While recession has ruffled the pages of many university presses, some of which are reporting losses of up to 20 percent, Georgetown University Press is boasting three percent higher sales than last year after only six months into their fiscal year.

“While I wouldn’t characterize our sales as earth-shattering or spectacular, I would say they are strong,” GUP Director Richard Brown said. “I can’t predict where things will stand in 10 or 20 years, of course, but the financial health of the press suggests that we’ll be around for a long, long time.”

Georgetown is one of the few university presses that operates independent of a subsidy from its parent institution, Brown said. He added that the press’ subsidy was withdrawn five years ago, and since then, it has enjoyed profits every year.

“[That is] something that is almost unheard of in university press circles,” Brown said.

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that university publishing companies across the country are battling low sales and proposed budget cuts. In a survey conducted by The Association of American University Presses, sales on average are nearly 10 percent lower than in 2007. The Princeton University Press and University of California Press are reporting declines in sales of 5 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

“Some presses have felt a hard pinch. Several directors use euphemisms like `disappointing’ to describe sales figures that are worse than they will acknowledge in public,” Jennifer Howard of The Chronicle reported. “But others are having decent, even good years, as tightly focused or broadly appealing lists keep them in the black.”

Brown credits the success of the press to careful choices of material, an exceptional staff and some good old-fashioned luck.

“[GUP has] really focused publishing lists on . bioethics, international affairs, foreign language instruction, political science and religion [and] ethics,” he said.

According to Brown, the press also focuses on course materials, which remains a relatively stable market. The press’ Al-Kitaab line is now the best-selling Arabic learning series in the nation. It is not only used by many universities, Brown said, but has also recently been adopted by the U.S. government for its language instruction classes. Brown added that a Spanish grammar book published by the press, “Gramatica Para la Composicion,” is another book that has done exceptionally well in these tough times.

The university is well-known for its preeminence in international affairs publications, Brown said, and these texts, especially ones focusing on security studies and intelligence analysis, have also consistently shown strong sales.

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