Over the weekend, it was announced that Rice University Press would close, a second time. RUP had been brought back in an all digital format, and there were high hopes for it. Editing and production had been streamined. No item would be printed until it had been paid for. Very efficient methods for quick shipment of books printed only on demand had been worked out. But, alas, it was all not enough. The University stated that RUP still required a subsidy of about 150-200K per year and that in the current fiscal situation that money couldn’t be found on a continuing basis, so the decision was made, reluctantly, to close the Press. This is a real blow to those who were hoping that digital methods could be used to help the endangered scholarly book market, and it may not have been a fair test, since the so-called “recession” distorted economies of all types. But, the bucks aren’t there and Rice has to do what it has to do. They also sold their radio station to the University of Houston system, so it’s not as if they were aiming at the Press exclusively as a place to make cuts. It’s all very sad and bad.