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Thread: Cambria Press

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Cambria Press

    Hi everyone,

    I just received an unsolicited email from Cambria Press expressing interest in reviewing my dissertation for publication as a scholarly monograph.

    Here's what Cambria Press says about itself:
    Cambria Press publishes high quality books intended for research library and university classroom use. Our authors include experienced PhD professors and researchers with terminal degrees in their field.
    As a full-service academic publisher, we edit and prepare camera-ready copy for our authors and publish in several formats demanded by today's market.
    Our scholarly works undergo double-blind peer review and we publish solely on the basis of peer review results. Cambria Press does not require any grants, subsidies, or payments from institutions or authors for publication.


    I have been thinking about revising my dissertation and shopping it to trade presses because I think it is a topic of interest to a broader audience (title of the dissertation: "Protecting and preparing children: Peace activist parenting in a post-9/11 world") ... but I completed it in July 2005, and haven't touched it yet, and I'm worried I'll never do it...

    So my questions are:
    -Has anyone heard of Cambria Press? Anything you know about it (impressions, experiences) would be valuable!

    and beyond that:
    -one thing I know about the press is that it's very new... are there major disadvantages to this? advantages?
    -are there things I should keep in mind if I want to pursue this possibility? Any questions I need to make sure to ask...?

    Thanks for whatever feedback you can provide!!
    Peace,
    Yael

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Spamming is not a good way to do business. And while the POD model is suitable for academic work, the value of the book will depend on the peer review process and their ability to edit highly technical/esoteric subjects. Too soon to call, IMO. I suggest waiting until you've seen their books on store/library shelves to judge whether they can do what they say.

    http://www.cambriapress.com/cambria.cfm?template=2
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  3. #3
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Sometimes publishers that conspicuously claim not to require a fee or subsidy require the authors to "guarantee sales," i.e., to buy or persuade friends to buy copies of their books. You don't find that out till you get the contract, however.

    - Victoria

  4. #4
    ttan
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    Cambria Press - A Publisher True to its Word

    Thanks to those of you who provided feedback. Unfortunately, the information provided is incorrect.

    First of all, caopaux has implied that Cambria Press engaged in spam. This is completely false. I personally wrote the email to Yael after our editor read an abstract of this work and requested more information. This is not spam at all. caopaux makes other statements which are inaccurate if such statements are meant to describe Cambria Press.

    Secondly, victoriastrauss insinuates that there may be secret fees or required author purchases that are hidden until a contract is issued. This is not the case at all for Cambria Press. Our publishing policies are written in plain English on our website for the entire world to see.

    I recommend that prospective authors check with the authors of the press for the best evaluation of the press instead of seeking the opinions of those who have no experience with the press in question. This is only common sense.

    Since this is a public forum, it is important to speak openly and truthfully. Cambria Press is very proud of its outstanding authors and their excellent works. We will not tolerate false accusations or insinuations, direct or indirect.

    By the way, if you really want to know about authors' experiences with Cambria Press, here are just a few of them.
    http://www.cambriapress.com/cambria.cfm?template=4


    Toni Tan
    Director
    Cambria Press

  5. #5
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    ttan:
    caopaux has implied that Cambria Press engaged in spam. This is completely false. I personally wrote the email to Yael after our editor read an abstract of this work and requested more information. This is not spam at all.
    Actually, sending an unsolicited email to someone to promote your services is the very definition of spam, Toni (in fact, under EU law it's termed "soft spam"). It's not spam if yael contacts you to ask for information about your company and you respond to the same.

    The library market is reached by marketing to the major wholesalers and jobbers that serve librarians and libraries throughout North America and internationally. In addition, academic opinion leaders, review journals, and academic librarians are also directly targeted.
    That sounds to me like you don't actually have a concrete distribution system in place because it reads as though you don't have an automatic wholesale chain up and running.

    The classroom market is reached by identifying academic programs and classes that may benefit from the book and reaching decision makers in those programs.
    How do you reach these decision makers? Do you have an established network or is it done on a case-by-case basis?

    How do you organise peer reviews? What are the credentials of your reviewers? How do you select them?

