University press, AAUP in North America

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A university press is an academic publishing house specializing in academic monographs and scholarly journals. Most are nonprofit and an integral component of a large research university. They publish work that has been reviewed by scholars in the field. They produce mainly scholarly works, but also often have "popular" titles designed to reach their target audience, such as books on religion or on regional topics. Because scholarly books are mostly unprofitable, university presses may also publish textbooks and reference works, which tend to have larger audiences and sell more copies. Most university presses operate at a loss and are subsidized by their owners; others are required to break even. In China, university presses are profit-making institutions for their academ


In 2008, the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) has 125 member presses, of which 95 were operated by universities. Growth has been sporadic, with 14 presses established in the 1940s, 11 in the 1950s; and 19 in the 1960. Since 1970, 16 universities have opened presses and several have closed. Today, the largest university press in the United States is the University of Chicago Press. University presses tend to develop specialized areas of expertise, such as regional studies. For instance, Yale publishes many art books, the Chicago, Duke and Indiana publish many academic journals, the University of Illinois press specializes in labor history, and MIT Press publishes linguistics and architecture titles.

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