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Thread: Lexington Books

  1. #1
    Bunned whimsical rabbit's Avatar
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    Lexington Books

    A friend of mine is trying to publish his PhD thesis. He has had a few rejections already, which is always part of the game, and recently, he received an offer from Lexington Press, an imprint of Rowman and Littlefield. The contract mentioned the decisions taken by them are based on a peer-reviewed process, which is what academic press is all about, yet they asked for a 'supportive fee per page to ensure quality'.

    I warned him that this sounds like vanity publishing to me, and that if he goes for it, especially since he hasn't nearly exhausted all other options, he is in danger of losing prestige.

    What is your take, guys? After a quick google search, Lexington doesn't come up as self-publishing, yet the fact that it is an 'imprint' of Rowman and Littlefield makes me suspect it's a lesser option, that there is a catch there.

    Do you know anything about it?

    What would your advice be? Mine was to email them a few questions, but keep submitting.

    Thank you.
    As I was walking up the stair
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdiotsRUs View Post
    As da Wabbity one said, observation is key to it all.

  2. #2
    Resist. Love. Go outside. Marlys's Avatar
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    "Imprint" is not a red flag. Publishers often have a number of imprints--sometimes they use them to make distinctions between the type of books they sell (like Harlequin Teen vs. Worldwide Mystery), sometimes they acquire other publishers and want to keep the name going (Bantam Books at Random House).

    What is a red flag, always: asking the author for money. I would look elsewhere.
    I'm a twit, too: @PearsonMarlys

  3. #3
    Bunned whimsical rabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marlys View Post
    "Imprint" is not a red flag. Publishers often have a number of imprints--sometimes they use them to make distinctions between the type of books they sell (like Harlequin Teen vs. Worldwide Mystery), sometimes they acquire other publishers and want to keep the name going (Bantam Books at Random House).

    What is a red flag, always: asking the author for money. I would look elsewhere.
    Yes, this is exactly what I thought.

    And yes, you're absolutely right about the imprint aspect. I do know that, but because my friend was looking at Rowman and Littlefield as a publishing house, not at Lexington, I thought that the latter may have its own publishing policies. Not sure if I make any sense. I mean that, while Rowman and Littlefield may not ask for money, Lexington certainly can. Is that correct?
    As I was walking up the stair
    I met a man who wasn't there
    He wasn't there again today
    I wish, I wish he'd stay away.

    Hughes Mearns



    "The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others."
    Mark Twain.



    Quote Originally Posted by IdiotsRUs View Post
    As da Wabbity one said, observation is key to it all.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW girlyswot's Avatar
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    I wouldn't pay. But one thing he could do is look at the other books Lexington have published and decide whether he's happy for his to be sold beside them. Academic publishing (especially of theses/monographs) is a completely different ballgame from, say, fiction publishing. Whatever he does with the thesis, he's extremely unlikely to make any money from it.

  5. #5
    Resist. Love. Go outside. Marlys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whimsical rabbit View Post
    Yes, this is exactly what I thought.

    And yes, you're absolutely right about the imprint aspect. I do know that, but because my friend was looking at Rowman and Littlefield as a publishing house, not at Lexington, I thought that the latter may have its own publishing policies. Not sure if I make any sense. I mean that, while Rowman and Littlefield may not ask for money, Lexington certainly can. Is that correct?
    Is it possible that a traditional publishing house has a fee-charging imprint? I suppose. But ultimately, it doesn't matter who's doing what here--it's still a bad idea to pay to publish. It's true that academic presses often don't pay well, but they should still be the ones paying.
    I'm a twit, too: @PearsonMarlys

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    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    What is more obviously dodgy is that they have over 30 "imprints" and "co-publishing ventures". And these many imprints do not seem to have any dedicated editors despite taking on every academic discipline there is--that puts *very* heavy reliance on peer review based on reviewer names supplied by the author.

    It starts to sound a bit like a PhD mill on the side. That is, there are publishers that take academic and government works, put them out with little processing like a printing office, and then charge rather a lot for them. It looks to me like an approach that splits the difference between that and responsible publishing. The book prices themselves are not that high, but there is no indication that the editorial input is very high either.

    Just my impressions from the website.
    Last edited by veinglory; 05-29-2014 at 08:19 PM.
    Emily Veinglory

  7. #7
    Bunned whimsical rabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    What is more obviously dodgy is that they have over 30 "imprints" and "co-publishing ventures". And these many imprints do not seem to have any dedicated editors despite taking on every academic discipline there is--that puts *very* heavy reliance on peer review based on reviewer names supplied by the author.

    It starts to sound a bit like a PhD mill on the side. That is, there are publishers that take academic and government works, put them out with little processing like a printing office, and then charge rather a lot for them. It looks to me like an approach that splits the difference between that and responsible publishing. The book prices themselves are not that high, but there is no indication tha the editorial input is very high either.

