Press news

from Press News, posted 01/07/2010 - 15:36

2009 was a challenging year for all businesses, and academic publishing did not escape unscathed. At NIAS Press we have had the feeling throughout the year that we were just about holding steady - which was quite pleasing since many publishers around us were reporting drops in sales, sometimes so large that budget cuts had to follow. But you never really know until you've published your last book of the year, and until the last month has passed without any huge returns of stock from over-optimistic booksellers.

But it is now official: NIAS Press has grown sales at a very pleasing rate despite the severe general downturn. Like for like, our 2009 European sales are up by 12.4% compared to 2008, and though one last figure is still outstanding it looks like our US sales have grown by even more. Asian and Australian numbers won't arrive until later, but if they follow this trend we have every reason to be deeply satisfied with NIAS Press' performance in 2009.

The natural question to ask is why NIAS Press has grown while many other presses have struggled. The answer is almost certainly a combination of factors. Some really good books by authors we are proud and happy to be working with, a greater focus on showing our books at academic conferences around the world, this new and much improved and expanded website, and various tweaks and changes to our distribution arrangements are likely to be some of the major elements. We also like to think that our books stand out by being well edited, well produced and well priced.

The challenge will be to keep up this positive trend in 2010. We are hoping that our soon-to-be-launched e-newsletter, several very promising new book series, and a major push at the EuroSEAS conference in August will help keep us firmly on track. Happy New Year!



Happy Holidays!
from Press News, posted 12/22/2009 - 10:26

Working in Asian studies brings us into contact with a wide range of belief systems (including, of course, non-belief). Some of you will celebrate Christmas and some not, but with or without its orginial religious content Christmas does seem to have given rise to a universal, small holiday. So where-ever you are and whatever you believe, we wish you a happy and restful holiday.

NIAS Press is taking a somewhat extended break as our host institute will be closed from the 23rd of December to the 3rd of January. We will be back in the office on the 4th of January, keen and eager to get stuck into a new year!


A flood of new book reviews
from Press News, posted 12/11/2009 - 11:54

 Recently, we have been swamped with new reviews of different NIAS books. Here is a selection.

Breeds of Empire
This book is full of interest. The geographical and historical core of it may be found in the sub-title. Its chief authors, Greg Bankoff and Sandra Swart, are respectively authorities on the Philippines and Southern Africa: the former discusses the introduction of horses in the Philippines, their role in its colonial history, their impact on and adaptation to the environment; the latter the role of horses in settler South Africa and the emergence of the ‘Besotho pony’ in Lesotho.
Nicholas Tarling, New Zealand Asia Institute, in IIAS Newsletter 52, 2009

Women’s Political Participation and Representation in Asia
In his introduction to this volume, editor and contributor Kazuki Iwanaga argues that “research [on women in politics] has been done almost exclusively in advanced industrial democracies with little, if any, attention paid to Asia.” This collection of articles is an attempt to remedy that deficit. The book is ambitious, and as is often the case with edited volumes, the work presented is uneven in quality. Nonetheless, in highlighting work done by a global team of researchers, many of them natives of the countries on which they report, and ranging from investigations of female chief executives in South Asian nations to women in Chinese village politics, these collected chapters make an important contribution to the study of women and politics outside of Western Europe and the United States.
Robin M. Le Blanc, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, USA, in Pacific Affairs (Volume 82, No. 4)

Constructing Singapore
Although Barr and Skrbis have not told me anything that I did not know in broad outline, they do provide a substantial and interesting evidential base for their study and add a great deal of detail on the inner workings of Singapore’s particular ‘factory’ system of elite production and, in more culturally specific terms, the schooling of its mandarinate. I enjoyed reading what they had to say.
Professor V.T. (Terry) King, University of Leeds, in ASEASUK News 46, 2009

