Saturday, April 11, 2015

New and recent books watch: UTP

 (Posts to follow will look at other presses.)

In The End of the Charter Revolution,(published in December 2014) Peter McCormick means, I think, that the revolution, not the Charter, is over.The idea that the charter, and interpretation of it by the Supreme Court of Canada, are fundamental to the politics of Canada has become the new normal.  Get over it, he seems to say to court critics who fume that the Supreme Court thinks the constitution is what they say it is. 'Cause it is what they say it is.

In More than Just Games (April 2015) Richard Menkis and Harold Troper look at Canadian participation and the intersection of politics and sport in the Berlin Olympics of 1936.

Donald Wright's Donald Creighton: A Life in History launches next month.

Veronica Strong-Boag's Liberal Hearts and Coronets (February 2015)is said to be the first book to take John Gordon as seriously as his better known spouse, Ishbel Marjoribanks Gordon. Not knowing much about her either, mea culpa, I'm prepared to believe. Just to complicate things, John King Gordon, who is not the same guy, gets his own biography in Keith Fleming's The World is Our Parish (also February 2015).

And many more, that you can browse from here.

At the UTP blog, Linda Morra, author of Unarrested Archives, studies of the papers of several Canadian women writers, reflects on being a "dirty girl."  I've often been amused by highlighting uses of the journalist's cliche "poring [sometimes "pouring"] over dusty archives," and pointing out that most archives are clean, well-lit places, and dust is not a large part of the experience.  Maybe I will back off a bit.  Morra works a lot with "informal" archives, where dirt is real and serious, and even in the official ones, she observes, dust is part of the job.  She goes on to muse about dishing the dirt, getting down and dirty, and other metaphorically dirt-related aspects of doing archival research on marginalized subject.

Also an oddity. The U of T Press online catalogue and store offers A History of Canadian Legal Thought, a collection of essays in legal history by RCB Risk, published in hardcover back in 2006 for $56.  But the ebook version was published in February 2015... and it costs $80.  Howwzat?

Okay $56 is a discounted online price for the prnt book -- presumably because with the ebook available, UTP wants to reduce its warehousing costs on what remains of the print edition. But there will be no warehousing costs, ever, for the ebook edition, and it won't cost anything to ship the ebook to you. Doubtless there have been some costs in creating the digital text, but are press overheads such that an ebook commands such a premium over the print edition?  I guess so... but it doesn't make scholarly ebooks an easy sell, I would think.

Update, April 23:  Stephen Shapiro of UTP explains:
I saw the comment on your blog about the pricing of A History of Canadian Legal Thought, and wanted to explain why there was a discrepancy between the hardcover and ebook price. UTP is in the middle of a big push to make more of our backlist available as ebooks. We made around 200 titles available as e books in February, including A History of Canadian Legal Thought, and will be continuing to add more ebooks throughout the rest of the year. Unfortunately, we are still in the process of updating the discounts on our website for all those new additions, and as well as for many of our other ebooks. Once we are done, they will all have a 30% discount on the website. Unfortunately, right now many are still only available at list price.

That’s why, for the moment, the cloth edition of A History of Canadian Legal Thought is cheaper than the ebook.
Get 'em while you can, then.

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