Some mid-COVID changes at university presses, as collected by Ithaka S+R in its latest press directors’ summary:

A move away from print wherever possible, including converting to online submission and contract systems; electronic proofs, review and exam copies; and eliminating the print catalog. 

A pivot to virtual exhibits and disciplinary conferences.   Putting more books into print on demand (POD). One director claimed they moved 2,000 already digitized books into POD in 12 days by remapping their supply chain and changing all of their workflows. Another said they were eliminating all short run printing and going straight to POD.  

The press directors are reporting, unsurprisingly, savage revenue hits:

According to their latest projections for the 2020 close this month, most are expecting to miss budgeted revenue by 5-15 percent, mostly due to poor fourth quarter print sales during the pandemic lockdown.

And they expect worse for FY 2021:

Projections of 20-40 percent decreases in revenue are the norm for the presses we spoke with. All presses expect cuts to library collection budgets and drastic cuts to library book budgets, especially print.