I can say, without a shred of doubt, that my experience with Open Book Publishers has been nothing short of excellent. For reference/comparison: I’ve published three other books with Cambridge UP, Bloomsbury and Palgrave. In all respects, OBP were at least as good, if not better in some areas, than some of the others. A few areas are worth commenting upon:
1. The peer-review was excellent in terms of both rigour and speed. It was relatively quick and they kept me informed throughout when one of the reviewers asked for a deadline extension. When I did receive the reports (of which there were three – more than on any of my other books) – the feedback was constructive and clearly from people who knew the field.
2. Production. This was another great experience. The copyediting was done by an academic (I think she is a postdoc at Cambridge) and was extremely thorough. It was also done in a timely fashion. Cover designs and typeset proofs were also extremely quick. Finally, the whole thing will be out this/next week. I only delivered the final manuscript last month. It is fantastic not to have to wait ages for a book to be published.
3. Prices. Paperback at £16 and free PDF online. Can’t really beat that.
I managed to get Birkbeck to fund the Book Processing Charge and I don’t regret it at all. I’d publish with them again.
—Martin Paul Eve (Birkbeck, University of London)
The world of publishing can be incredibly daunting for a first-time book author. Before coming across OBP, I recall waiting weeks or months at a time simply to receive an acknowledgment from publishing houses; often being ultimately met with not-so-constructive responses about the project. Working with OBP has been completely refreshing: timely responses; feedback that is both helpful and respectful of the author's voice; open-access ideals that are incredibly important in an academic arena that, more often than not, excludes rather than shares. It has been a privilege working with OBP and I am so very glad that my first book has found its home here.
—Nandita Dinesh (UWC-USA, New Mexico)
I have excellent memories of an outstanding (and exacting) copy-editor at Harvard, from whom I learned much, and an extremely helpful and co-operative editor at Chicago, but nowhere have I encountered the degree of responsiveness, the generous support, the personal engagement of the founder-editors of Open Book Publishers—themselves university teachers—and their staff. I have now published four books with this press and in each case, communication among us was frequent, easy, open, and produced results. At a time when it is easy to be cynical about university presses and the way they are fulfilling—or not fulfilling—the objectives for which they were originally set up, Open Book is a beacon of optimism, encouragement, and confidence in the value and future of scholarly inquiry, writing, and exchange. It is high time that university appointment and tenure committees, university libraries, and scholarly journals recognized the role this adventurous and innovative not-for-profit press is playing, especially in the humanities, and that its procedures for the selection of manuscripts submitted to it are as rigorous as those of any university press. I believe that Open Book Publishers is the way of the future in scholarly publishing. It is already expanding rapidly and I am glad to see that. Still, selfishly, I hope that expansion will not erode the feeling those who have worked with it have of being part of a family of scholars, rather than a business.
— Lionel Gossman (Princeton)
Open Book has enabled me to experiment with a new genre: textbooks on classical authors that enable research-led teaching at school level. The key factor to make this work is speed: because these books are written in reaction to examination boards setting new texts from time to time, the turn-around between initial impulse and final product is, ideally, under a year. OBP has risen magnificently to this challenge. World-class readers who operate at the speed of light vet the final drafts (sixteen pages of detailed comments on a manuscript of 300+ pages within three days, anybody?), before the production team works its own magic, transforming the manuscripts into beautiful volumes within six weeks.
—Ingo Gildenhard (King's College, Cambridge)
From initial proposal submission to final delivery of the manuscript, Open Book Publishers was a pleasure to work with. Time is of the essence when publishing in a field as fast-moving as the digital humanities, but scholarly publishing is typically a tortuously slow process. OBP was a welcome surprise, whose swift and efficient processes ensured timely publication without ever sacrificing quality or scholarly rigour. The comprehensive peer review was efficiently coordinated within a matter of two months. In a publishing world where many presses no longer bother with anything beyond "light" copy-editing, OBP enlisted three copy-editors to pore over the manuscript. Direct correspondence with the design and production teams guaranteed that everyone was pleased with the final result. With all this added attention, the entire process took less time than any other academic publishing project I've ever worked on. Best of all, the whole book is available to read for free online, allowing a global readership to access and critically engage with our work, while simultaneous publication in print satisfies the requirements of even the most hardened tenure and promotion committees. I wholeheartedly recommend publishing with Open Book Publishers.
—Brett D. Hirsch (University of Western Australia)
Open Book Publishers works just like the most distinguished academic publishers—except, that is, for making scholarship available to a vastly larger audience. The review process for my book was just as stringent as that which my previous books have undergone from Princeton, Oxford, and Cambridge University Presses. I received critical reports from two anonymous referees who were clearly expert in my field. OBP worked closely with me on the design for the book, with splendid results. Their production process was efficient and far quicker than that of a traditional publisher. The number of readers who have accessed the book in the six months since publication is already four times the sales of my previous book, which was published in 2009.
—J. David Velleman (New York University)
From the time I sent in my manuscript, the editors at Open Book Publishers responded quickly and respectfully. While it took some months for the outside reader reports, OPB quickly thereafter offered to accept the MS for publication. From that point on I worked with them in a collegial and collaborative atmosphere to prepare the final text. From the graphic designs of the front and back covers, to the manner in which photos and links were to be displayed in the text, there was a very creative interaction to come up with the best possible presentation. The actual editing was also a matter of cooperating to produce a clear scholarly work, with the electronic manuscript being sent back and forth in a timely fashion through several phases of proofreading. Finally, our collaboration with the World Oral Literature Project not only placed the book in an exciting new series but also enabled us to create links to the subtitled videos of the narrative performances that I had analyzed, a nearly unique innovation that augmented the depth of the project. Throughout, my experience was one of working with enthusiastic colleagues who understood the production process and the importance of making solid scholarship available to the widest possible readership. Compared to interactions I’ve had with other academic and private presses, Open Book was a deeply appreciated breath of fresh air.
—Robert Cancel (University of California, San Diego)