Published: Dec. 1, 2015

Books: A Colorado Story

Innocents on the Ice  A History of the Centennial State Transient Landscapes The Archaeology of Wak'as  Iceland's Rise and Fall in the Global Economy Thiefing a Chance Bridging the Gaps Surviving Sudden Environmental Change  Painting Colorado History

It’s been a banner year for the University Press of Colorado, the nonprofit book publisher co-founded by CU-Boulder in 1965: The press turned 50 and topped $1 million in sales for the first time as it sold more books than ever.

“We’re in a place of growth and innovation,” says Darrin Pratt, UPC’s director.

Established by CU, CSU, UNC and Fort Lewis College, the Boulder-based scholarly press now includes a dozen member institutions and has published about 600 titles.

Colorado: A History of the Centennial State by CU-Denver historian Tom Noel (PhDHist’78) is UPC’s all-time bestseller. Rocky Mountain Flora and Mammals of Colorado, both by former CU-Boulder professors, are also top sellers.

The press expects to add about 50 new titles this year, all of which will appear in print and as e-books: Deep into the digital age, print books still sell.

As UPC’s e-book sales have risen — more than 200 percent since 2013, to 11,000 units — so have paperback sales, up 15 percent to 36,046 units.

“Print is still a superior technology for reading long-form works in the scholarly realm,” says Pratt, especially in archaeology and natural history, UPC strengths that often involve complex tables and illustrations that still render best in print.

While UPC paperbacks and e-books have a bright future, hardcovers may not. Libraries, a key consumer, are buying fewer as they reallocate resources to digital assets.

Says Pratt, “I could foresee a day when we don’t print hardcovers.”

Images courtesy University Press of Colorado