Notes from the Allied Social Science Associations meeting

Emily Taber, Acquisitions Editor for Economics, Finance, and Business shares some thoughts about her experience at the recent meeting for Allied Social Science Associations held in San Francisco.

Last week, the annual meeting for the Allied Social Science Associations was held in San Francisco. I have attended this conference many times in the past, but this was my first time attending in my new role as acquisitions editor.

Following senior editor John Covell’s retirement after an awe-inspiring 49-year career in publishing, I was promoted from associate editor to editor. As associate editor (and assistant editor and acquisitions assistant before that), conference attendance was a retail experience: working with exhibits manager John Costello to help customers find books, ring up purchases, and assist instructors filling out exam copy request forms. It was a great way to identify which new books were generating a lot of interest, and which backlist books had perennial course appeal.

As an acquisitions editor, conference attendance is a much more varied experience. Sure, there is time spent at the booth, but it is also mixed in with going to paper presentations and (my favorite part) meeting with authors and potential authors to talk about book ideas. Some of the people I met with were authors who are weeks away from submitting a final manuscript; others were people just starting to think about turning their research into a book. Either way, it was exciting to imagine these projects—some of which now exist only as a collection of TeX files—someday appearing as printed books in the exhibit hall at a future ASSA meeting.

Whether attending as an assistant or an editor, academic conferences provide a great moment in which to appreciate the work of our authors to write books that connect with readers.