‘Bite-sized’ reading from SUP

Harvey, the press' deputy director and editor-in-chief, has been named as the new director, effective July 1.

Our reading life is increasingly onscreen nowadays – and the demand is growing for texts that are faster and shorter, “bite-sized.” Stanford University Press has responded with a digital imprint called “Stanford Briefs.”  The short e-originals – about 20,000 to 40,000 words – will focus on a variety of academic topics.

The first, The Physics of Business Growth by Edward D. Hess and Jeanne Liedtka, will be available this week for $9.99.  According to ALAN HARVEY, incoming director of the press, it is “crisp and keenly focused on approaches for business readers to grasp and implement.”

Stanford Briefs will be available through all major e-book sellers, as well as on the press’ website, www.sup.org. The press also will offer print-on-demand trade paperbacks.

“There’s an underlying philosophy for the briefs here at the press,” said Harvey.  “They’ll be accessible but not simplified, and should be digestible in one or two sessions – bite-sized – and not require a month of reading. In philosophy and literature, I anticipate the books having more parallels to the traditional essay format.

“Stanford has long had its eye on the marketplace for new electronic offerings. We were just waiting for the right concept to inspire us.”

Future titles include Moving Forward: Understanding U.S. Health Care Under the Affordable Care Act and Working The System: How to Resolve Organizational Quandaries by Engaging Systems Thinking. The press is considering other briefs in the areas of humanities, security studies, Asian and Middle East studies and political science.

“We’ve got our second brief coming in for peer review in a couple of weeks,” said Harvey. “We have two or three more manuscripts due this summer, and are fielding proposals from authors for more.”

“We’d initially thought six to eight per year would suffice, but we’ll expand as far as needed. If there are 20 excellent projects, we’ll take them on.”


— BY CYNTHIA HAVEN, Stanford University Libraries