Vanity Publishing for Academics
Vanity publishing is for those who want to get their book published (or poem) and who are prepared to pay for it, rather than wait for a publisher to pick it up. Poetry, for instance, is notoriously difficult to get published. And many fiction writers have also found it hard to gain a publisher.
With the advent of computers, the internet and printers, the trade of Vanity Publisher has taken off. These publishers may run competitions, especially for poetry, where you enter a poem and are then told that your poem is so good, they would like to include it in their next anthology. You are then given the opportunity to buy copies of the anthology containing your work. Of course, the publishers make good money this way, otherwise they would not do it. Some people have even deliberately written rubbish poetry and had it published. A friend proudly presented me with a copy of an anthology containing her poem and a work colleague shyly confided that his poem had been accepted for publication.
Of course, the latest self publishing outlet is Kindle and similar on line publisher options. You can write your book then upload it for sale there. It doesn't matter how good or bad your book is, it can be made available for people to read. Now there are some VERY good books on Kindle, I have downloaded and read them, there are also some that should not be there.
Academic Vanity Publishing
The latest twist on this came through on a Twitter feed. referencing an article in the Guardian newspaper http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2015/sep/04/academics-are-being-hoodwinked-into-writing-books-nobody-can-buy?CMP=share_btn_tw
An academic was writing about a call she got from a publisher, asking her to write a book on her subject. That sounds really exciting, getting asked to write a book for publication, especially in your own field. BUT, with some digging, she found that (a) the books are bought almost exclusively by University Libraries, with about 300 sales (b) they are very expensive from about £80 to £200. ($120 to $300) and no cheaper paperback version is produced. (c) More copies are produced and sold ONLY if the author makes it a recommended book for their own course, which some academics do, quite reasonably if they find that no available book covers the subject matter they teach. (d) the caller expected to get about 75 writers producing books for him each year. (e) There were more commissioning editors seeking academics than just this caller. The writer calculated that each commissioning editor was probably worth about £1.8m in sales each year, about $2.7m.
As the author pointed out, the research on which these books are written is paid for by public funds, as are the researcher's salaries and yet the books probably sit unread in a university library until they are chucked out and the public in general do not have access to these libraries unless they have a University library card. In Northern Ireland, you have to be a graduate of the university and pay an annual fee to access the university library.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/book-reading-pages-open-plain-147086/ by OpenClipartVectors