Logan Lounge

A Collective Blog for Current and Former Members (and Friends!) of the History and Sociology of Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I left my heart at MIT Press

I had breakfast this morning with an editor at MIT Press. It was an interesting time, in part because it highlighted something I never really paid much attention to: I've been a serious consumer of MIT books for some 20 years. In graduate school, I had to read a lot their science studies and history of technology books: you couldn't have an STS course syllabus without something from the Inside Technology series. Then, I went through a phase of consuming their architectural history list. More recently it's been their computer science and design books-- mainly the trade books, but a few of the more technical ones as well.

Still, when the question came up of whether I'd think about sending a proposal for the end of cyberspace book to them, I thought: yeah, the computer science and design side would be a good fit, but my loyalty is still with the STS list.

I doubt I could say such a thing about many presses. Do university presses realize that readers have these kinds of relationships with their products? That the formative experiences that scholars have with their books translates into something more than just recognition of the logo when it's spotted on a book jacket? And do they try to do anything with that?

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