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!