Publishers Weekly reports that several university presses will collaborate to launch a 10-publisher catalog of scholarly books in electronic format, adding five to 10 additional presses’ catalogs each year after the service is established. Rutgers, NYU, Temple and the University of Pennsylvania presses will work with a Carnegie Mellon University-provided grant to research the e-book business. Meanwhile, the University of Chicago Press, which works with Google Book Search, has partnered with BiblioVault, a scholarly book repository that provides e-book retailing services, to launch a 700-title e-book catalog at its Web site.
These organizations need to take these steps themselves, I think, to find the correct balance between the convenience offered by partnering with, say, Google, and taking on the process themselves. Gathering experience is the only smart strategy right now.