Many researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences find it very difficult these days to get a book published in the traditional way. Commercial publishers will only accept books that they think will sell in reasonable numbers to make it a commercially viable proposition to publish them and most scholarly books do not promise that sort of market.
Open Access monograph publishing is gaining ground and is a way to resolve this issue for would-be book authors. Books published in Open Access are also likely to win a bigger readership than traditional books: moreover, evidence suggests that the increased visibility of an Open Access books in turn increases its sales. For more on Open Access books in general, see here.
So how can you go about getting your book published in Open Access? There are three main avenues:
- publish in the conventional way, with a traditional publisher who sells your book through bookshops and online booksellers, but self-archive the book (the most practical way is to self-archive it in individual chapters) in your institutional repository (or in a subject-based Open Access repository). This provides the book with all the increased visibility that Open Access can bring and drives readers to your work. Not all publishers permit this practice but a growing number do, especially the ‘new breed’ of university presses. Some commercial publishers also permit self-archiving of monographs because of the increased visibility it provides, and the resulting chance of increased sales
- Publish with a book publisher that self-archives your work for you in a suitable Open Access repository. Again, university presses are most likely to take this enlightened approach. Amsterdam University Press, for example, rents space on the Amsterdam university institutional repository and deposits the electronic version of books it publishes there with Open Access for all.
- Use an Open Access book publisher. These are as yet few in number but such publishers have found bsuiness models that enable them to publish books online for free and cover all their costs by means otehr than book sales. Interstignly, this model is now being applied to text book publishing. See the new imprint Bookboon, from the Danish book publisher, Ventus. This imprint publishes Open Access books written by scholars at European universities