Indie Booksellers Celebrate Sixth Annual University Press Week

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    This week, booksellers are in the midst of celebrating the sixth annual University Press Week 2017,  which runs this year from November 6 through November 11.

    UP week logoThe Association of American University Presses (AAUP), which has 143 members, chose “#LookItUP: Knowledge Matters” as the theme for this year’s event, which annually celebrates the contributions of university presses to the literary and intellectual world. University presses in the U.S. publish approximately 14,000 books and more than 1,100 journals each year.

    To help celebrate university presses in 2017, AAUP created a toolkit for indie bookstores, which includes a selection of 2017 logo files, banners, and customizable posters; a University Press Week 2017 customizable press release; testimonials on the importance of university presses and mission-driven publishers; and more. Throughout this week, booksellers can also use the hashtags #LookItUp and #ReadUP on social media to post about what they are doing to celebrate the week.

    Throughout this week, AAUP member presses are teaming up for events with brick-and-mortar bookstores, among other venues, including New York City’s Book Culture, which is hosting a panel on publishing on Wednesday, November 8, featuring three key people involved in the world of university press publishing: Columbia University Press Editorial Director Eric Schwartz and Columbia University English professors Nicholas Dames and Sharon Marcus.

    Dragonfly Books in Decorah, Iowa, used  Facebook to encourage customers to come in and celebrate University Press Week. The store posted about its plans on Sunday, November 5, writing, “Some of our bestsellers are books published by university presses; we will be featuring these throughout the week.

    University Press Week display at Dragonfly Books in Decorah, Iowa
    University Press Week display at Dragonfly Books in Decorah, Iowa

    Dragonfly Books also set up a display of murder mysteries and crime novels to show that books published by university presses don’t have to be stuffy or academic, posting it on Facebook with the caption Murder and Mayhem with University Press titles!! What is your favorite unexpected or unusual university press title(s)? #universitypressweek #notalwaysscholarytomes #lookitupknowledgematters”

    Books on display included Death in Cold Water by Patricia Skalka (University of Wisconsin Press), Only the Dead by Vidar Sundstol (University of Minnesota Press), and Death in a Prairie House by William R. Drennan (University of Wisconsin Press).

    Then, in Reston, Virginia, Scrawl Books hosted the science and technology writer George Leopold on Tuesday, November 7, who discussed his 2016 biography Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom (Purdue University Press) about one U.S. astronaut who helped the U.S. beat the Soviet Union to the moon during the Cold War.

    This year, AAUP hosted panels on the topic of university presses at the Texas Book Festival on November 4 and 5 and the Boston Book Festival on October 28. The celebration is also happening online this year via a blog tour and a #ReadUP channel on Medium, and AAUP also partnered with Ingram, NetGalley, and Baker & Taylor for online marketing initiatives.

    ABA member booksellers have even more opportunities to save on university press titles this year, as more than 30 university presses are offering specials in celebration of Indies First.

    A number of special offers are still available; booksellers can review the list of publisher and university press offers in the ABA Book Buyer’s Handbook (a username and password are required to access the Handbook; e-mail info@bookweb.org for login information).

    In addition, for booksellers looking to discover key university press titles, a list of top picks is available as an Excel spreadsheet on BookWeb. Booksellers can also check out an Excel spreadsheet of 100 title recommendations from ABA member booksellers whose stores sell numerous university press books.

    Details for all University Press Week events can be found on the University Press Week website.