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University of Missouri Press to Close

This is worrying. Last year Utah State University Press announced its closing, but instead it became part of the University of Colorado Press. That was a creative solution, and it stayed open in this new arrangement, but now the University of Missouri Press has announced its closure. A modest university press costs its home institution about a half-million dollars a year, give or take (at least, that’s what directors have told me when I have visited presses… numbers vary widely depending on the size and reach of the press), simply because scholarly books are often not inherently profitable. By comparison, the endowment for the University of Missouri system is a little over a billion.

Some university presses do better than others. Georgetown University Press is notable for not losing any money, thanks to the strength of its languages lists. But still, $400,000 a year is not an outrageous sum for a press at all, and in this challenging publishing environment certainly not irregular compared to its peers.

Humpf. Worried. Sad.


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