Arcadia Publishing and Alexander Street Press: Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Alexander Street Press (ASP)? What do they publish?
ASP was established in 2000 and their mission is to develop high-quality, electronic publications in the Humanities and the Social Sciences. They currently produce more than 40 web based products in the areas of American History, Women’s Studies, African and African- American studies, North American Indian Studies, Latino Studies, Literature, Drama, and Music. For the full catalog see A typical ASP product contains 150,000 pages of material with unprecedented functionality and unique indexing.
How big is their business?
ASP has 70 full-time employees. They have offices in Alexandria, Virginia and one just outside London, England, with staff working from Canada, Brazil, and Australia, as well. They currently have some 2,000 library customers serving millions of students.
How does ASP protect the work and restrict access within the database?
ASP controls all access through an IP address. When a library subscribes, they give ASP their IP address, which uniquely identifies the source of all queries to their collections. Unauthorized IP addresses cannot gain access to the databases or view any portions of your work.
ASP also has a license agreement with each university, which is required upon purchase. This stipulates that no part of their collections may be sold, distributed, or commercially exploited in any way. It states that any text in the collections can be used only under the terms of "fair use", for educational purposes only, and must be less than 2% of any given work. Any library found in violation of this agreement would be penalized by losing their subscription. ASP also monitors activity on the all of their collections. If one workstation were systematically downloading material, ASP would see it and disable the subscription.
This business really depends on ASP’s ability to protect the material they license. It is an integral part of what they do. Currently, they have agreements with more than 1,000 publishers and copyright holders. They have never had a violation by any customer.
Why do copyright holders agree to a project like this?
In many cases, ASP is re-introducing the content into a library that has purchased it already in print form but not made wide use of the material. The project is likely to renew interest in older titles, and we believe it will result in increased print sales of those older works.
The rights are not compromised in any way – the arrangement is non-exclusive and for e-rights only to a very limited market.
By monitoring the usage of the collections ASP has found that researchers do not print from these databases. These universities are paying for the utility of the collection, rather than for texts that are already available in print editions. We believe that the database will lead scholars to titles they may not have otherwise discovered.
Primarily, authors choose to include their works in ASP collections in order to reach a wider group of scholars and students. This does not cannibalize print sales; most authors instead find an increase in the sales of their printed works.
Who are ASP’s other partners?
ASP has more than 1,000 publishing partners including universities, historical societies, film studios, and publishers. They have a particular strength in publishing collections of letters and diaries—of both famous historical figures and of everyday people. A few of their many partners in publishing are Warner Bros., Library of Congress, The Smithsonian, and Oxford University Press.
Will ASP sell our titles separately in electronic form or only as part of the larger collection?
ASP only sells the collection as a whole to academic libraries. The searches that users will conduct work throughout the database, so no work is more important that the other.
If I approve of the project, will I be paid royalties?
Yes, a modest royalty will be generated from the project and paid twice yearly with your royalties from print book sales. These will not be large amounts, but will be a small supplement to your existing royalty income. The royalty payable on database and companion rights will be 8% of the actual net amounts received by Arcadia from the sale or licence revenue of database and companion rights. For the ASP database the royalties will be prorated across the books used in the database.
Who already subscribes to the database? Who are ASP’s customers?
The database has yet to be released, so there are no existing customers for this database at present. ASP has more than 2,000 institutional customers, many of whom have purchased access to multiple collections. Regular customers include Columbia University, Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Emory, Boston College, University of Michigan, and many others.
Can I have access to the database?
Yes, all contributing authors will receive password access to the database for their own personal and scholarly reference.
Do I need to go back to my sources and ask for their permission for their materials to be included?
This will depend upon the original agreement you had with your sources when they loaned photographs for your publication. Some of your sources may have stipulated one-time use only for your book in printed form. Refer back to any agreements you have in your files, and when in doubt, seek permission again!
I paid for the use of images in my book. Do I need to pay for these again? Will ASP or Arcadia cover these costs?
This will depend upon the original agreement you had with your sources when they loaned photographs for your publication. Some of your sources may have stipulated one-time use only for your book in printed form. Refer back to any agreements you have in your files. Arcadia and ASP will not cover the costs associated with borrowing images.
How quickly can content be removed from the database?
Content can be removed from the database within 72 hours of receiving a request.
What if there are factual inaccuracies in my book? I’ve sent corrections to Arcadia, but they haven’t been entered because the book has not been reprinted. Will these errors be corrected in the ASP database? What happens if I find additional errors in the future?
Updates to the database will occur periodically depending on the amount of content to be amended.
I’m presently contracted to publish another book with Arcadia. Will this book be included in the database?
Yes, we are asking for your agreement to include any past or future titles you publish with Arcadia.
What if I don’t want my work to be included?
You have the option to decline to participate in this project.