(19 Sep 2023) The Association of University Presses (AUPresses) and Ithaka S+R today publish “Print Revenue and Open Access Monographs: A University Press Study.” This report is the result of research funded by a Level I Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to investigate the effect of open digital editions on the sales of print monographs.
The study sought to understand the print sales performance of scholarly books that are also available in a free-to-read open digital edition. Twenty-six (26) university press members of the Association contributed data for 976 OA titles published between 2005 and 2022. One of the key insights from the investigation is that print sales can be a significant contributor to offsetting the costs of publishing such works, with median print sales of close to $6000—and (excluding outliers) average sales of nearly $8000. The analysis looks more closely at disciplinary differences, high-sales outliers, print format choices, and the potential for consumer ebook sales for supporting OA book publishing programs. While the research team was not able to collect comparable non-OA monograph data from participants, the OA-titles data set has been made freely available, and will be a valuable tool for publishers to study their own lists and sales data.
The press release in full is here.