Posts Tagged 'digital publishing'

Policy Press Shorts: Why flexible publishing increases the options for authors

Victoria Pittman

Victoria Pittman

By Policy Press Commissioning Editor, Victoria Pittman.

Is it a journal article? Is it a monograph? No, it’s a Policy Press Short!

It’s certainly not a new thing for publishers to be thinking about the best format to suit authors and their content or to suit market needs. Neither is the idea of a short book in any way unique. So it’s perhaps not surprising to see different format options being presented to authors, particularly when they are making use of digital developments which continue to change the way we publish content.

Policy Press Shorts logo

Our new Policy Press Shorts format is designed to give authors another option for publishing their work with more flexibility on length and benefits such as less time in production and a low-priced eBook. Other developments in mid-form publishing include Guardian Shorts, Palgrave Pivots, Princeton Shorts, Cornell Selects and the options draw attention to opportunities for flexible publishing which are exciting for both authors and publishers alike.

With an upper limit of around 40-50,000 words in most cases, these shorter books arguably have the same credibility and citation value of a longer monograph but without the same time commitment. Mid-form publishing provides authors with a new option – an opportunity to publish writing and research which doesn’t fit within the conventional book or journal length. The shorter length allows the publisher to commit to a quicker production schedule and fast publication whilst still giving the project the attention it deserves and providing the author with the same route to market.


So why is this happening now?

The fact that publishers are specifically offering this format could be linked to factors such as the decline in sales of traditional length monographs or the changing pressures of academia reducing the time authors have available for book projects. Another important reason is the development of digital publishing. Not only have digital formats started to remove some of the economics of paper but digital printing and advances in print on demand have increased the viability of short print runs and digital-led publishing. This means a low-priced, shorter book can be an option where it might not have been before and it allows publishers to be more flexible with the solutions they offer their authors.


Why publish in this format with Policy Press?

As a small team with a mission to make a big impact, we are particularly excited about encouraging a format that enables faster publication so that research and ideas can reach their audience quickly and without compromising on quality. Our Policy Press Shorts will deliver original ideas and make a difference in a concise, easily accessible way. Written by experts in their fields, from leading academics, social commentators and professionals to the best emerging scholars, the new formats will allow high quality peer-reviewed content to reach our readers quickly, with a maximum of 12 weeks in production. The titles will be available as eBooks for use on your PC, tablets or other devices but also include a print on demand option in either hardback or paperback (depending on the core market) for those who prefer a hard copy. They will be between 60pp and 150pp (20,000 and 50,000 words) and will be available for both personal purchase and for libraries and institutions through the usual channels.

Our Shorts will not only offer the opportunity to publish research (which might be longer than an article but shorter than a traditional monograph) but also inspiring social commentary providing insights on topical issues and handbooks and guides which will have an impact on policy and practice in key areas of society. These different types of content will all benefit from reaching their audience quickly and in this accessible format. Policy Press Shorts will fall into three broad categories:


As a not-for-profit University Press, Policy Press is part of the scholarly community and understands the needs and pressures of academia. At the same time, we are a specialist social science publisher with an established reputation for reaching out into practice and policy and making a difference with our high quality books, journals and other resources.


How to become a Policy Press Short author

If you would like to write a Policy Press Short please get in touch with Victoria Pittman ( or the relevant editor for your subject area. Find details here.

For more information visit the Policy Press Shorts page on our website.


E-books at The Policy Press

EbookAs we all know, book publishing is changing fast. Though we won’t deny that we’re attached to the comfort and nostalgia of the printed book, Policy Press is keeping up with the times.

While we have been selling our e-content since 2008, the last few years have seen a huge increase in demand for e-books and massive developments in the technology to read them, and we are developing our e-products to match. Getting the information out there is at the heart of the Policy Press philosophy so we want to make it available in the format our customers want it, whether that be print or digital.

It’s not just publishers who have to get used to these new formats… it’s a new area for our customers too. You may be asking: “Why do I have to pay so much for a digital file? Policy Press doesn’t even have to pay for printing/storage/shipping!” The answer is all in the content.

The work that goes in to the quality of the content and the design remains the same, and this represents most of the cost in terms of the publishing process. If you’d like to find out more, Channel View Publications have published an interesting blog piece about this, Why aren’t e-books free.

Given the above, we’re pleased to say that we currently have a special price of £6.99 on the e-book version of some of our key titles, including Democracy under attack, Injustice and Hidden Stories of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. Find out more here.

Digital publishing also gives us the opportunity to offer content in ways impossible in print, such as Policy Press Bytes. This new format allows you to purchase excerpts from books at the competitive price of £1.99. Currently we have three Bytes for Danny Dorling’s Unequal health available, each giving a flavour of three major themes: public health, social medicine and inequality.

We have e-books available in a variety of formats. For individuals, titles are available for download to your e-reader via a range of retailers, including Nook, Kobo, and Kindle. Search for a book on their websites to see if it’s available – the list of Policy Press titles from these sellers is growing all the time.

Our monographs are available as EPDFs through the recently launched Policy Press Scholarship Online (in partnership with Oxford University Press), which features over 300 digital titles across sociology, social work and public health and epidemiology. EPDFs are also available for libraries from,,, and

We will soon be offering digital review and inspection copies for lecturers to give instant access to books you might be interested in including on reading lists, and to journals for reviewing. There will be more information on this coming soon.

And so, to the future… Wikipedia’s article on electronic publishing (a useful read) says “electronic publishers are able to provide quick gratification for late-night readers”. We can’t promise that (!), but we will be increasing the number of our titles available as e-books, producing more Policy Press Bytes, and adapting our content to make it as accessible, useful and affordable as we possibly can. We’re really excited about the products we have coming up and the possibilities e-publishing gives us. Keep an eye on our website for developments.

What would you like from us in terms of e-books? Let us know.

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