    MM

  6. #6
    ttan
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    The fact is that in the publishing industry, authors contact publishers and publishers contact authors. If you believe that this represents a form of spam, then I respectfully disagree. Furthermore, Cambria Press is a US company.

    Regarding our distribution, you are again wrong. Cambria Press books are on the approval plans of the leading academic book distributors.

    With respect to reaching decision makers, like all publishers, we have sources of scholars in a variety of different areas.

    Our peer reviewers are senior scholars established in their field. We select them by matching the specific nature of each manuscript with the senior scholar's expertise.

    To serious academic researchers, our program is completely understandable and valuable.
    Toni Tan
    Director
    Cambria Press

  7. #7
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttan
    Regarding our distribution, you are again wrong. Cambria Press books are on the approval plans of the leading academic book distributors.
    Does this mean that these distributors actually carry your books? I'm curious because of this, from your program page: "The library market is reached by marketing to the major wholesalers and jobbers that serve librarians and libraries throughout North America and internationally." If you have to market to wholesalers, that suggests to me that you aren't carried by them.

    If your books are indeed carried in the catalogues of academic book distributors, could you tell us which ones?

    I spent some time at Cambria's website. Its comparison matrix page is interesting; there's some misinformation about how other publishers operate (for instance, claiming that university presses hold copyright).

    From its program page, it appears that peer review only happens sometimes ("The work will undergo peer review if the quality has not already been evaluated and confirmed.") I'm curious about that peer review, anyway, and I'm wondering if Toni would provide a couple of concrete examples--select two or three titles from Cambria's catalogue, and let us know who reviewed them.

    Prices are insanely high. I'm aware that academic books often cost more than comparable trade books, but $79.95 for a 250-page hardcover book, or $39.95 for a 250-page softcover book--even with photographs or illustrations--is absurd, and all but guarantees that there will be few or no library purchases. Compare with, for instance, the prices at University of Massachusetts Press.

    A spot check of the books listed on Cambria's site turns up some quotes from individuals, but no reviews in scholarly journals or important publications that review scholarly books, such as the Times Literary Supplement. I suspect that Cambria's policy of sending out review copies only on request seriously limits review prospects for its authors.

    I'm not questioning the credentials of the scholars who are published by Cambria, but I am questioning its standing as an academic press.

    - Victoria

  8. #8
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    ttan:
    If you believe that this represents a form of spam, then I respectfully disagree. Furthermore, Cambria Press is a US company.
    It's not a matter of opinion - it's a matter of legislation. Your website states that you operate in the UK:

    Cambria Press prints simultaneously in U.S.A. and U.K. to reach all major English speaking markets
    Regardless of where your company is based, as far as EU law is concerned you are sending out spam.

    Cambria Press books are on the approval plans of the leading academic book distributors.
    Good to hear it. Which ones? Where is this set out on your website because it's certainly not obviously available. What sort of sales figures are you running? What sort of royalties do your authors receive?

    we have sources of scholars in a variety of different areas.
    Again, good to hear it. Which areas? Which institutions? What is the nature of your relationship with them? How do your source them?

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 11-13-2006 at 09:04 PM.

  9. #9
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Question

    Looks like silence....................

    Tri

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW
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    In the academic/technical world, it is not at all unusual for a publisher, large or small, established or just starting out, to seek out a particular author based on published papers, a dissertation or thesis, or even in response to hearing a talk. I and my co-author were solicited in this fashion by a major academic press for what turned out to be my first published book.

    I can't say anything about Cambria Press in particular. You should certainly check bona fides, but even if everything is on the up-and-up, you should make sure that it is the best press for your book; it does sound as though your book might have an audience, and therefore might be attractive to a number of different publishers.

    In the fiction world, a relatively unknown publisher contacting a relatively unknown author sets off all manner of alarm bells--and for good reason.

    But the rules for the fiction business don't translate readily to non-fiction (for example, trying to sell an unwritten book based on a proposal is the standard in non-fiction, but almost unheard-of in fiction), and academic books are a special niche of non-fiction.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    Prices are insanely high. I'm aware that academic books often cost more than comparable trade books, but $79.95 for a 250-page hardcover book, or $39.95 for a 250-page softcover book--even with photographs or illustrations--is absurd, and all but guarantees that there will be few or no library purchases. Compare with, for instance, the prices at University of Massachusetts Press.
    I'm not clear on what you gain by comparing prices from a private academic press with a university press. Comparison with Westview, Springer, Elsevier, etc. would make a great deal more sense.

