“A huge opportunity (and) a great time for the industry to pull together and think outside of the box.”

A survey of the 154-member Association of University Presses (AUP) reveals the pandemic has set in train a rapid and likely unstoppable transition to digital.

As reported by the UK trade journal The Bookseller, the Cambridge University Press (CUP) saw the expected fall in sales as lockdown closed schools and universities, but while print sales are reviving, the pandemic has, according to CUP’s MD of Academic Publishing Mandy Hill,

accelerated the shift to digital for both institutional and individual customers.

Per The Bookseller’s summary, Hill expects that trend to continue.

Anthony Cond, MD of the Liverpool University Press (LUP), said the pandemic had presented uni presses with,

the unique opportunity to reset spending.

Cond said the shift online of conferences and events had delivered increased engagement and financial savings.

University of Wales Press Director Natalie Williams said the pandemic’s impact on the trade had presented a,

huge opportunity (and) a great time for the industry to pull together and think outside of the box.

While the Bookseller paraphrased Peter Berkery, AUP executive director, as saying,

many presses have taken advantage of remote working to invest time, energy and thought into their digital work processes as well as, in some cases, accelerating the digitalisation of their backlist.

David Clark,managing director of the academic division of the Oxford University Press said that institutional customers have,

moved wholeheartedly to digital formats.

Read much more over at The Bookseller.

With the pandemic now in its second wave and a third surge likely before any vaccination programme proves its worth, this transition to digital can only gain momentum so long as academic publishers don’t try to artificially depress the market as trade publishers did in the mid-2010s.