13 November 2020 at 3:17 pm #574785
Willmann-Bell has recently gone out of business. They published, amongst other things, Uranometria 2000 and Annals of the Deep Sky. Both are very useful and important works for amateur astronomers in my opinion.
Does anyone with connections to the publishing industry know how the WB publications may perhaps be taken over by another company?
Cambridge University Press is an obvious candidate because of their extensive output in this field, none of which directly compete with the publications mentioned.14 November 2020 at 4:13 pm #583363Jeremy ShearsParticipant
CUP will no longer publish amateur astronomy books. See Owen’s comments on WB and CUP on this recent thread here.14 November 2020 at 11:40 pm #583367Dominic FordKeymaster
Yes – unfortunately CUP is going through a lot of changes currently. You may have heard the news that CUP is going to merge with Cambridge Assessment in 2021. The university says there will be lots of exciting opportunities for CUP to produce “digital education” tailored to exam syllabuses. But at the same time, they’ve admitted they will be laying off a significant number of staff:
I fear the future is not very bright for the bits of CUP not connected with “digital education”, given it will soon be a sub-division within an exam board.15 November 2020 at 9:39 am #583368Jeremy ShearsParticipant
Willmann-Bell shutting up shop is a sad development. The AIP4WIN software, which accompanies Richard Berry’s book “Astronomical Image Processing”, has been used by many people for photometry. The second edition, including AIP4WIN version 2 software, has been out of print for many years. According to Willmann-Bell, they are making a non-registered version available from their website, specifically stating “AIP4Win2.0 No Longer Requires On-line Registration”. Richard Berry comments in an AAVSO forum that it is now essentially freeware.15 November 2020 at 10:34 am #583369Nick JamesParticipant
It is a real shame that we have got to this point but I think it reflects the fact that many people now expect to be able to browse the web and get information for free. Most sources of quality journalism are suffering the same fate. Some publishers have embraced the low-cost route but many of their current books look like printed versions of someone’s web page.
The Internet has been, generally, a great force for good but quality publishing has taken a big hit. I’m not so sure that the democratisation of news and comment has been a particularly positive thing either.15 November 2020 at 4:52 pm #583373
Good news.15 November 2020 at 5:01 pm #583374
As far as charts are concerned Aladin and DSS are both free and far in excess of what printed media can realistically provide. I use them all the time and print off what I require as and when it seems like a good idea.
It is more the replacements for Burnham’s and Annals of the Deep Sky with which I am concerned.
I love the smell of old paper in the morning. It smells of contentment. I own many astronomical publications, a few of which are over 200 years old though very few can honestly be described as useful except in very unusual circumstances.20 August 2021 at 10:27 am #584609
Publications by Willmann-Bell should become available again within a few months. The news report is at https://aas.org/press/aas-acquires-willmann-bell-titles
One interesting snippet reads: The AAS also plans to publish new volumes in the popular Annals of the Deep Sky series; Volume 8 is already printed and bound and will be available for immediate shipment once we begin accepting new orders.21 August 2021 at 3:54 pm #584611owen brazellParticipant
My understanding is that Vol 9 is pretty much completed although I believe it mostly deals with the Magellanic clouds so may have limited appeal north of the equator. Vol 10 I think is a long way down the writing line as well.. However from the point of view of a vendor that tried to sell these they were a hard sell to people.21 August 2021 at 4:01 pm #584612
I am still missing some of the long-published but out of print volumes. as I collect books, I will doubtless pick up the entire series if and when the volumes become available.
Good point about Dorado, etc, but robotic observatories are becoming rather popular …30 August 2021 at 11:39 pm #584633Michael E. MarottaParticipant
It was a significant action by the AAS to do this. See the above posts about Cambridge University Press curtailing its line targeted to amateurs and then consider what it would have meant for the RAS to buy it. I mean that: RAS, not BAA. If you have a Ph.D. in astronomy and you teach at a university, you cannot (necssarily) be a voting member of the AAS: you can be an educational affiliate. (I am an amateur affiliate. I edit for the History of Astronomy Division. I cannot vote or propose a session topic or deliver a paper or even have a poster at a convention without sponsorship by a voting member.) The AAS is for professional researchers. So, their purchase first of Sky & Telescope and now of Willmann-Bell signals deep commitment to new directions.
I serve on an AAS committee for professional-amateur engagement. The committee was approved three years ago, given a chair eighteen months ago, and formed this past January. Nothing happens quickly at the AAS. So, this action to acquire Willmann-Bell was highly significant. They are to be congratulated for taking the action as it is in service to the amateur community.
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