AAUP Launches Books That Matter

A collection of essays on books that have helped shape the world

NEW YORK, New York – The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) launched an essay series today called “Books that Matter.” Leading up to AAUP’s 75th anniversary,”Books that Matter” showcases the invaluable contributions that university presses have made to society, helping to shape our modern world.

“The titles featured in ‘Books that Matter’ celebrate the ongoing relevance of ideas to the lives of real people, and underscore the continuing vitality of the university presses that have bravely brought these great books into being,” says Peter Dougherty, Director of Princeton University Press.

From documentary editions that became foundations of further research, to local ecological guides, AAUP members publish thousands of books, journals, and other collections that contribute to scholarship and an informed society. But in every publisher or editor’s career, there are books that stand out the most for their impact on politics or the economy, justice and social equality, our understanding of history and culture, or our knowledge of regional and national issues-a book that changes a community or a discipline.

In this first essay series, which is featured on AAUP’s blog, “The Digital Digest” leading editors and publishers tell the stories of three very different books that have changed the world:

* Peter Givler writes about Justifiable Homicide (Cynthia Gillespie, Ohio State University Press) and publishing an idea that became, quite literally, a matter of life and death when read by an open-minded governor with the power of clemency. Givler is former Director of Ohio State University Press and now serves as Executive Director of AAUP;

* MaryKatherine Callaway reflects on A More Noble Cause (Rachel Emanuel and Alexander P. Tureaud, Jr., Louisiana State University Press) and what it meant to the LSU community to bring to print the story of a Louisiana civil rights leader. Callaway serves as Director of Louisiana State University Press;

* And in his essay about Blue Highways Revisited (Ed Ailor, University of Missouri Press), Clair Willcox shares the story of what happened when a press meant as much to an author as his book meant to the press. Willcox is Editor-in-Chief of the University of Missouri Press.

In the coming weeks and months, AAUP will release more narratives of the books that mattered, including the Northwestern University Press’ Poetry Editor’s essay about Head Off & Split, to be published following the announcement of the National Book Awards finalists on Thursday, October 10th.

The AAUP is an organization of nonprofit publishers whose members strive to advance scholarship through their offerings. It promotes the value of university presses both within and outside the university and by acting as their members’ collective voice on matters of free speech, academic freedom, copyright, and other core issues. For more information, please visit

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