Academic and Professional Publishing: A Look at the Other Side

If trade books are everything you love about books, the opposite goes for academic and professional publishing.

Remember in college when you had to buy a $200 book for class and then never used it again? That is Academic Publishing. High costs due to heavy research and productions costs + trying to keep relevant with the time! (*cough this is why they have so many editions of textbooks)

Academic book publishers work with trade books indirect sale and promotion from the company that makes the books and get them to the manufacturing plants or works with companies that collaborate for mass wholesale.

All of the Big Five sell in trade book publishing, and some dabble in the others. Trade books make up the majority of books sales.

Academic Books 

These books tend to live as textbooks in schools and colleges across the country. They cost a lot more than traditional trade books because they are a smaller niche and a smaller genre with more research and authority.

These books are for elementary, middle and high school used for required reading or for classwork guidance and instruction. Pretty much any required reading in a classroom setting can be considered non-trade books. These books tend to be written with the input of industry professionals—teachers and professors—add their input. Entire schools will often buy one book on a mass scale like a 10th-grade chemistry book.

Some books that are originally sold as trade books, take Great Gatsby for example, can be sold in schools as academic book editions. If a classroom wanted to get enough copies, they could go through an academic book company. The textbook company could have their sales rep work with the trade publishers sales rep and other connections to make a deal for these specific schools.

Professional, Technical, and Reference Books

Specialized books created for field professionals. These field cover:

“accounting, medicine, psychology, computer science, architecture, etc. come from “professional publishers” that specialize in those areas. These are very authoritative and can include in-depth books on very niche areas within the subject matter or general reference materials.”

These are the books that only apply to people within a specific field of study or learning. These books tend to update said professionals on new developments, laws, studies, and advancements within the realm of their jobs.

These are books that can be so niche you would think they were on Half Price Books “We don’t know if anyone would buy this” pile, and they would give you $.001 cents for it. You would then leave after selling your tween stage Twilight books, that one copy of Illiad you never read, and a myriad of other books doubting justice in the world.

Ok, that was me angry ranting, but these books are really dull and dry and serve a purpose- one that is not pleasure but knowledge.

Take the below for example:

Cch Accounting for Income Taxes, 2018 Edition [Book]

from Wolters Kluwer, CCH/ Business / Economics · Paperback · Non-fiction · 506 page

“CCH Accounting for Income Taxes (2018) provides guidance on the application of Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Accounting Standards Codification Topic 740, Income Taxes. Now available in eBook format – download to your computer instantly. Now available in eBook format – download to your computer instantly.”

Only my attorney would read this book to go to bed at night. Anywho, I think you get the gist. I didn’t know this category existed, and find it fascinating! Imagine editing that?!  I shiver to think the thought.

I hope this overview has been helpful!

Have a great day Bookworms!


Kime J. Sims.

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