Proper Islamic Consumption
This volume does make an important contribution to our understanding of the responses of socially mobile, religiously committed communities to the opportunities and perils presented by modernisation. It also tells us something about the debates concerning the meanings and practices of Islam within an aggressive, globalised, secularised modernity. In Malaysia this is an especially intriguing issue because it is the Malay‐dominated state which has been crucial in generating and shaping a particular kind of modernity in order to address the problems posed for nation‐building by a quite radical form of ethnic pluralism.
Professor V.T. (Terry) King, University of Leeds, in ASEASUK News 46, 2009

Tourism in Southeast Asia
Unlike many edited books that have a cursory introduction and conclusion, the editors have made substantial contributions to this book, not only in some cases by writing individual chapters but, particularly, by providing chapters that introduce concepts, synthesise the literature, and provide a context in which country‐wide and more local case studies can be placed. Indeed, several of these chapters are worthy of attention by readers whose interests lie primarily in tourism in other regions. The references for each chapter are gathered into one bibliography at the end of the book and this is a helpful resource for, as I read the book, I came across seemingly valuable sources that I had overlooked or had not even been aware of previously. There is also an index that combines both places and concepts. The book is nicely produced, well edited and reasonably priced, at least in the paper version. The content is sound and the presentations are generally free of unnecessary jargon. While the focus is on Southeast Asia, tourism is global phenomenon with far‐reaching implications for this region as well as for the world as a whole. As such, the work merits the attention of regional specialists, tourism scholars, and all those interested in cultural change and community well‐being, regardless of discipline.
Geoffrey Wall, University of Waterloo, Canada, in ASEASUK News 46, 2009

The Sociology of Southeast Asia
This is a textbook. It does not claim to offer any new approach to our understanding of the region, whether conceptual or applied. Instead, it fills a gap in the available literature for a ‘user‐friendly’ introduction to the sociology of Southeast Asia. … There are few – if any – scholars who could have produced a text which is, at once, so forbiddingly well‐informed (the bibliography extends to 46 pages) but also gently approachable. King, in effect, takes the student or scholar by the hand and leads them through the maze of theoretical frameworks, regional differences, historical contingencies and transformational processes that comprise the region. … King says that writing this book was an ‘arduous’ process. I can’t say that it shows.
Jonathan Rigg, University of Durham, in ASEASUK News 46, 2009

Gender Politics in Asia
… an excellent introduction to the subject written in a lively and interesting manner, accessible to a general as well as an academic readership. I would strongly recommend Gender politics in Asia as a key text for anyone interested in and/or studying gender roles in Asia.
Colette Balmain, in ASEASUK News 46, 2009


New review of ‘Getting Published’
from Press News, posted 12/09/2009 - 21:47

 Steven E. Gump is a stickler for consistency and (rightly) criticizes errors that escaped the editing of Getting Published. At the same time he praises the book, even calling one part of it ‘required reading for all aspiring academic authors’. As such, he ‘recommend[s] this book for academic authors, especially those in the humanities or social sciences, wanting an insider’s view of academic book publishing in the early twenty-first century. For first-time authors, reading this book will clarify a complicated, lengthy process that is only beginning when the manuscript is finished.’

To read the review, you need to have free access to the content of the Journal of Scholarly Publishing. But read here for a fuller appreciation of this lengthy review.


Book presentation: Digital Atlas of Indonesian History
from Press News, posted 11/18/2009 - 12:02

It has been a pretty steep learning curve, but now we are at last ready to present Robert Cribb's long-awaited Digital Atlas of Indonesian History to the world!

As good luck would have it, Robert Cribb, who is based in Australia, will be visiting Denmark next week, and we have been able to persuade him to give a presentation of the book and a short lecture on "Digital maps and the historical imagination: new dimension in historical geography". This will be followed by drinks and an opportunity to chat to the author and to purchase the work. Lecture and reception will be held at our parent institution, the Nordic Institute for Asian Studies in Copenhagen.

