Online supporters of the University of Missouri Press are gaining members from around the world and asking the University of Missouri’s president to save the press.
“Save the University of Missouri Press” is a Facebook group that’s part of a movement to keep the press alive. The page has almost 15-hundred subscribers; one of them is Ned Stuckey-French. He’s the site’s co-administrator and author who has been published by the U-M press. Stuckey-French even created an online petition, that’s rapidly gained signatures, breaking the one-thousand mark in less than two days: “If you look at it probably now or in an hour I bet the goal is 15-hundred…it just keeps going. Just with this Facebook site we had no idea the response would be this heartfelt and massive. I don’t know how far it will go.”
U-M president, Tim Wolfe announced the closing of the press last month but also said the administration was working on finding a new sustainable plan for publishing academic works digitally. The suggested model would use interns, which the Missouri Press has previously used. Details are still being considered, but advocates say they will not stop until they get an effective solution. Creator of the “Save the UM Press” Facebook page, Bruce Miller has worked with university presses for over thirty-years and has doubts about Wolfe’s new model: “All this talk about a new model is really a cover, again, for the fact that they don’t have a plan and for a fact that they really wanted to do away with the press. A new model is not firing all ten people who work there and then doing something like the Missouri Review.”
Miller says university presses shouldn’t be expected to make a lot of money because they publish books that don’t typically sell in large quantities. However, supporters say the University of Missouri Press was expected to do better financially this year than in the past.