Toward a Sustainable Future: AAUP 2010 Wrap-Up

Three pre-meeting workshops got the meeting off to a bustling start, with close to 150 attendees in total. “E-Book Publishing in a Nutshell,” organized by Alan Harvey (Stanford University Press), addressed issues in e-book publishing from manuscript to customer access and featured presenters who outlined processes in action at their presses. Presenters at “Not Your Father’s Marketing: New Strategies in the Digital Age,” organized by Colleen Lanick (MIT Press), shared how they have adapted their current marketing strategies to keep up with today’s readers, wherever they may be. The Financial Officers Meeting found success in coordinating its schedule with the Annual Meeting this year, with 34 participants discussing the issues they are facing at their home presses.

On Thursday, attendees also had the opportunity to take a trip to the J. Willard Marriot Library at the University of Utah, where they were treated to a tour which spanned book history: beginning with clay tablets and rare books and concluding with a demonstration of a book printed in five minutes on the Espresso Book Machine. In between, attendees also received a tour of the Book Arts Studio, made their own “zine” on the history of book printing, created a letterpress bookmark, and viewed the American Institute of Graphic Artists 50 Books/50 Covers exhibit.

Attendees gathered that night for the Opening Banquet, where they were welcomed by Executive Director Peter Givler. The 2010 AAUP Constituency Award was presented in memoriam to Will Powers, who served for 11 years as the design and production manager at the Minnesota Historical Society Press. Presented by Betsy Litz, the award was accepted by Pamela McClanahan, director of the Minnesota Historical Society Press, on behalf of his wife, Cheryl Miller.

The Opening Banquet also featured a memorable keynote speech by William Germano, Dean and Professor of English Literature at The Cooper Union, and scholarly publishing veteran. Exploring the theme, “What Are Books Good For?” he took his listeners through the history of books, beginning with “scholarly work before the term was invented,” and traced four stages, characterized by the relationship between data and narrative. In conclusion he said, “We are the case for books.”

At the Friday luncheon, Kathleen Keane, 2009-2010 AAUP President gave her farewell address to the membership in which she acknowledged the challenges presses have faced in the past year, while looking optimistically to the future. The following afternoon, Richard Brown assumed the presidency, leaving the audience with a message of “not naïve optimism, but hope,” in his inaugural address.

If you were not able to attend the meeting, missed a session because of another held simultaneously, or simply want to have a second look at the presentations, many are available via the Annual Meeting Wiki and the online program.

The 2011 AAUP Annual Meeting will be held June 2-5 in Baltimore at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. There is already a new buzz building for the 2011 meeting, and AAUP Annual Meeting Program Committee Chair Gita Manaktala (Editorial Director, MIT Press) is collecting ideas for session topics and speakers. We hope to see you there!

Meredith Benjamin
Communications Coordinator, AAUP