    Just my impressions from the website.
    Thanks very much!
    As I was walking up the stair
    I met a man who wasn't there
    He wasn't there again today
    I wish, I wish he'd stay away.

    Hughes Mearns



    "The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others."
    Mark Twain.



    Quote Originally Posted by IdiotsRUs View Post
    As da Wabbity one said, observation is key to it all.

  8. #8
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whimsical rabbit View Post
    A friend of mine is trying to publish his PhD thesis. He has had a few rejections already, which is always part of the game, and recently, he received an offer from Lexington Press, an imprint of Rowman and Littlefield. The contract mentioned the decisions taken by them are based on a peer-reviewed process, which is what academic press is all about, yet they asked for a 'supportive fee per page to ensure quality'.

    I warned him that this sounds like vanity publishing to me, and that if he goes for it, especially since he hasn't nearly exhausted all other options, he is in danger of losing prestige.
    Academic publishing is completely different to trade publishing. It's common for people to have to make a financial contribution to get academic papers published, so this alone isn't necessarily a red flag.

    However, just because payment is often involved in academic publishing doesn't mean that it's ok for them to ask for payment in this instance, or that they're a good publisher.

    What is your take, guys? After a quick google search, Lexington doesn't come up as self-publishing, yet the fact that it is an 'imprint' of Rowman and Littlefield makes me suspect it's a lesser option, that there is a catch there.

    Do you know anything about it?

    What would your advice be? Mine was to email them a few questions, but keep submitting.

    Thank you.
    Lots of publishers have various imprints: that isn't a red flag.

    Looking at their website they have good covers and the books look much better than I'd expect from your average vanity publisher.

    According to their Wikipedia page, the parent company owns a book distribution company. It's worth asking how this might affect your friend's book.

    I'd suggest that your friend asks about the distribution, asks what sales they'd expect for his book, and that your friend takes a look at the people and books they publish; and that he investigates the publishers other people in his position have used. Theses are specific things, and don't usually have much commercial potential, so a publisher who was interested in publishing one would either have to expect a substantial reworking or look to recoup their investment elsewhere--in this case, from the author.

    If your friend is going to have to pay for the production of the book and they can't promise full bookshop distribution or good sales, he might well be better off self-publishing.

    I'm going to move this to BR&BC as it's not a self publishing question, and so doesn't belong in this room.

  9. #9
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Page fees occur with academic journals in some areas and not others. I personally will not pay them, and I personally have not heard of it in book publishing. But academia is pretty diverse so it just might not happen much in my discipline. It would be a deal killer for me (and I have published academic books).
    Last edited by veinglory; 05-29-2014 at 09:00 PM.
    Emily Veinglory

  10. #10
    Bunned whimsical rabbit's Avatar
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    Thank you so much, guys.

    I think my friend's main concern is how this will look to the rest of the academic. He is not too concenred with the sales (because like you said, theses don't really sell), but whether he will look 'desperate', and won't benefit from such a publication at all.
    As I was walking up the stair
    I met a man who wasn't there
    He wasn't there again today
    I wish, I wish he'd stay away.

    Hughes Mearns



    "The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others."
    Mark Twain.



    Quote Originally Posted by IdiotsRUs View Post
    As da Wabbity one said, observation is key to it all.

  11. #11
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I doubt most people will see anything wrong with it unless they really look into it and have strong opinions about academic publishing.
    Emily Veinglory

  12. #12
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    Page fees occur with academic journals in some areas and not others. I personally will not pay them, and I personally have not heard of it in book publishing. But academia is pretty diverse so it just might not happen much in my discipline. It would be a deal killer for me (and I have published academic books).
    I've heard of several academic publishers of apparently good reputation which expect their authors to contribute to the cost of their books' publication. I'm wary of it; but I'm told it's usual in certain circumstances. I don't think I'd go for it, but as I'm not an academic it's not going to ever be an issue for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by whimsical rabbit View Post
    Thank you so much, guys.

    I think my friend's main concern is how this will look to the rest of the academic. He is not too concenred with the sales (because like you said, theses don't really sell), but whether he will look 'desperate', and won't benefit from such a publication at all.
    Perhaps your friend could ask a few colleagues what they think about this.

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW girlyswot's Avatar
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    I definitely wouldn't recommend self-publishing in this case, Old Hack. The main purpose of publishing a thesis is to put it on your CV/list of publications for the benefit of hiring committees and/or research assessment panels. They'll want to see a known publisher for the work to count as published for that purpose.

  14. #14
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    In most cases to count on a resume it should be a peer-reviewed system. I am not completely convinced this publisher counts, as the author provides the names of reviewers which could amount to endorsements not critique. It is not stated that independent review is part of the process.
    Emily Veinglory

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