You’ve probably read the news about the University of Michigan Press going digital only with most of their titles. They’ve decided to jump to the future business model ahead of many publishers, by going digital now, rather than later. I like their reasoning for the move. Phil Pochoda, Director of the UM Press was quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article to say “Why try to fight your way through this? Why try to remain in territory you know is doomed? Scholarly presses will be primarily digital in a decade. Why not seize the opportunity to do it now?”
Another reason for the decision was to increase the number of titles that UM Press could publish. With the cost of printing and distribution, only titles that would sell, sell, sell were printed. Publishing digital only means more titles from more scholars on more topics, not just those that fit the mainstream. I think that’s good for everyone.
UM Press can also utilize the new Espresso Book Machine acquired by the UM in 2008 (see NSR post). The print on demand (pod) machine has the ability to offer print versions of the digital titles for those who aren’t quite ready for the ebook world.