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Capitalizing on Poverty

Cheaper Books for ISA Members

The first two books in the SSIS Series to be produced in India at bargain prices.

August 17, 2013

ISA members will be very happy to know that henceforth all books published under the Sage Studies in International Sociology (SSIS) title will be available to them for 9.99 pounds sterling, almost a tenth of their old price. And this includes postage. We initiate this new price structure with two new books: Worlds of Difference edited by Said Arjomand and Elisa Reis and Cities and Crisis, New Critical Urban Theory edited by Kuniko Fujita. ISA members in India will have access to these books via Sage India at Rs 750 each. (Release date: August 2013). See http://www.isa-sociology.org/publ/isa_handbooks.htm.

We are also starting a new list: Key Texts of World Sociology. The Key Texts project of ISA promotes the publication of seminal texts of sociology in the world outside the Atlantic region. These texts will bring together the most influential sociology of the various regions of the world. At this moment we propose to publish Key Texts from 1) East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan), 2) Latin America, 3) Central and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia), 4) Africa, and 5) the Arab region.

SSIS is one the oldest publication series of the ISA. Originally titled Transactions of the World Congress of Sociology and published since the Association’s first congress in 1949, it was given a new form as SSIS by ISA in 1974. Since then it has continued to publish the proceedings of the World Congresses, Research Committees and conferences of National Associations as well as other important titles. Published as both authored and edited texts and available as monographs, handbooks and reference volumes, these books (numbering more than 60) have made a major contribution to the discipline by introducing and steering discussions and debates in the field and its various specializations.

Despite this recognition and acknowledged importance, sales of SSIS books have been low. Given the high prices (between 80 and 90 pounds) its reach even in the Global North has been restricted to libraries. In the Global South one does not even see them in libraries. For the last three years – with the active support of the ISA’s Publications Committee, its Vice-President and the ISA’s President – I have been trying to persuade Sage Publications (London) which publishes SSIS books to produce them in India where books are priced very low (around 10 pounds). Unfortunately, we came across an intractable problem: the classification of published books as international (those published in the Global North) against regional (those published in any part of the Global South). Books published in India or any other developing countries are published and marketed for that region and priced accordingly, while books published in any part of the Global North are published and marketed for the global consumer and sold at international rates. All international publishing firms (such as Sage, Oxford or Routledge) with offices in underdeveloped countries have trade agreements with its branches in underdeveloped countries that enforce this differential price structure.

However, what was intractable became manageable. We were able to persuade Sage to transfer the production of SSIS books to Sage’s India arm and ensure that ISA members can avail themselves of a huge discount on all future publications. We will also be able to sell the books in India (to non-ISA members) at Indian prices (though not so in other regions of the Global South where these will be sold at international prices). We are extremely grateful to Sage for supporting this initiative and ensuring that we take the first steps to break the inequities of the global publishing business. I would urge ISA members to take this opportunity to make this new policy a success. Do buy SSIS books and consider this Series for your future publications.

Sujata Patel, University of Hyderabad, India, and Editor of Sage Studies in International Sociology

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