Half a million downloads of free Uni of Adelaide books
Friday, 19 June 2015
A unique publishing strategy offering academic books online for free is proving a success for the University of Adelaide Press, which is now celebrating half a million downloads of its titles.
University of Adelaide Press was established in 2009 to publish high-quality books, helping to raise awareness of the breadth and depth of research being conducted by the University’s academics.
What the Press chose to do differently compared with other University-based publishers is to make its books freely available to download, as well as giving readers the opportunity to purchase a printed copy.
As of this week, University of Adelaide Press has clocked up more than 503,000 downloads of its 47 book titles.
“We’re extremely pleased with the interest in our books,” says the Director of University of Adelaide Press, Dr John Emerson.
"We went with a free online publishing model because our ultimate aim was to raise the profile of the world-class research being conducted by our academics. And these download numbers help to bear that out, especially when you consider that in a traditional academic publishing model, very few people would really get to read that work.”
The most prolific author and the biggest champion for the University of Adelaide Press is Professor Kym Anderson AC, whose 10 titles, including three on wine economics, have collectively accounted for more than 117,000 of those downloads around the world.
One of his ebooks, the 700-page Which Winegrape Varieties are Grown Where?, has just been awarded first prize in the digital wine publication category at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in China. It also won the International Organization of Vine and Wine’s 2014 Prize for the world’s best viticulture book.
“Making a book freely available online not only ensures very prompt publishing but also leads to huge and rapid distribution,” says Professor Anderson, who is George Gollin Professor of Economics at the University.
“Within just a couple of months of being published, Which Winegrape Varieties are Grown Where? had been downloaded 10,000 times. It has now passed 36,000 downloads. Had the book been commercially published only in hardcover form, it would have been priced at more than $100 and may have sold just a few hundred copies in the first year.
“Clearly if we spend tens of thousands of dollars on a research project, we should do our best to share our findings with the community. University of Adelaide Press’ free online book format can do that far more effectively than a hardcover format,” Professor Anderson says.
More information about University of Adelaide Press can be found at: www.adelaide.edu.au/press
Director, University of Adelaide Press
The University of Adelaide
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Mr David Ellis
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The University of Adelaide
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