The holidays are here and I’ve put together a little list of the gifts that most university press directors might want. I’m not sure if all of these items are readily available, but maybe some innovator will find the time to manufacture them. Or perhaps, the Association of American University Presses will create a new research division to prototype and license some of them. After all, we need some new ideas every day!
- The End All and Be All Nano-Editor. This magnificent organism bonds with manuscripts submitted by scholars, a few of whom can write, and automatically digests the content, re-animates it into understandable chunks, and outputs the content into digital streams readable on all e-book platforms. Or as one intern who worked at The University of Akron Press said – “I didn’t know you had to correct so many things from professors.”
- The Administrative Artificial Intelligence Robotron – A full-fledged, economically priced, artificially intelligent android that can answer questions like
- “So what do you do at the university press?”
- “Is this where I call to gripe about my professor?’
- “Why don’t you publish books that sell?”
- “People still read?”
- The Full Body Proposal Scanner. A device that detects inane proposal before they can enter the front door of the Press. Depending on the specific technology, the scanner can turn away proposals from authors who
- have discovered a numerical pattern in the bible that foretells world destruction;
- have found a new set of micro-elements that a friend detected while drinking his seventh latte at Starbucks; and
- have uncovered a box containing letters from a twelfth-century mystic that debunks all of word history
- The Crown of Design Sense and Sensibility. A remarkable product, based on galvanic principles, that, when placed on an author’s head, eliminates all interest in book design including dispelling the notion that a snapshot of the author with his or her parent’s at Machu Picchu is perfect for a monograph that deals with American elections.
- The Editorial Board Buzzer Beater. A small instrument that sends powerful waves to the brain’s pleasure center, and is especially useful in situations when one board member has objections to a project because he/she wants to play devil’s advocate, or she/he doesn’t like the spelling of the author’s first name. The device needs to be used carefully because it could cause perpetual joy.
Of course we all need more money, but that will be under the next year’s budget tree.