- Bucknell University and Rutgers University presses will combine forces in an effort to cut costs in a time of tight funding for college press services, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The press at Rutgers will now print, market and sell Bucknell’s books, while the latter university will hold onto its imprint, continuing to acquire and edit its own books. As part of the arrangement, once the expenses of selling Bucknell’s books are paid by Rutgers, Bucknell will receive a royalty from its books’ profits.
- The agreement will offer Bucknell the means to mass produce its books in attempt to cheapen them to the point that they can be marketed to individuals, rather than only libraries. Rutgers will now have more books it can sell, which can help it bargain for better prices from vendors, and also help them expand their publishing into new fields.
- As university budgets have tightened over the past few years, presses have had to work against their own financial difficulties and dwindling resources in order to prove their value to the host institutions sponsoring them. The majority of presses have had to outsource part of their organization to reduce costs, but now a handful are forming partnerships in hopes that collaboration will result in greater visibility and pricing benefits.
Partnership formation in all areas of the university will likely persist across higher ed — in fact American Council of Trustees and Alumni President Michael Poliakoff recently told Education Dive collaboration and resource-sharing will be imperative to the industry's survival. The implications and examples extend far beyond presses at universities; two years ago in Ohio, two community colleges announced plans to consolidate administrative positions in order to work with both colleges. The two schools, located about 75 miles from each other, actually picked a location equidistant between them to set up administrative shop. It is possible that such partnerships will continue to happen, and that campuses will transition into venues serviced by a staff caring for numerous institutions under one administrative umbrella.
It will be important to note how various stakeholders would react to consolidation on the part of school administrators and leaders. Steps should be taken to communicate effectively with administrators and staff on campus who may be wondering if such consolidation moves are making way for layoffs. Though in the Ohio example, administrators pledged the partnership would not lead to anyone losing his or her job, in some cases, position consolidations and eliminations are necessary. Transparency along the way will help all parties promote a smooth transition as institutions continue working to do more with less.
Autumn A. Arnett contributed to this piece.