You are cordially invited to join us
Tuesday 1 December at 2 pm
3rd floor seminar room
at NIAS, Leifsgade 33, 2300 Copenhagen S

Registration is not required but would nevertheless be appreciated. If you are sure that you will attend, please let us know by contacting [email protected]


Nice to be praised occasionally
from Press News, posted 11/11/2009 - 10:52

 Feedback received from an author yesterday:

It is always a little embarrassing to find so many, many changes to make when we all thought we had done a very thorough job first and second time around! But this is also testament to the excellent job the copy-editor has done (as one works through the corrections one develops an intuitive feeling for this individual's personality), and the professionalism of NIAS Press in insisting that everything is done properly.

We try.


“Proper Islamic Consumption” reviewed
from Press News, posted 11/06/2009 - 11:18

A new review of Johan Fischer’s Proper Islamic Consumption has just been received. Writing in Asian Anthropology, Prof. Abdul Rahman Embong concludes:

[T]his book is an excellent study that is lucidly written, strongly informed by theory, rich in ethnography, and empirically grounded. It has blazed a new trail in employing the tools of both religious studies and cultural studies to dissect the complex subject of “proper Islamic consumption”. It is a must-read for researchers and students alike, especially those who want to pursue their study on the middle class, Islam and consumption.


Frankfurt Book Fair
from Press News, posted 10/28/2009 - 12:19

We are recently back from the big annual book fair in Frankfurt. It is an enormous event with thousands of exhibitors spread over half a dozen cavernous multi-storey buildings, organized by type and by country of origin. Almost designed to make almost anyone feel insignificant. If you do a good amount of international business, as we do here at NIAS Press, the fair also gives you a good workout. We spent the days rushing and pushing through crowds in a mad dash from a group meeting in building six to an appointment in building 8 followed by a presentation in building 4, etc.

It may be utterly exhausing, but it's also a good buzz. We always come back with interesting new contacts, ideas and plans, and of course the fair is a great opportunity to meet face to face with our international distributors and co-publishers. This time, the fair brought useful discussions about international collaboration on marketing, digitization and electronic publishing, a new and easier way to e-communicate with trade partners, a number of proposals for co-publications, and some good forward movement with our distributor in Japan. All in all a week well spent.

But of course one returns to inboxes piled high with missives from those who do not attend the fair, most notably from our authors. We hope we have not kept you waiting unduly!



from Press News, posted 07/22/2009 - 09:48

One of the first signs of summer is that the university teaching rooms and student areas grow quiet. A little later the offices begin to empty of their sun-starved occupants, and a balmy quiet settles in along the corridors of universities and research institutes everywhere. What this really represents for those left behind is a marvellous opportunity to concentrate and really get some work done without the constant interruptions of phones ringing and urgent e-mails pinging and hurried colleagues waiting in the door for a word.

At NIAS Press, we're taking it in turns to keep the concern going, so over the summer there is never less than one but rarely more than two staff at work at any one time. But you wouldn't necessarily know that from our output.  Several things have recently gone to print, much material has been produced for coming conferences, our first digitally printed books have been delivered and have impressed us with their good looks, and the editorial department is busily putting together material for our next catalogue which is due out in late September or early October.

Authors will be particularly pleased to hear that we are now sending out our new-look royalty statements. If you have not received yours within the next two weeks, that will probably be because we do not have a current address for you - in which case, please get in touch with [email protected] who will disptach your statement forthwith.


from Press News, posted 07/01/2009 - 13:23

It has been a much larger task than we anticipated to get this new NIAS Press website up an running - which may be just as well. Had we know how much time, effort and occasionally also frustration it would entail, we might have hesitated before planning such a sweeping overhaul of our old site.

In this case, ignorance was (short-lived) bliss, and once started the project took on a life and momentum of its own. We are not quite done yet - perhaps, like gardens, websites are never completely done - but are very satisfied indeed with the result so far.

We would like to take the opportunity to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Danish East Asia Company (Oestasiatisk Kompagni) for the generous grant which made much of this work possible, and which has provided very helpful impetus along the way.


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