The academic and technical publishing
landscape has changed significantly over
the past decade. Following a period of
massive consolidation in the scientific,
technical, and medical publishing industry, there are now only a handful of
commercial houses publishing computer science research, and their attention to computer science books, and in
particular to graduate textbooks and
research monographs where sales are
modest compared to the undergraduate market, has dwindled. There are
certainly exceptions, and university
presses have filled some of the gap, but
in today’s environment it is entirely accurate to say a considerable vacuum
exists in scholarly computer science
book publishing. As a result, ACM has
decided to play a significant role in filling some of this void by launching a new
book program called ACM Books that
will enhance its already rich journal and
conference publication portfolio. We
will begin publishing books in 2014.
ACM Books will fill a unique space
in the publishing domain by including
books from across the entire spectrum
of computer science subject matter.
The series will initially focus on four
kinds of books: graduate-level textbooks, deep research monographs that
provide an overview of established and
emerging fields, practitioner-level professional books, and books devoted to
the history and social impact of computing. This publishing program will
address the information needs of various members of the computing community, including researchers, practitioners, educators, and students. Our
books will also expose the rich history
of computing and the substantial global impact this field commands.
ACM Books will be published in
both digital and print formats. The
digital formats will include down-loadable PDFs and reflowable ebook
formats, such as EPUB, Kindle, and
HTML. The print volumes will utilize
the most cutting-edge, digital print-on-demand technology available.
For many future readers, the ACM
Digital Library will be the primary
channel from which to search, browse,
and download complete copies or
individual chapters of ACM Books.
Libraries and library consortia worldwide will make buying decisions on
behalf of their faculty and students;
corporate libraries on behalf of their
employees; and end users will have
“unrestricted” and “essentially” free
access to these books as a result. Pricing for institutions will be made affordable by ACM, in keeping with our
long-standing tradition and non-profit
approach to selling the ACM DL.
For professional and student members, the series will be available at a low
“add-on” price to their current ACM
Membership ($29 annually for professionals and $10 annually for students).
For all other individuals interested in
purchasing single print or digital copies, there will be an option to do so
through leading booksellers, such as
Amazon and B&N.com.
To accelerate our development of
ACM Books, ACM is partnering with
respected book publisher Morgan &
Claypool. Many in the computing community will be familiar with the San
Francisco-based M&C as a result of their
highly successful series in computing
called the “Synthesis Lectures,” which
publishes concise volumes across a
range of computer science subjects.
There are two questions I am often
asked when I talk to colleagues about
the new series. The first relates to a
book program ACM had in the 1990s
called ACM Press, which was subse-
quently discontinued. Why, they ask,
do we expect the new series to be a
success when this earlier effort had
failed? There are a number of answers
to this question. Most important, as I
noted, is the changing academic and
publishing landscape. We are in a very
different world now in terms of the
number of players, publishing plat-
forms, and related models for publi-
cation. Today, ACM is in a far better
position to succeed in a digital world
than we ever were in an analog world,
which is in large part due to our posi-
tioning of the ACM DL, the increasing
international profile of ACM’s mem-
bership, and the revitalized opportu-
nities in the scholarly book market.
The second question asked is how
ACM Books is positioned with respect
to M&C’s Synthesis Lectures, NOW
Publishers’ Foundations & Trends series, or Springer Briefs. These publications have gained significant favor
among the community in recent years.
We are positioning ACM Books to complement these other products so that
we enrich the computing publication
ecosystem rather than constrain it.
However, there are several important
differences. Our primary objective is
to serve our members and the computing community. This orientation will
profoundly impact and determine our
publishing program. Second, there is
a difference in the nature of the books
themselves, in length and breadth.
These other publishers offer monographs or papers that range about
75–125 pages. ACM Books will present
topics in far greater depth and detail.
Third, and perhaps most importantly,
there will be a difference in coverage.
Rather than focus on narrow topics as
these other series do, ACM Books will
target topics more broadly and address
areas not covered elsewhere.
We are currently in the process of
forming the editorial board, establishing publishing guidelines and
styles, and setting up a Web presence for the series. We are contacting
ACM SIGSs for their input and their
assistance in finding qualified area
editors. By the time you read this, our
website should be up and running at
http://books.acm.org. I look forward
to getting your input about any aspect
of this program; please write to me at
M. Tamer Özsu, a professor in the david r. Cheriton
school of Computer science at the university of waterloo,
is the editor-in-chief of aCm books.
Copyright help by owners/author(s).
acm Books to Launch
DOI: 10.1145/2541106 M. Tamer Özsu