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  • Temple University Press

    Mon, 22 Jun 2009 03:07

    Founded in 1969, Temple University Press chose as its inspiration Russell Conwell's vision of the university as a place of educational opportunity for the urban working class. The Press is perhaps best known as a publisher of books in the social sciences and the humanities, as well as books about Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley region. Temple was an early publisher of books in urban studies, housing and labor studies, organizational reform, social service reform, public religion, health care, and cultural studies. It became one of the first university presses to publish in what later became the fields of women's studies, ethnic studies -- including Asian American and Latino studies, as well as African American Studies. Today, it continues in those fields and in newer ones such as disability studies, animal rights, criminology, gender and sexual identity, and sport and society. Temple's regional list encompasses scholarly books, coffee table books, and books about art, culture, birding, fishing, hiking, sports teams, and the urban and suburban environments.

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Temple University Press: Temple University Press publishes books that appeal to a broad spectrum of readers -- from scholarly books for the global university community to locally-focused titles about Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley region (where the press is housed). Our books encourage readers to gain new perspectives on the world and a greater understanding of the social, cultural, and political forces that unite and divide us. Many of our titles take an interdisciplinary approach -- they address race and class in history, for example, or examine gender and culture in work/labor -- to provide readers with a wide-ranging outlook on issues that relate to them. But whether discussing a sophisticated academic point or describing the wonders of swing dance or salsa, football or the rest of the sporting world, Temple University Press books aim to challenge easy assumptions and stimulate new ways of understanding the world.

    The Book Depository: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    Temple University Press: The opportunities involve embracing new technology like Print On Demand (POD) to have better control over inventory and generate books overseas faster and at a cost savings. Other opportunities include finding niche markets for our books in academia and trade outlets by using electronic marketing tools (e.g., search inside the book) and social networking sites (e.g., Facebook) to help spread the word about Temple University Press titles.

    The Book Depository: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    Temple University Press: The acquisitions editor has to demonstrate that the proposed book meets the Press's standards for intellectual and financial contribution, through peer reviews and sales/costs projection. The case for a project's intellectual merit must satisfy our Board of Review, which determines the editorial focus of the press and evaluates each project that the Press recommends. Although the Board does not consider the financial details of specific projects, it is concerned with their suitability for the markets identified as well as with the overall financial health of the Press.

    The Book Depository: What books are you most proud of having published?

    Temple University Press: We are proud of all of our titles, but some of our award-winners and bestsellers include:

    The Eagles Encyclopedia, by Ray Didinger and Robert Lyons, a comprehensive history of a local (US) football team which was the press's best and fastest selling title in our 40-year history.

    Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts, by Sam Wineburg, an award-winning book that asks, "How do historians know what they know."

    The Possessive Investment in Whiteness by George Lipsitz, which probes into the ways that race determines life chances and structures experience in the contemporary United States. This book is a staple of our American Studies list.

    The Gold Standard: The Challenge of Evidence-Based Medicine and Standardization in Health Care by Stefan Timmermans and Marc Berg, which was the first book to explore the effects of dramatic changes in the delivery of medical care. This title won the Robert Merton Professional Book Award from the Science, Knowledge, and Society section of the American Sociological Association in 2005.

    The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?

    Temple University Press: Forthcoming in Spring 2009:

    Bruce Jackson's Pictures from a Drawer: Prison and the Art of Portraiture, a collection of prison ID photos that question how we read (and look at) photographs.

    Filling the Ark by Leslie Irvine, which examines animal welfare in disasters. Irvine uses the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina as a way of understanding how disasters like oil spills, fires, and other calamities affect various animal populations -- on factory farms, in research facilities, and in the wild.

    Forthcoming in Fall 2009:

    Jimmy Heath, an autobiography of the jazz legend.

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