Hidden behind the Aggie Band Hall in the back parts of Southside, the bustling offices of the Texas A&M University Press work each day to promote knowledge in the form of books.
Founded in 1975 by John H. Lindsey and Frank H. Wardlaw, the Texas A&M University Press has since endeavored to establish itself as a top-tier university press. Since then, the press has seen huge growth and now publishes 50 to 60 books a year in a variety of topics like AgriLife sciences, history and politics, wildlife and fisheries and more, and has won more than 500 book awards.
The Assistant to the Director and Rights Manager Linda Salitros said the TAMU Press’ publications have changed over time to encompass a broad range of interests and engage people in and out of scholarship.
“When I came here in ‘95, what I saw being published were very scholarly books that only grabbed the interest of scholars in that field. I really saw our list flip a bit when [Shannon Davies, Press Director] came here,” Salitros said. “We were publishing books that the general public would enjoy reading. It really changed the whole complexion of our press, and people started to notice us.”
As head of the Texas Consortium, the TAMU Press facilitates the publishing of eight other small university and literary presses, providing services like distribution, warehousing of books and marketing. Some of these presses include the TCU Press, the UNT Press, and the Texas State Historical Association Press.
Recently featured in Texas Monthly, the TAMU Press’ recognition grows every day. Unbranded, a book following the story of four Aggies who rode 16 wild mustangs across the country to promote awareness for the wild horse crisis and public land conservation, was published by the TAMU Press in 2015. Since then, the book has been made into a movie available on Netflix.
In conjunction with the Land Grant Mission of A&M, the TAMU Press centers itself on the goal to foster educational outreach to the surrounding community and spread new knowledge and ideas, said Shannon Davies, press director.
“As a university press, we are publishing not only research and scholarship, but also works that are for our public constituency,” Davies said. “I’m really proud of our ability to satisfy and extend the Land Grant Mission. It makes our press different. We reflect that mission, which is an outreach mission and partnership with the other parts of our university.”
Above all, Davies hopes to increase awareness of the TAMU Press as a resource for students and faculty across all majors and departments, even those outside of their publishing genres. Specifically, the Press’ Internship Program allows students the insight and ability to engage with their TAMU Press, and many students who intern go onto careers in their desired fields, including marketing and editing. Although the TAMU Press doesn’t often publish student publications because of its rigorous screening process, Davies hopes to encourage students in their writing and reading endeavors.
“We look at [student publications]; we advise on them,” Davies said. “We’re always happy to offer expertise on how the publishing process works and what they would need to do to make it into a book.”
The TAMU Press’ publicity and advertising manager, Christine Brown, said the significance of the press for Texas A&M lies in its ability to reach across the nation and represent the university to people all over the country.
“I think what we’re really proud of is being a representative for A&M in a way that maybe people don’t think,” Brown said. “Every book we print has the A&M logo on the spine and those books go to bookshelves, coffee tables, bookstores and libraries all over the world. We get to represent A&M in a way no one else can, and it reaches more places than any person can either.”
For information about the Texas A&M University Press visit their offices or see their website: www.tamupress.com.
By Maddie Brennan
This article was originally published by The Battalion.