I am a big supporter of Open Access presses – largely because they serve potential readers without means or capacity to purchase books and as importantly, because they increase the readership and dissemination of ideas.
Athabasca University Press (AUPress) was Canada’s first open access, scholarly press, and provides all of its books for free download in PDF format and of course sells paper copies. These paper copies are offered for sale from the AUPress site, on Amazon and in epub format via sonybookstore. The download statistics for books and individual chapters are impressive and paper sales are about the same as scholarly publications from commercial or non open access scholarly publications.
For example my own edited book “Theory and Practice of Online Learning has been downloaded well over 90,000 times, read online by a large number of google book readers of the 20% offered at this site for free, and sales of over 1300 books. AUPress does pay royalties (about the same % of sales as commercial publishers). Interestingly I also got a small check from Copywrite Canada, from Universities who are paying for including chapters in reading packages- even though the students could download them for free!
I had a meeting with AUPress staff yesterday and we discussed ramping up production and promotion of the Issues in Distance Education series for which I serve as series editor. The series currently has 5 titles and 2 more “in press’.
If any readers are interested in producing a volume for this series, I hope you will contact me or the Press for author’s guidelines and further details. Like all AUPress books, each volume must survive two rigourous peer reviews. We are developing new guidelines for editors of edited volumes. The current practice is to accept publications only after the complete draft manuscript is submitted. This is problematic when an editor is trying to solicit chapter contributions and has no guarantee that the Press will accept the completed volume. However, an editor can communicate that the volume is being readied and hopefully published in open access format by AUPress, but there is no guarantee that any individual chapter or the whole book will survive the review process. The upside of this process is that a completed chapter or a book, can likely find an outlet someplace, even if fails AUPress’s review.
So please forward this post to any potential DE, online learning or even blended learning author wannabes and check out, download, or if you can afford it, order an AUPress book!