Academic newsletter - December 2017

Alastair Horne
Opinion - Academic Tuesday, 05 December 2017

Alastair Horne, in association with the London Book Fair, on the sale of Jessica Kingsley and other news from the academic publishing world

Jessica Kingsley acquired by Hachette after 30 years of independence
Jessica Kingsley Publishers (JKP), specialists in social and behavioural sciences, has been acquired by Hachette UK, where it will become an imprint of John Murray Press. Founder Jessica Kingsley, 68, will retire as publisher, but will stay on as a consultant well into 2018; staff in both the UK and US offices will remain in their existing locations, in King's Cross and Philadelphia respectively, for the time being.

The formerly independent publisher celebrated its 30th anniversary in October with the publication of Thirty Years of Social Change, a collection of essays "exploring the past, present, and future of many of the helping or altruistic professions", and has been enjoying a particularly successful period. In June, it announced that turnover had increased for a 30th consecutive year, leaping 13% to £6.1 million in 2016; JKP was also shortlisted three times at this year's IPG awards - for Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year, the Nielsen Digital Marketing Award, and the Alison Morrison Diversity Award - and was the winner of the award for Independent Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year at last year's British Book Industry Awards. One of JKP's authors, the Reverend Dr Stephen Cherry, Dean of King's College, Cambridge, described the publisher in a valedictory blogpost as "forward-looking, socially responsible, and pioneering", giving "voice to the issues and concerns that somehow just don't quite get the attention they deserve".

Kortext named top platform at FutureBook awards
University textbook platform Kortext, which recently partnered with Wiley on a deal with the Egyptian Knowledge Bank to provide digital textbooks to all Egyptian citizens and universities, was announced at last week's FutureBook conference as the winner of the award for Platform of the Year - Reference and Education, ahead of scholarly contenders Bloomsbury and university etextbook subscription service Bibliotech. Dave Sherwood, ceo of Bibliotech, was beaten to the Disruptor of the Year award by Nikesh Shukla and Julia Kingsford, founders of The Good Journal and The Good Literary Agency, in what was otherwise a quiet night for the scholarly sector.

Programme announced for second University Press Redux conference in London
The programme has been announced for next year's second University Press Redux conference, hosted by UCL Press and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers and taking place in February at the British Library. An international cast of speakers from the UK, US, Denmark, and the Netherlands will include representatives from a wide range of stakeholders, including libraries, researchers, service providers, journalists, and aggregators, alongside voices from the commercial academic sector. Keynote speakers will include Timothy Wright, ceo of Edinburgh University Press; Lisa Bayer, director of the University of Georgia Press; Amy Brand of MIT Press; and Bloomsbury's Richard Charkin.

News in brief
Manchester University Press has announced new editors for its Bulletin of the John Rylands Library: Stephen Mossman and Cordelia Warr, both of the University of Manchester. Professor Marianne Hestor, editor-in-chief of Policy Press‘s Journal of Gender-Based Violence, has been appointed a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.


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