance 
about SHAKSPER's incorporating, please contact ME alone.

The challenge of getting review copies has provided me the opportunity 
to raise the issue of incorporation. For many years, I have paid the 
majority of the costs of running this list and have received help and 
assistance for as long from Eric Luhrs our webmaster and designer and 
from the members of the SHAKSPER Advisory Board and now from Peter 
Paolucci and the other members of the SBRP.

The generosity of these people is the principal reason that for 20 years 
now the SHAKSPER listserv has been able to serve the academic community 
and the Internet world.

Thanks to all,
Hardy M. Cook
Owner, Editor, Moderator of
SHAKSPER: The Global Electronic Shakespeare Conference

_______________________________________________________________
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Hardy M. Cook, 
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The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

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