Faculty Members Launch Publishing Company

SOCORRO, N.M. April 7, 2011– New Mexico Tech professors officially have launched a new publishing house under the name of the university.

Retired computer science professor Dr. Allan Stavely recently published “Writing in Software Development,” which he hopes will find a home in college classrooms.
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Dr. Allan Stavely with a copy of his textbook, "Writing in Software Development," which is the first book published by the New Mexico Tech Press.

The non-profit corporation is separate from the university. The university Board of Regents gave its blessing to the faculty group to use the New Mexico Tech name in 2010. Stavely’s book is the first to bear the “New Mexico Tech Press” imprint.

“First of all, we thought, Tech is a substantial university — it should have a press just on principle,” said Allan Stavely, president of the volunteer board. “And all sorts of professors write materials for their own courses, notes that they turn into books. That’s how my first book started out.”

Stavely and fellow board members for the Press expect to publish more texts written by Tech professors in coming months. Next up for publication are a physics text and an English composition text. Dr. Dave Raymond has been using his own texts, “A Radically Modern Approach to Introductory Physics, Volume I and II” at Tech for many years. The NMT Press will publish Volume I later this year and hopes to publish Volume II subsequently. The English text is by Dr. Susan Dunston, associate professor of English and philosophy.

Stavely said the idea to start an independent publishing house germinated when he was looking for a publisher for his recent book, which is his second.

“I had previously published with Addison Wesley – not a huge number sold, but it sold out,” Stavely said. “I sent them a second book and they weren’t interested, even though it was of more general interest than the first. It seems that publishers only want books that sell tens or hundreds of thousands.”

Consolidations within the publishing industry have reduced the opportunities for writers, as well, Stavely said.

“It’s getting harder and harder to get books published,” he said. “There’s competition from e-books and other media. The publishing world doesn’t look like it did 10 years ago.”

The NMT Press will take advantage of printing services on campus at the Information Services Department, or ISD. The print shop will be able to produce texts on demand, one at a time, if needed.

With prices for text books soaring into the hundreds of dollars per book, Tech students will see some savings as more texts are published by NMT Press. Stavely’s new text, for example, is selling for $28.95.

Stavely hopes on-demand printing will allow the NMT Press to develop a niche for specialized texts.

“Faculty members write texts for their courses that are too specialized for textbook publishers to be interested in,” Stavely said.

For instance, Dunston’s book is too short for a typical publishing company, but not too short for the NMT Press’s capabilities, Stavely said.

The NMT Press will have an editorial board to vet each submitted publication and will operate with volunteer labor. The Press recently hired one part-time student employee and hopes employ more students interested in the field of academic publishing, writing and editing in the future.

Stavely said NMT Press could branch out into publishing conference proceedings, collections of academic papers, monographs and other pieces.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech