Established in 2012, the De La Salle University Publishing House (DLSUPH), formerly known as the Academic Publications Office (APO), has been a renowned center of information dissemination. DLSUPH aims to promote the educational mission of the University by distributing academic work of researchers in the field of Philippine reviews, classifications, concentrated and peer-evaluated research, course readings for undergraduate and graduate courses, and journals in an extensive variety of disciplines.
Process of publishing a book
Unlike international publishing houses, DLSUPH only accepts complete manuscripts for review. Due to the lack of resources, they cannot accommodate and review proposals since they say it is time-consuming and requires more manpower. Their office currently has only three staffers – the director, secretary, and administrative assistant.
The manuscript submitted is reviewed and recommended for publication by two reviewers. Executive Publisher Dr. David Jonathan Bayot will then present the manuscript during the University Press Board Meeting. “I’m endorsing [the manuscript], but it’s [still] up to them,” he clarifies.
Once the manuscript is approved, it is immediately processed. It goes to a copy editor who coordinates with the author regarding minimal changes on layout and design. Once they come to an agreement, they prepare another file, which is then processed into a soft copy generated for the author’s approval. A mock copy is then printed and reviewed by a quality controller for minor corrections. Once everything has been reviewed and amended, the author performs a final review before the book is published.
While problems do arise during this process, Dr. Bayot assures that they have diminished over the years as the team became familiar with the process. Now, he is mainly concerned with the layout and cover of the book since he is very particular about his preferences on the design.
“I pay very close attention to the book cover. I personally choose the cover. I commission people to do the cover,” he clarifies. “I don’t just say that ‘okay, let us come up with a cover.’ So, if you look at the layout of books, they are of international quality.”
Based on its track record, DLSUPH publishes 12 to 15 books a year. For a small team of five, including the director, it has been quite a feat, since they also publish journals online.
Problems outside the publishing process
One of the biggest restrictions of the publishing house is the lack of funds. Dr. Bayot explains, “Because of the lean years, the budget of course will be reduced. So, with this amount of money, no matter how efficient your team is, where will we get the money to pay the layout designer? To pay the book cover? To print the books? That’s very important.”
In line with this, Dr. Bayot clarifies that the University Press is not a profit-oriented center. “We are not too much pressured to earn. Normally in our books, we don’t even factor in [layout] costs, cover design costs, copy editing costs. Our basis for pricing is just the printing costs, and we just add a little bit of percentage so that we wouldn’t be at too much [of a] loss,” he shares.
On the other hand, Dr. Bayot assured that DLSUPH tries to do as much as they can in advertising published books. He shares that they have distribution channels like Solidaridad Bookshop and Rare books, among others.
Nonetheless, he adds that these circulation mediums are not enough. They are currently trying to acquire marketing from a well-known book store in the country. However, Dr. Bayot illustrates, “It’s not as simple as we tell [the bookstore] that we want a published book and then they say yes. It’s a complicated process. They require your business certificate, income tax of the University. But since the University is after-all not a business that generates income, there are many documents that the University does not have.”
When it comes to eBooks, Dr. Bayot shares, “All our books are being transformed into eBooks by Buqo—it is a company, or office, or organization that is under Summit Media. After the transformation from printed book to eBook, they market it and they give La Salle a certain percentage.”
Being the director of DLSUPH since 2012, Dr. Bayot shares that it was mandated by the APO to come up with a celebration for the University.. Before the director of APO retired, his idea was to end the centennial celebration by launching 100 eBooks to celebrate DLSU’s 100 years.
The event, Beyond 100, was an occasion conducted by the DLSUPH to commend the centennial celebration of the University and Lasallian excellence in the country. The celebration was organized in partnership with five publishers in the Philippines, to produce 103 electronic books and 29 print books.
“It was like a big event to wrap-up the celebration. So, when we did some computation, I realized that it went beyond 100! It’s 103. Of course, we didn’t want to put [something like the] launching of 103 eBooks. So, what I did was, I picked something that was literal and figurative—Beyond 100. The publishing house right now is at the threshold of something significant. The University Press looks beyond 100,” he concludes.