The following open access article in Insights: the UKSG journal, written by Dr. Mercedes Bunz, Director of the Hybrid Publishing Lab at the Centre for Digital Cultures (Leuphana University), evaluates the current state of academic book publishing based on the findings of the Hybrid Publishing Lab’s business model research.
With students relying more and more on Google and Wikipedia, the role of books within today’s university studies is a difficult one. From the perspective of publishers, open access (OA) embracing the digital is seen as one potential way to bridge this gap between online search engines and traditional monographs. To illustrate this further, the article delivers an overview of its findings, which highlight changes in academic publishing: publishers have switched their emphasis from delivering a product to creating a service, whereby the author rather than the reader becomes their most focused-on customer. Research frameworks, funding and conventions about academic careers, however, often still need to adjust to this new development. If these frameworks acknowledge and foster OA publishing, and new experiments with collaborative book productions flourish, the monograph will have a future.