    These kinds of prices do indeed mean that your local high-school or branch library probably won't buy them--but those probably aren't the target libraries for most academic books. Nonetheless, I guarantee you that libraries are the main purchasers of high-priced academic books

    I'm not in the business of defending Cambria Press; I know nothing about them.

    However, I DO know something about the cost of academic books, since in my line of work I often have to buy them out of my own aching wallet. Consider, for example, "The Physics of Laser Plasma Interactions." Westview Press (a very respected publisher.) Paperback. 206 pages. $43.00.

    Or, sitting by my elbow is "Satellite Hydrocarbon Exploration" by Zeev Berger, from Springer (a very respected publisher). Hardcover. 319 pages. List Price: $129.00.

    These are not the highest prices I can find; they are a couple of the books near my desk. But lest you think this kind of pricing is restricted to the hard sciences, let me refer you things from the Other Side of My Desk. For example, Chris Clarke's "Ways of Knowing: Science and Mysticism Today," from Imprint Academic. Paperback. 260 pages, $34.90.

    Let me also intoduce you to Sophie Heller's acclaimed "The Absence of Myth," from SUNY Press. Hardcover. 260 pages. $60.00. (Good book, if you like that sort of thing.)

    A large university press will try and publish what are the academic equivalent of bestsellers on popular topics, and these will, by their nature, be priced much lower (though the Sophie Heller book cited above is from SUNY). But paying $50 for a slim academic paperback no longer startles me at all--not even from University presses.

    To look at prices in a softish field like economics, I suggest you drop through Springer's econ catalog:

    http://www.springer.com/west/home/ec...ID=4-165-0-0-0

    For those who don't want to jump over there, the site lists eight economics books. Prices? 1 at $74.95, 1 at $89.95, 3 at $99.00, 2 at $109.00, and 1 at $199.00.

    Things are cheaper over in psychology--their four featured books are all hardcovers at $39.95, $69.95, and two at $79.95. Bargains. Of course, that $39.95 book is listed as only 126 pages...

    Other issues may be worth looking into, but the complaints about pricing are way off the mark. These prices may be insanely high, but they are also insanely common.
    Last edited by UrsusMinor; 11-14-2006 at 02:15 AM.

  12. #12
    I've seen worse. SuperModerator ColoradoGuy's Avatar
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    Medical books are usually written by authors first contacted by academic presses. This is particularly so with the large, co-authored books in which, although the principal author writes a big chunk of it, his or her main job is to round up folks to write individual chapters. Such books are also very expensive, often $150-$250 a pop.
    "Think this through with me, let me know your mind.
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  13. #13
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    My prized Color Encyclopedia of Emergency Medicine ran me $350. A friend of mine (who wrote a book on lupus) was approached by the publisher (and I know of fiction publishers who have approached authors (say, a well-regarded short story writer) to ask if they've got a novel. But be that as it may -- I think the OP was looking for something with a bit broader distribution than any academic press offers. Perhaps John Wiley & Sons?

  14. #14
    ttan
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    Of course, I can tell you which wholesalers carry our books. Yankee Book Peddler, Blackwell, Baker and Taylor, Ingram, and many other distributors carry our books. You will also find them online at amazon.com, bn.com, etc.

    The comparison matrix you refer to is a good representation of differing programs in general. It illustrates different academic publishing orientations and the philosophy of Cambria Press which is to offer a superior publishing experience for our authors. This matrix was compiled with the feedback of authors who published scholarly monographs with such presses. There is no misinformation at all.

    Our books require peer review. Sometimes publishers receive manuscripts which have already passed peer review at other publishers, which have ceased operations. In these cases, we may accept the peer reviews of other publishers and have done so on occasion. Public reviews of our books are plainly listed on our website and include the name, title, and affiliation of the reviewer. Like most academic publishers, we conduct blind peer reviews which are important for tenure and promotion committees in academia.

