Self publishings …

The three Big Red Logic Books continue to be downloaded at a very steady rate, about 1500 times a month between them — and over 200 paperback copies sold a month too. Now I know that there are enough sales to justify any additional effort, I might explore the costs and benefits of moving away from the easiest default option of using the Am*z*n self-publishing system. But plainly this self-publishing malarky is a pretty good way of getting what you write into people’s hands or at least onto their screens.

Of course, I realize full well that with things as they are, many people will need the imprimatur of a university press for their book to get brownie points for tenure/promotion purposes. But equally, there are a lot of cases where that doesn’t apply. For example, I chanced upon this notice of a Festschrift for Keith Hossack to be published next year by Bloomsbury. For £85. What exactly is the point of publishing like that? Wouldn’t everyone involved much  rather have had their work read and thereby have Hossack’s work more widely promoted? As it is, how many university libraries will be forking out in these straitened times?

There are some downsides to totally independent self-publishing — so as I’ve said before, what we need is probably some more projects for book-publishing like the planned BJPS Open series. It will be interesting to see how that develops. Open access journal publishing, like the Philosophers’ Imprint, seems to be doing well and gaining standing.  With enough support, something similar could and should happen for book publishing.


I’ve noted before that by far the most frequent download from the whole Logic Matters site  is (the successor of) the Teach Yourself Logic Study Guide — downloaded more than 1700 times in April, for example. And encouraged by that, I have found myself over the few weeks working hard on an update, in a slightly different format which will now probably lead to another Big Red Logic Book. But it will be some weeks before a new version is ready for prime time.

It is actually a rather enjoyable project (sad but true!), revisiting some familiar old texts and taking another look at some less familiar ones, and writing/revising mini-overviews of the various areas the Guide covers. Should I be dispirited (‘it has taken this long for the penny to really drop?!’) to still be finding out new things along the way? Or should I just enjoy the continuing journey? The latter, I think!

4 thoughts on “Self publishings …”

  1. Where does College Publications fit into the publishing picture?

    They are the publishers of, for example, Reasoning in Simple Type Theory, a
    Festschrift in Honor of Peter B. Andrews on his 70th Birthday
    (paperback, £18.50).

    They also provide a home for some classics such as Kunen’s Set Theory and Barendregt’s The Lambda Calculus, its Syntax and Semantics, and quite a few other interesting books.

  2. Re Open Logic Project. That involves considerably more than Open Access (i.e. more than just giving readers free access to articles or books, usually in PDF form). The Project makes available source codes for documents that you can freely select from, revise, add to, work into your own writings — so long as any published outputs are made available under a Creative Commons license for others to make use of in the same say. Jumping into (something like) the Open Logic Project, as Matt puts it, is a considerable step beyond going Open Access. Having noted that, I might indeed be tempted — at least nearer the time when I eventually put down my quill pen — to make make stuff Open in the stronger sense.

    Re College Publications That’s a strange one indeed! Their editorial quality control seems pretty hopeless (sub Springer!), and their over-long list is such a mish-mash of seemingly third-rate stuff, studded with some excellent offerings. Their production values are often pretty amateurish (substandard LaTeX templates?). Their advertising seems hopeless — the maths librarian here, for example, had never heard of them. Their website is a mess. But yes, they do publish at what must be near cost price, so all credit for that — though they don’t provide Open Access (and apparently don’t keep everything available for PoD either). Fairly close, but certainly no cigar.

    Still, having griped, I’ve just noted a couple of new offerings from them that I’m ordering, some collected essays by Kanamori, and new lectures on model theory from Ronan Kossak.

    1. Ah! The same books (Kanamori, Kossak) that I ordered when I looked there. ^_^

      I agree that the quality control seems minimal.

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