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University Press of New England to close after 50 years

After being founded almost half a century ago, the University Press of New England (UPNE) will close at the end of the calendar year due to financial instability, according to an article from Publishers Weekly.

UPNE is a publisher that publishes for scholars, educators, students and the general public. It publishes about 60 works and distributes about 140 annually, according to the UPNE website.

The University of Chicago Press and Chicago Distribution Center will now distribute UPNE’s backlist with eight former UPNE partner presses, Dartmouth College Press and Brandeis University Press. UPNE, based in Lebanon, New Hampshire, has 25 different employees and distributes books to both Dartmouth College and Brandeis.

The news came in early April 2018, when Phil Hanlon, the president of Dartmouth, issued a statement that the press had become unsustainable. He ensured that “this decision was not made quickly or easily.” This was also during the same time there were concerns over the University Press of Kentucky, which is supported by both public and private schools in Kentucky.

Governor Matt Bevin (R-KY), had proposed eliminating state support for the press at the beginning of the calendar year. When the state budget was adopted by the General Assembly in April, there was no funding for the press. Negotiations are still going on and the University of Kentucky is working with other institutions to find ways to keep the press afloat.

In a tweet sent out by The Association of University Presses (@AUpresses) in late April, they “stand ready to work with Dartmouth and Brandeis as they chart a new course for their respective presses.”

The consortium, founded in 1970 by Dartmouth alumnus Victor Reynolds, was originally named University Press of Northern New England, given the location of schools that were involved. The name was changed to UPNE when all six New England states got involved.

According to a statement released by the Office of Communications at Dartmouth College, following the closing of UPNE, the two institutions will now function as independent institutions to print their imprints—Dartmouth College Press and Brandeis University Press. Discussion is still underway on the alternatives to secure the imprint for future years.

Diana Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Dartmouth, spoke to the VT Digger and said the Dartmouth College Press, Dartmouth’s imprint, will be preserved in a form based on the recommendation by a faculty study group. The group will “take a step back to re-envision that press before we pursue any new infrastructure or partnerships,” Lawrence told the VT Digger.

Matthew Sheehy, the university librarian at Brandeis, told Publishing Weekly that “we have been talking to potential partners and are excited by the prospects of continuing to support the scholarship and perhaps even grow the program.”

Provost Lisa Lynch also stated in the article that the agreement “will provide visibility to our university’s outstanding publishing program and authors worldwide.” She also stated that the university is looking to hire a new director for the Brandeis University Press.

Redwing Meadow Book Services, launched by Douglas Tifft and Ann Brash, is an editorial, design and production company that has created contracts with Wesleyan University Press and Brandeis University Press to start production. Wesleyan University Press also signed a fulfillment agreement with Hopkins Fulfillment Services, that Northeastern University Press also signed with.

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