    Our prices are lower than those of many––if not most––of the non-subsidy academic presses that serve the scholarly market; we are completely non-subsidy 100% (no book purchases either). You compare our prices with University of Massachusetts Amherst Press and claim that our prices are higher (even outrageous). Please refer to the prices of their library hardcover books and you will see that they are comparable to ours. http://www.umass.edu/umpress/spr_06/peck.html

    Please understand that the academic market is highly specialized and very different from the trade market. The Times Literary Supplement is generally not the best review channel for our books given their highly scholarly nature. The most important reviews for our authors’ books are by academic journals and other scholars. We actively seek out journals to review our books, and our authors are strongly encouraged to add to the list of journals we already have for the review of their books. To suggest that this is an area that we overlook is untrue. Editors from the Horn of Africa Journal, Journal of Advertising, Sicilia Parra, and national organizations such as the National Italian American Foundation have praised our books. Our books are also announced in highly regarded and leading academic library journals such as Choice, the journal by the American Library Association.

    We work extremely hard with our authors and invest significantly in their work. Our authors, who are top scholars in their field, know this for a fact and have attested to this. To question the integrity of our press is to question the integrity of our authors’ works. Our authors are outstanding, diligent scholars who have produced excellent works that are a major contribution to the academic community. We stand firmly behind them and their books.

    Toni Tan
    Director
    Cambria Press

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts and feedback. I really appreciate the time everyone has taken to air questions, opinions, responsess. It is most useful for a new author like myself!

    If anyone has further thoughts or suggestions for me, please feel free to post them or email me directly!

    Peace,
    Yael

  16. #16
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I asked my stepmother, a university professor and well-published scholar, to visit Cambria's website and give me her opinion. Here's what she had to say.

    "Looks strange to me, though their statement explicitly says they do NOT take money from authors etc. But the way they stress the PhD etc. is weird -- most academic presses don't need to establish their credentials. Of course, I see they've only lately started publishing (judging by the dates, most of them in the next few months, of most of the books on their site), so who knows? All the testimonials also look strange to me (and I recognized no one among their authors, but then they're not mostly in fields I work in), but, again, a fledgling press might need to do this.

    In their mission statement they say they publish for libraries and classroom use. That seems strange too and makes me wonder if it's a kind of print-on-demand operation, or has tiny, tiny print runs. I.e., no word about reviews/ scholarly community, etc. But again, they DO say in absolutely clear terms they depend entirely on peer-review. BUT this isn't even normally said by serious presses because everyone KNOWS that's the way they're supposed to function.

    In short, everything about the site sounds defensive/superfluous, but MIGHt make sense if they just started operating and nobody knows about them. . . . "

    - Victoria

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi all,
    I just wanted to let you know I spoke with Toni Tan of Cambria Press today and she was very supportive. After reviewing my dissertation she expressed interest on behalf of Cambria Press but encouraged me to follow my heart and pursue academic/trade publishers to reach a trade audience.
    I wanted to make sure to leave this thread with a positive taste in the mouth. Though I don't have experience publishing with Cambria, my personal experience with them has been very positive, and I have found them to be very honest and up-front about what they do (academic publishing) and what they don't do.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts and advice.
    Peace,
    Yael

  18. #18
    cormac
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    Cambria Press is First Class

    As an author of a book published by Cambria Press, I feel a need to respond to some of the negative innuendos posted here. My experience with Cambria Press has been 100% positive. They did everything they said they would do. I did not pay any fees, subsidies, or anything else. Royalties were paid on time. There are some evil publishing houses out there, but Cambria Press is NOT one of them.

    Ken McCormick
    Last edited by cormac; 09-10-2007 at 05:55 PM.

  19. #19
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Actually, sending an unsolicited email to someone to promote your services is the very definition of spam, Toni (in fact, under EU law it's termed "soft spam"). It's not spam if yael contacts you to ask for information about your company and you respond to the same.



    That sounds to me like you don't actually have a concrete distribution system in place because it reads as though you don't have an automatic wholesale chain up and running.



    How do you reach these decision makers? Do you have an established network or is it done on a case-by-case basis?

    How do you organise peer reviews? What are the credentials of your reviewers? How do you select them?

