Randy Martin's new book, Under New Management: Universities, Administrative Labor, and the Professional Turn looks like an important contribution to the debate about the changing nature of higher ed.
Reading Serena Golden's interview with the author on IHE (9/2/11) made it clear that Martin has some challenging and smart things to say about trends in the purpose, organization, governance and place in society of post-secondary education. This seems like a book that I want to read, and perhaps recommend others in my community to read and discuss.
Then I went to Amazon and saw that the book is priced at $69.50. No e-book version is yet available, but the Temple University Press also lists the book at $69.50.
Which makes me wonder, who is going to buy this book? Yes, I think university libraries should all have a copy. But what individuals interested in this conversation are going to shell out 70 bucks?
My guess is that the author is not planning on paying his kids' college tuition with the proceeds of Under New Management. He probably wants the book to be as widely read as possible, so the ideas and arguments circulate. Getting some traction in the ideaosphere (did I just coin a word? - aahh..Google say no) is the best most of us can hope for. Maybe some speaking invitations (usually unpaid, but who knows?), an interview for a podcast or two. Time with Oprah (just kidding). We expect to pay the mortgage with our day jobs.
This is not an original question, but I'd like to know the answer. Why doesn't Temple University Press release Under New Management solely as an e-book? Are editorial expenses really that high?
Maybe even get Amazon or B&N to do some good-in-the-world, and underwrite the editorial and copyediting process of university presses.
Get more books like Under New Management in circulation, and drop the price low enough so that lots of people buy the books.