We spoke to Sarah Caro (Princeton University Press) about why academics should look beyond publishing journal articles.
Going into depth
Journal papers are obviously vital for career development, but they won’t necessarily give you the space you need to cover an idea as fully as you’d like to (or really need to). A single paper might shape the field, but only a book can take it to the wider public and let you write as much as you need to.
Books aren’t going anywhere
Sarah’s heard for over 25 years that “the Death of the Book” is imminent, but still they carry on. People still enjoy having something solid in their hands, and even beyond that they’ll diversify into ebooks or audio books. Even with drifting online attention spans, plenty of people are picking up books whenever they need a serious read, especially if it matters having something in-depth.
Economics for the Common Good
Sarah published Jean Tirole’s Economics for the Common Good, having previously worked with him on his more academic-focused books. This meant regular trips to Paris to talk with him and his French publishers, and several rounds of work to make sure everything would be accessible to a broad audience. The Toulouse School of Economics helped get in touch with newspapers and think tanks to build out the strongest possible narrative.
Jean’s book delves beyond his work on competition and regulation – he also went into broader post-Crisis topics, including the role of the economist in society and how “they have a responsibility to engage with the broader issues which are being discussed”.