Back in the olden days—the 1990s and early 2000s—Choice's university press feature, which appears every year in the May issue, comprised an essay based on responses to questionnaires we had sent to all AAUP directors and a list of significant university press titles for undergraduates. The latter, which directly follows the forum, remains a tradition, and we invite you to peruse it to sample the riches that continue to emanate from university presses. Some things never change.
The essay, however, morphed in the May 2005 issue into what we call a forum. We wanted to give university press directors and editors an opportunity to speak for themselves. Every year since, we've sought out a handful of directors and asked them to contribute to this forum. That first year we asked contributors to talk about their presses' editorial focus and policies, but in the years since we've adopted a no-holds-barred attitude vis-a`-vis subject matter. The only directive we have given is that the contributor write about a subject relevant to the press's publishing program or to university press publishing in general. In seeking out presses to contribute, we've made efforts to be geographically diverse and to ask presses both large and small.
Our tack this year was somewhat different. We thought we'd go back to several presses that had contributed in the first couple of years of this forum and ask them to read their earlier contributions and comment on how university presses and their concerns have (or haven't) changed in the intervening years. Accordingly, we prevailed on University of California Press, Columbia University Press, University of Illinois Press, Ohio University Press and Swallow Press, and Stanford University Press to speak to us again. Two of this year's contributors—Alan Harvey (Stanford) and Jennifer Crewe (Columbia)—wrote their presses' earlier forum pieces. The others—Willis Regier (Illinois), Alison Mudditt (California), and Kevin Hawworth (Ohio)—stepped in because of management changes at the presses.
As always, the comments are illuminating. I'll not summarize, characterize, or comment on what follows, because nothing I would say would benefit what follows. Suffice it to say, it's pretty much all about e Enjoy.