Another highlight was publication of the third edition of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, which has been a flagship work for the Press since it was first published in 1995. David Crystal, the author, a renowned linguist, addressed all aspects of language change over the 15 years since the second edition, and the work was made available online for the first time, with additional resources, such as audio clips with original pronunciation extracts from Beowulf and Macbeth.
The ongoing development of our Higher Education programme also had a number of successes. Highlights of our textbook publishing during the year included the ground-breaking Introduction to Applied Linear Algebra, by Stephen Boyd and Lieven Vandenberghe, which provides engineering students (and others) with the tools to understand modern, data-centric applications, and publication of the third edition of the much admired and widely used Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, by David Griffiths and Darrell Schroeter.
We were also delighted to commission a major new textbook series, Fundamentals of Finance, which will represent a complete reworking of the current framework for teaching finance to MBA and MFin students. Written by leading authors at MIT and Boston University, including Nobel Laureate Robert Merton, the three-textbook series will be aimed at a global audience and is due for publication in 2020. It is a tribute to our Higher Education team’s restructuring of our textbook programme.
We agreed an innovative deal with Saudi Arabia, licensing an Arabic edition of Assessment for Teaching by Patrick Griffin, Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne. The textbook’s framework will become a cornerstone of assessment in Saudi Arabia and our Arabic translation will be the primary resource used in their teacher training programme. This shows how a blend of content and service is becoming critical to Academic’s publishing success.
In journals, we continued to focus on driving growth and, as described above, greater openness across our publishing. We expanded our prestigious list through new partnerships: from 2020 we will publish the Canadian Journal of Philosophy and the two journals of the Royal Musical Association, Journal of the Royal Musical Association and RMA Research Chronicle. Both partnerships complement our already strong presence in these areas, across both books and journals.
We were delighted to launch or commission several new journals during the year: Evolutionary Human Science; Data-Centric Engineering (with the support of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation); Wearable Technologies and Experimental Results – the latter an innovative approach to publishing research outputs that might not otherwise become part of the published record.
2018–19 was an excellent year for winning awards, from institutions as varied as the International Studies Association and the British Medical Association.”
While our primary focus is on university audiences, we believe a leading publisher like the Press should aim to reach a wider range of readers in key subject areas, especially when the issue of trust is such a hot topic in the media. In 2018–19 our revamped general publishing list enjoyed significant critical and sales successes. We expanded our commitment to audio books to help enhance accessibility even further.
There Is No Planet B, by Mike Berners-Lee, was one of the first science titles in our new programme. It received excellent press reviews, with the New Scientist calling it a ‘rallying cry for a generation worried that they will inherit a world shorn of nature’s wonders’.
Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy, by James Williams, was selected by the President of Princeton University as the text that all freshmen would be required to read in the fall of 2019. The book was the inaugural winner of the Nine Dots Prize for innovative thinking and presents a timely warning of how digital business models compete for our time and attention, with a potentially devastating impact on how we lead our lives. With the digital version available as a free download, the book enjoyed an exceptionally high number of downloads and print sales, and garnered glowing reviews.
Journals sales enjoyed a good year in general, with renewals well maintained globally. Sales of ebooks to libraries continued to drive our digital transition in research books publishing, especially through the rapid take-up of usage-driven models. We recorded our best ebooks sales year in China. Both traditional and internet retail performed well in the mature markets of North America, the UK, Western Europe and Australia, driven in part by the growth of our higher education textbook programme, where we continued to gain market share in the upper-level undergraduate area.
We achieved this success in the context of an increasing rate of market change. The digital availability of information, combined with improving technologies, is accelerating the democratisation of knowledge, creating real opportunities to improve global research and learning outcomes but also posing challenges to existing business models. This is further exacerbated by the ongoing financial pressures felt by higher education institutes globally.
Our success in both academic and general publishing categories during the year reflects our commitment to the very highest quality of publishing. In a digital world, the Press’s rigorous peer review and editing process is a badge of excellence that supports the author and wider academic community while enhancing our identity and the value of our brand. We believe this will serve us well amid the revolutionary forces reshaping academic publishing.