Last week, I spent a very pleasant evening at one of the surviving medieval churches in the City of London – the foundations of St Giles Cripplegate go back at least one thousand years, although most of the present building dates to 1304, via several restorations. The occasion was the launch of Breakable by Sue Julians, one woman’s account of everyday life in pandemic London during 2020 and 2021. I should declare an interest, as the author of a Foreword, but it is a remarkable book and merits a wide readership…
…I wonder whether this is the real future of the academic monograph. Can we imagine an ecosystem where individual academics, possibly helped by entrepreneurial intermediaries, sidestep the overheads of the big presses – commercial or university – to publish and market their own work? Is this the way to break the apparently iron laws of scale that bring short-run monographs to market at prices in excess of 100 dollars, pounds or euros, guaranteeing that the sales volume will always struggle to cover the fixed costs. Sue’s book is not an academic one, and does not pretend to be, although it should be read by any social scientist or policymaker concerned about the impact of ill-thought out and poorly-evidenced mass interventions. However, I, for one, shall also be watching its commercial fate with considerable interest.
Sue Julians, Breakable, London, New Generation Publishing, 2023. ISBN 978-1803697420 Available in hardback, paperback and various e-formats.
A Social Science Space blog