After 32 years, the Stanford Professional Publishing Course has permanently closed. The decision reflects the constraints of the economic recession, but it may also signal a general retreat from a commitment to print publishing in the context of today’s online world.

I took the course in 1978 or thereabouts — I think it was the second year it was offered. I was working on my dissertation in comparative literature at the time. At the conclusion of the course I noticed an ad for a marketing copywriter with Jossey-Bass Publishers. I applied for the job and got it. I didn’t work at Jossey-Bass for long, but I did pick up the basics of book publishing and copyediting. The following year I began working as an editor for North Point Press, and I have worked in publishing ever since Thanks, SPPC, for derailing my academic career!

One could argue that with print publishing undergoing its current painful redefinition the course is needed now more than it was then. It looks like Martin Levin will be exploring new possibilities.