Where to publish a book on Sanskrit (or) Philosophy?

Where should one publish one’s book? What are advantages and disadvantages of each venue? I will start sharing my views and would be glad to read yours (PLEASE NOTE that I cannot be exhaustive and in this sense I depend on my readers —suggest further venues or important points, if you deem them relevant).

Please remember that I am speaking about young authors (well-known ones will not need me).

I will also assume that you wrote in English. Further, some remarks will only make sense if you wrote a book on Indian philosophy.

In order to make a choice, you will need to evaluate several elements:

  1. Do you intend to deliver a camera-ready pdf (i.e., you can make the lay out yourself) or not?
  2. Do you have funds to invest in the publication?

If the answer is in both cases “no”, than you might want to avoid publishers which ask for a contribution, especially in case they have to do the lay out (this was the case of the publishing house for which I published my second book —but I gave them a camera-ready— and the same applies in most cases to DK Printworld and Anthem Press).

Further points:

  1. Did you write a philological book?
  2. Do you aim at a restricted audience of selected scholars?
  3. Do you aim at publishing in a venue which immediately shows the academic value of your book?
  4. Do you want your book to circulate chiefly in European (or Western) academic milieus (e.g., university libraries)?
  5. Did you revise your book at least three times and are sure about its being close to perfection?

If this is the case, I would recommend academic publishing houses (such as, given that I am in Austria, the Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, the De Nobili library, the Arbeitskreis fur Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, Universität Wien (for Buddhist studies), but also, e.g., Harrassowitz and in many cases Brill).

If, by contrast,

  1. You wrote a book which is accessible also to non-initiates and is reader-friendly
  2. You are ready to deeply revise the book

You might try to get in touch with publishing houses which have a wider circulation and do not (or not always) ask for contributions from the authors. According to the degree of specialization (and of the quality) of the book, you might want to consider many university presses (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, University of Chicago Press, Columbia University Press, Georgetown University Press, Harvard University Press, MIT Press, Stanford University Press, State University of New York Press, Yale University Press…), Rodopi, Routledge, SAGE, SASA, Springer (Kluwer is now part of Springer), Wiley-Blackwell.

Last, if

  • You want your book to be read in India and have made it interesting also for Indian readers (e.g., by using Devanagari instead of Roman fonts)

Then, you may consider DK Printworld (about which see above), or Matilal Banarsidass, or Manohar (which all have long reaction-times, in my experience). OUP has the uncommon advantage of publishing both in India (with Indian prices) and in the West.

Other elements I would consider:

  • Are there other titles like your own ones in that publisher’s catalogue? You do not want to be the only book about Sanskrit or about Philosophy within a few titles on “Humanities”
  • Will the publishing house take care of proof-reading, lay-out (see above) and so on? If not, are you able to do it yourself?

If you already published a book, how did you choose the publishing house? If you have not published a book yet, what would be important for you?

Comments and discussions are welcome. Be sure you are making a point and contributing to the discussion.

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