Even if you’re a good press, it’s still spam
In the last couple of years, I have noticed a disturbing trend in my email inbox: the rise of publisher spam. Less reputable publishers have long spammed librarians to hawk their wares, even though I would posit that so doing actually pushes their reputation further down the scale.
Lately, however, I seem to receive more and more unsolicited email from reputable presses, for example the University of North Carolina Press [update: they got the message, see the comments below!]. While these publishers do offer the option to unsubscribe from the list, that they put me on the list in the first place without my consent is a bit irritating.
Sure, in the old analog days–which unfortunately persist for some publishers who didn’t get the memo about the 21st century–publishers mailed out catalogs by the ton, even though few librarians I know use them as a selection tool. In my hands, they have always had a half life of about six seconds. Junk mail is annoying, but spam is moreso and has the added dimension of feeling like an invasion of one’s personal space. Given that we have tools to deal with spam, it’s not a good idea for publishers to utilize it.
As a Gmail user, I routinely flag any unsolicited offers as spam, even those from legit companies with whom we otherwise do business. I’m sure others do, too. What that means is that their business gets pulled down into the muck, and Google is rather merciless when it comes to responding to users’ assessments of their incoming mail and will gladly enhance their spam filter’s effectiveness by tossing such junk into the spam category.
It’s bad business practice to engage in spam, and frankly shows great ignorance on the part of publishers about how academic libraries buy their books.