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I think you need to ask yourself what the purpose of having a book is. If it is to secure tenure, unless it is an explicit requirement for tenure, I would not do it. Books take a long time: to write, to get through the refereeing process, and then to get into print. My first book was "completed" in 2009, but only appeared in print in 2011. I also needed a sabbatical to devote the time required to complete it. So if you are pre-tenure, without a pre-tenure sabbatical, then it is unlikely you will get it done. If the purpose is to launch your career into the next level, then it is imperative that you publish with the top publishers (think the BIG two). I did, and it has paid off. I was able to move "up" to a much better job. But, as Marcus notes, you have to have something worth saying in a book. My books do contain quite a bit of previously published material - because I work my ideas out in published papers. But once that material is set into the context of the book, I cut material, I add material, and I even change my views. But, as Marcus said, a book should have a pretty strong thread running through it.


I wrote mine when I did because the publisher pitched the book to me, so it was a relatively easy deal to seal on my end. But it's not a monograph. And there's no tenure here for me to worry about.

I'm working on a proper monograph now, because I have a book-length idea which is best explored in depth, and because getting it published as bite-length articles would be a harder sell. This is a project I want others to take up, and a focused, book-length treatment seems like the best way to do that, and to do the topic justice.

But yeah, it takes a lot of time and energy, so best to undertake it when you have enough articles to rest on/enough under review that you needn't do anything from scratch to meet your promotion criteria.


Contrary to what "author" says, I do not think that it is "imperative" to publish with the "big two" (or even the rest of the top publishers). Lots of the most important or influential books, at least in my fields, are not with OUP or CUP, or even some of the big American university presses. Of course, it can be great if you publish a book with them, and no doubt it will generally ensure greater publicity and engagement, but I think it can be great to publish with the likes of Polity, Routledge or some of the other UK presses, such as Edinburgh. (All of this is Anglo-US centric, as that is the area I know).

Also, be realistic, most people, especially early career philosophers, simply won't get published, or even a hearing, with the big presses. I do not think that is reason to avoid publishing books. Plus, although this might just be me, I think that writing (and reading) books is generally a lot more enjoyable than articles. Thus, a good reason to write a book is that it can be much more rewarding, regardless of the press it is with (and unless the publisher is actively disreputable, it cannot harm one's C.V. I still think of books as the jewels in one's academic crown).


For a book to be a "academic crown" I think it needs to sell - sales are, after all, a reasonably good measure of how much it is being read. I worry that the books published by lower rank publishers sell very few copies. Indeed, I am close enough to the publishing business to know this is the case. My books sell in the hundreds, not the thousands. But I would be disappointed if a book did not sell at least 300 copies.

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