Joe Esposito can be counted on to provide good, sensible analysis of academic publishing. Here’s an article from The Scholarly Kitchen, 12 June 2013, which is somewhat pessimistic in its analysis of the effect of digital publishing on university presses. Liberals be warned: it features a large picture of Ronald Reagan.

However this second article also from The Scholarly Kitchen, 10 December 2013 is possibly the most staggeringly positive projection for university presses and publishers in general that I have seen. Of course it requires action, but not action which is utterly beyond us. As Sandy Thatcher’s comment suggests, getting the backing of university administrations may turn out to be the big problem for university presses. What Joe is suggesting is that digital marketing and direct selling to the end-user can totally alter the balance of power in the book business. In his Stage 3 publishing Amazon is still a dominant retail force, but by Stage 4 they seem mysteriously to drop away. Can this really be likely? — Amazon can be expected to come up with a few strategies of their own to compete with publishers. (God knows they have a track record.) Can they really be paradigm-shifted? Publishers’ direct marketing is already going on, and can be seen to be working. Maybe this is one where “we” get to win, or at least to redress the balance a little.