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The publisher's alphabet

July 31, 2015


We all know the ABC’s are easy as 123. But when it comes to understanding the complex world of publishing? The answers are often far from simple. That’s why we’ve created a short guide that’s as accessible as the alphabet (and hopefully scintillating enough to get the Jackson 5 song out of your head).




Acquisitions: The press department that decides which books to publish.



Backlist: Older books still available from a publisher. At OSU Press, our backlist generally contains titles published more than one year ago.



Copyright: A tricky subject! Designates ownership of the book’s printed material. copyright



Distributor: A middle-man organization that sells to retailers as opposed to consumers. We at OSU Press use the Chicago Distribution Center to store and process most of our books and sales.



E-book: The digital version of a published work. We proof our e-books on both Kindle and iBooks formats.



Frontlist: Newer titles published a press. Given the definition of “backlist” described above, this generally includes titles published in the last year. For further clarification, browse our catalog to see how books have been divided.



Grayscale: OSU Press books that only contain black and white images are printed right here GrayscaleBooksin the United States. The printing process is faster (and more economical!) than that of books with color images.



Hardcover: Although some of our titles feature hardcover bindings, most OSU Press books are published in paperback.



ISBN (International Standard Book Number): Essentially the literary version of a Social Security Number. A 13- or 10-digit number that uniquely identifies a title.



Journals: Although many academic presses publish journals, OSU Press currently does not.



Knowledge: It’s power! And here at OSU Press, we try to bring empowerment of the lightbulbregional variety, focusing mostly on works that incorporate the history, culture, and environment of the Pacific Northwest.



Line Edits: Comments and corrections made by editors who focus on more than just grammatical errors. Overall tone and style are also considered, leading to more detailed and nuanced suggestions.



Mighty M’s: Mary, Marty, and Micki—the lovely ladies who keep OSU Press running and relevant!



Networking: Presses must interact and make connections not only among colleagues, but with manufacturers, retailers, publicists, and distributors, as well. OSU Press employees attend several conferences and trade shows each year to network.



Out of Print: A book is only labeled “out of print” once inventory is depleted and no republication plans exist.



Page Proofs: One of the final stages before publication! Page proofs show everything Proofsexactly how it will appear in the printed book, including layout, color, and page numbers. These are often used for creating finalized indexes.



Questions: As a press, we receive all sorts of questions from writers and readers alike. Authors have several resources available through the Author Marketing Guide, but where should readers go when they have pressing questions? Email us at osu.press@oregonstate.edu and we’ll get back to you in a jiffy.



Reviews: Before publication, we send review copies of the manuscript to respected peers within the author’s field of work. Just like a scientific study, it’s important that academic books be tested and studied by other professionals before being published.



Slush: Nope, nothing like the blue raspberry-flavored goodness you find at 7-11. This refers stacksofpaperto the batch of unsolicited pitches and manuscripts sent to our acquisitions department.



Trade: Generally referring to the non-academic side of publishing, which includes large publishing houses and literary agents (and staff lists many times the size of that at OSU Press!).



University Presses: Publishing houses directly affiliated with an academic institution that typically focus on scholarly works. 



Value: Myriad factors determine the end price of a book, including printing and transportation costs, as well as the amount of time spent on writing, editing, and design.



Website: Found a book you liked on our website? Simply click the “add to cart” bar and pay online for the quickest way to receive your purchase. And if you prefer browsing the aisles of a brick-and-mortar bookstore? OSU Press titles are sold in dozens of shops across the nation, including the world-famous Powell’s.



X-out: Need to cross something out of a draft? Simply draw a line with a loop to signal the EditMarksdeletion of a word or phrase. We use a bevy of special marks when proofreading and editing drafts.



You: As a reader, you’re the key to academic presses’ longevity and success! We exist to perpetuate and expand scholarly conversations; without interest from participants like you, our publishing houses would quickly become obsolete.



Zoo: Yup, sometimes the publishing world can best be described as a zoo (you should see us all together at the annual Association of American University Presses conference!). But despite the chaos of deadlines and challenge of evolving technology, we academic presses are here to stay. Someone has to build the Ark, right?




This blog post made with inspiration from AuthorHouse.

Member of AAUP