Tag Archives: Terry Ehling

UPCC Breaks Even in its First Fiscal Year

I am pleased to announce that the University Press Content Consortium (UPCC) has broken even in its first full fiscal year.  This is a tremendous accomplishment by the MUSE staff, our publishers and the more than 160 libraries that have purchased collections and single titles.16b_marliegregdonna3

            The program has only been in existence for 18 months and we continue to learn a great deal about the evolving landscape of eBooks.  We have generated more than $8 million in library sales since January of 2012 with 70% of revenues going to our publishers.

            An emerging trend this year has been the preference for current year or 2013 eBook content from our libraries. Sales of collections have been heavily weighted towards 2013 titles this year.

One reason for this is the emergence of customer loyalty.  Many of the “early adopter” libraries purchasing collections in 2012 have returned to expand their corpus of UPCC content. Libraries have also expressed to us that they had already purchased older titles in print.

UPCC Publishers will receive smaller payments in the first six months of 2013 as a result of this buying pattern. With 68% of sales focused on current year content, the payments reflect only a fraction of revenues for already published titles and zero revenues for books scheduled to appear later in the year.  Year-end payments will recognize the full amount of revenues and are expected to be more substantial.

Usage continues to grow as more institutions purchase collections. Downloads in the first five months of 2013 have surpassed all of the usage in 2012.

                 In 2014, for the first time we will include titles from the University of California Press, the University of Minnesota Press, the University of Missouri Press, Cornell University Press and several others.

“The UPCC community is now 95 strong and we expect this pathfinding initiative to flourish in the years ahead,” commented Terry Ehling, associate director for content acquisitions and publisher relations.

            We continue to monitor the results of our single title program through YBP and are exploring models for Patron Driven Acquisition. We are also thankful for our relationship with the Johns Hopkins University Press.  Our colleagues at the Press have provided excellent systems support, market knowledge and guidance as this aspect of our business continues to expand and present exciting opportunities.

Thanks for reading,

Dean Smith

A Project MUSE Tripleheader: eBooks Beta, Terry Ehling, and The Wire

“The thing about the old days is that they the old days.” — Slim Charles, The Wire

Last week was an important one in the history of Project MUSE as we launched the eBook beta site, welcomed new Associate Director Terry Ehling, and published an issue of the journal Criticism dedicated to scholarly interpretations of The Wire, a groundbreaking television show about the myriad challenges facing Baltimore city. Borrowing from the legendary Chicago Cub shortstop Ernie Banks, “let’s play three.”

The eBooks beta site launched last week and we have received valuable feedback from our user community. The site has been widely praised for its “simple and clean” approach.  As expected, we have adjustments to make and are compiling a list of action items to be prioritized and completed before launch. The majority of these minor fixes are related to usability.

In a recent meeting, Johns Hopkins University Press Editor-in-Chief Greg Britton said, “You guys in Project MUSE reinvent yourself every week, right?” Well, not every week but it sure seems that way. Last year, we added more than 50 new journals to the platform and will exceed 500 before the end of the year. We have approximately 30 more on the way for 2012.

In January, we’d built a program called Project MUSE Editions with 28 publishers and 400 books. In February, we were selected to be the vendor of choice for the University Press eBook Consortium (UPCC) —which was an initiative funded by Mellon to explore the feasibility of eBook distribution. In March, we became the University Press Content Consortium and by April had signed 65 publishers, mostly university presses and will offer 13 – 15,000 eBooks in January, 2012.  We have new publishing colleagues, advisory boards, and co-workers—and have significantly expanded our content community.

Terry Ehling joined Project MUSE and has made a positive impact in her first ten days. She brings a wealth of experience as the former director of Project Euclid and the director the Digital Products Lab at MIT. Terry will take the lead on the University Press Content Consortium. She spent most of the week learning about Project MUSE but also came with ideas for new products, new content acquisition targets, and a refreshing vision for the future of digital publishing as related to Project MUSE.

Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts by Wayne State University Press has published an issue dedicated to The Wire. With article titles like “The Greek Gods of Baltimore: Greek Tragedy and The Wire” and “The Last Rights of D’Angelo Barksdale: The Life and Afterlife of Photography in The Wire,” admirers of the show will be interested in the depth of scholarly investigation and homage that has been paid to this five-part masterpiece of the small screen.

In the preface, Robert LeVertis and Paul Farber write:

“Our hope is that this issue, and the excellent essays within, will circulate in a broader conversation going on amongst scholars and critics across the world, from elite institutions to underrecognized intellectual fertile grounds. We collectively revisit The Wire to take on its mantle and its burden, and rather than merely look back, make anew.”

To encourage the “broader conversation,” we have worked with the publisher to make this issue accessible to all as the free sample for 2011.

I enjoyed the The Wire very much for its ambition, authenticity, and for its rendering of some of Baltimore’s more uniquely indigenous characters.  As a native, I applaud its willingness to tell the story of a cancerous drug trade, a long defunct educational system that endlessly feeds the drug pipeline with new recruits, and the decline of a newspaper meant to provide the semblance of a lens into the mechanisms of corruption and failure. 

Speaking at AAUP in June, David Simon said, among other things, “I don’t want to save the newspaper, just the newsroom.”

On the top floor of a six-story building with an expansive view of Baltimore City, we produce and deliver high quality content in a vibrant, “newsroom” type of atmosphere. We also share a similar vision with the Criticism editors.  We are not looking back at our accomplishments, but are actively engaged in making Project MUSE new again.