What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
If only I could predict who wins the Nobel this fall! That would certainly give me a leg up. We’ve always published quite a bit in behavioral economics, and after Richard Thaler won last year, we saw increased usage and recognition of our books in that field (such as Cass R. Sunstein’s Human Agency and Behavioral Economics: Nudging Fast and Slowand the open- access bookNudge Theory in Action: Behavioral Design in Policy and Markets, edited by SherzodAbdukadirov).
More generally, though, in scholarly publishing it may be a bit easier to see the future than in trade because the books we publish map so closely to the current research you see in journal articles and on conference panels. I’m seeing more and more on the intersection of information and communication technology and economics, for one, which is a really exciting space. I’m hoping to build on the success of some of our recent books like Digitized Labor: The Impact of the Internet on Employment(edited by Lorenzo Pupillo, Eli Noam, and Leonard Waverman) andHow Digital Communication Technology Shapes Markets: Redefining Competition, Building Cooperationby Swati Bhatt by commissioning more in that sphere. I definitely don’t see this area slowing down anytime soon.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
What makes editing economics books so rewarding is the way research in the field tackles many of society’s greatest challenges, and books that pose answers to hard questions are always the ones I’m most excited to work on. Robert Guttmann’sEco-Capitalism: Carbon Money, Climate Finance, and Sustainable Development has been one of my favorite books to see published this year, and I’d love to do more on sustainable development and climate change. I also work with Chris Barrett out of Cornell on the series Palgrave Studies in Agricultural Economics and Food Policy. These books address everything from development strategies and food security to obesity and biofuel—really key issues—and I’m always looking for more books in these fields.
Speaking right at this moment, I’d love to see more on trade now that the U.S. is appearing to enter a new phase of embracing tariffs. I’ve been dreaming of doing a book on the economic history of tariffs and how any lessons learned could apply to the present-day situation—just need to find the right scholar to write it!
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
Honestly, I don’t think I have an answer to this one—since I work across all fields of economics, each book is very different one to the next. That being said, I’m never a fan of books that rely solely on suppositions over tangible evidence and data.
What’s unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
One of the things that makes scholarly publishing so unique is that every book is truly a collaborative process within the broader academic community. Each book proposal and manuscript I receive gets reviewed by experts in the field in order to vouch for the integrity of the scholarship. And of course, the books themselves engage with other scholars’ research through referencing—or challenging—past studies.
This type of publishing also draws a different type of editor than trade publishing. I know I’m not the only person who considered pursuing a Ph.D. program but ultimately thought delving deeply into a single area of research wasn’t the right fit. Instead, as an editor I get to engage more generally with a broad range of fields, learning more and more with each book since each is so different. I also rarely do line editing or manuscript development; my job instead is more focused on curating content to shape the academic community’s discussion and giving attention to areas where more publication is needed. It’s a weird little corner of publishing but suited to people who love fostering good debates and promoting bold ideas.
Elizabeth Graber is the U.S. commissioning editor for economics at Palgrave Macmillan, working on books across all subdisciplines. She welcomes proposals for monographs, edited volumes, handbooks, and trade paperbacks. A native of Indiana, she studied history and literature at Harvard University before moving to New York City. She was formerly a commissioning editor at Routledge. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org