    MM
    Ummmm I think you're making up a rather odd definition of spam. I don't think this is most people's understanding of the term, at any rate. I certainly don't think that when I send an unsolicited submission to a publication it should be considered spam, but according to your definition it would

    And I know of authors who were contacted by publishers who had seen their work in some venue. I assure they did not consider that spam.

    I went to the trouble to look up this term that is so freely thrown around: To indiscriminately send unsolicited, unwanted, irrelevant, or inappropriate messages, especially commercial advertising in mass quantities.

    I don't know a thing about the publishing company, and I'm neither defending them nor saying anything about their acts. But to say that any and all email that is unsolicited should be called spam is, in my mind, a bit absurd.

  20. #20
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    J. R. Tomlin:
    I certainly don't think that when I send an unsolicited submission to a publication it should be considered spam, but according to your definition it would
    What I said was (bolding added):

    sending an unsolicited email to someone to promote your services is the very definition of spam, Toni (in fact, under EU law it's termed "soft spam")
    If you sent an unsolicited submission (i.e. a manuscript or short story) to a publication, then that would not fall within the legal definition. If however you sent an email to a publication on behalf of BODCO Limited to inform the of BODCO Limited's services, and the publication had not requested such information or indicated that it would be receptive to receiving such information, then under European legislation that would constitute "soft spam". I'm happy to discuss the legalities of spam and EU legislation privately if you or anyone else wishes.

    MM

  21. #21
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    My writing results in a product which I am promoting. You think I'm not trying to sell something when I send that ms off? I quite definitely am.

    I assure you that the spam laws do not apply only to services but also to products.

    You seem knowledgeable on the subject, but are taking a deliberately narrow view. I assure you that the millions of emails sent out on a daily basis for viagra are spam, in spite of not being for a service.

    However, this is rather off-topic, so I'll now let the subject drop having made it quite clear that I believe that you are incorrect.

    Edit: Ok, I can't resist-- Not all emails regarding services are spam either. I assure as well that if Tor sees one of my marvelous short stories and solicits me to send them a ms, I will not report them for spam. *snorts with laughter*
    Last edited by J. R. Tomlin; 09-08-2007 at 09:49 PM.

  22. #22
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    My writing results in a product which I am promoting. You think I'm not trying to sell something when I send that ms off?
    EU legislation generally applies in relation to businesses, for which there is a set definition. In any event, a submission to a publication would fall within the exception to spam legislation on the basis that publications solicit manuscripts to be sent to them, i.e. it is a scope of business exception.

    You seem knowledgeable on the subject, but are taking a deliberately narrow view.
    I should be knowledgeable given that I'm a lawyer and I've practiced in that particular area. I think you're being deliberately obtuse in your reading of my comments. I quoted myself from a response to a previous poster where the context of the discussion was in relation to services. I am not implying that spam legislation would only apply to advertising services as that is plainly absurd - spam relating to products or services would fall to be covered under EU Directives.

    I believe that you are incorrect.
    I'd be happy to explain to you in full depth and with citations as to why I am correct in private correspondence - I'm sure we could come to a fee arrangement in return for my professional advice.

    Now, to bring this back on topic:

    cormac:
    Their royalty rates are generous (15%, rising to 20%) and they paid me the royalties I earned on time.
    Hi, cormac and welcome to AW. Can I ask what sort of sales you're seeing for your book (ball-park figures rather than exact) and what sort of promotion's been done for your book.

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 09-08-2007 at 11:33 PM.

  23. #23
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I am, in my real life, involved in writing academic works as are others in this thread. IMHO an academic press more than an other sort should be used to being questioned and seeing questioning as a necessary and constructive method of learning. "To question the integrity of our press is to question the integrity of our authors’ works" it simply defensive and more than anything would make me very concerned about the degree to which the press itself (c.f. the authors) is 'academic' and has academic goals and methods rather than the usual small press model. People can beat the hell out of my press without me thinking it has anything to do with me as a writer.

    As for the price comparisons--reference books are wildly over-priced because the market will bear it. Other non-fiction tends to be a lower price because of lower demand but then it shoots up again for niche materials--there is a very wide range. I have paid well over Cambria's prices for specialist material so it comes down to whether there is a market and how to maximise profit from it.
    Last edited by veinglory; 09-09-2007 at 12:37 AM.
    Emily Veinglory

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