A publisher worth having in good times is twice as valuable in bad: A message from WVU Press

In this period of extraordinary challenges—for publishing, bookselling, higher ed, and just about everything and everybody else—the staff at West Virginia University Press is committed to ensuring that the state’s largest publishing house continues to maintain a robust lineup of books and journals. Some key points:

  • We look forward to sharing our fall catalog next month. If your access to the print catalog is interrupted, let us know and we’ll make sure you get a digital copy. Booksellers and sales reps can always access information about our new and forthcoming titles on the Edelweiss platform.
  • Forthcoming titles will continue to be released on schedule, with the possibility of some modest hiccups related to the temporary closure of our warehouse at the University of Chicago Press’s Distribution Center. Our colleagues in Chicago have been great, and we don’t anticipate significant disruptions.
  • Many print books continue to be available directly from WVU Press during the warehouse closure (currently scheduled to last through April 7), but to help compensate for any delays we’ve made all of our ebooks half off on our website. Plus you’ll receive a free digital edition immediately when ordering any print book directly from WVU.
  • If you’re looking for print without delay, our books are widely available at online retailers. We suggest Bookshop.org, Indiebound.org, or independent bookstores that sell directly from their own websites. Our titles are also available and shipping now from Amazon.com and BN.com.
  • Our staff is working offsite, but we’re excited to continue acquiring new books. If you have something to pitch, please email the appropriate acquisitions editor.
  • While face-to-face book events are—like events of nearly all kinds—canceled, we’re teaming up with Taylor Books in Charleston to hold a virtual book launch for Kevin Gannon’s timely book Radical Hope on April 1.
  • We’re also donating 120 copies of Radical Hope to West Virginia University’s Teaching and Learning Commons, to be shared with teachers across our home institution.

This is necessarily a period of improvisation, and we hope you’ll let us know if there are things we can be doing better. We invite you to keep up with the latest developments by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

We also ask that you keep buying, writing, teaching, and (of course) reading books. More than ever, supporting the smaller and most independent parts of the ecosystem for books will be vital to our continued flourishing—and that means not-for-profit publishers like West Virginia University Press, but also our many partners, and especially the independent bookstores that have been forced to close their doors but continue to sell books and engage their communities in thoughtful and creative ways. Consider buying (even if just a gift certificate) from nearby booksellers like Four Seasons in Shepherdstown, White Whale in Pittsburgh, or Downbound Books in Cincinnati. Malaprop’s and Union Avenue are other regional favorites.

Finally, please continue to advocate for West Virginia University Press and for university press publishing in general. University presses have been remarkably resilient in the face of repeated gloomy predictions over the past twenty (or more!) years. But misunderstandings about our role and functioning persist and may become especially damaging when compounded by new financial and logistical challenges. Remember that a publisher worth having around in good times is twice as valuable during bad times.

We’re confident we have a strong story to tell and a bright future of continued growth ahead of us, and we’re excited for our readers, authors, partners, and friends to be—as always—part of our success.

Stay safe and read!

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