Today, at one and the same time, scholarly publishing is drawn in two directions. On the one hand, this is a time of the most exciting theoretical, political and artistic projects that respond to and seek to move beyond global administered society. On the other hand, the publishing industries are vying for total control of the ever-lucrative arena of scholarly publication, creating a situation in which it is increasingly hard to publish works grounded in research and in radical interrogation of the present. As a result, publishers become fixated on the textbook market and academic books become ever more expensive, with many books only ever being sold as hardbacks these days, which means that they are more likely to get dusty on university library shelves rather than read by those that authors might hope to reach.
In this context, MayFly Books was established in 2005 to publish the most exciting contemporary theorising concerned with critical organization studies, critical and radical social sciences, social movements, environmental philosophy and their theoretical and political consequences and presumptions. It specifically seeks to publish works that are currently excluded by the publishing industries, either because of their progressive politics or their apparent lack of a mass market. MayFly publishes high-quality books that are available free of charge (as PDF) and as affordable paperbacks. Mayfly does not charge any book processing fees from authors. Thus, the press is a truly not-for-profit operation. It publishes books that matter, and, at present, this involves bypassing the ‘publishing’ industry, which is no longer in public hands and hence fails to represent any public.
The press developed out of the journal ephemera: theory & politics in organization, which has been publishing its free content since 2001, and works alongside other alternative adventures in academic publishing. In this way, MayFly retains what is best in the ethos of ephemera: a passion of ideas, exploration of new terrain, radical democratic politics, suspicion of all essentialism and closure (conservative or vanguardist), and joyfulness and provocativeness. MayFly Books looks to publish engagements with all aspects of organization and critical social sciences that are theoretically astute, politically relevant and aesthetically engaging. While the concrete focus of the press is ‘organization’, a broad range of interdisciplinary engagements with organization are published, continuing to work in relation to an expanded or ‘general economy’ of organization and of the way that organization can be interrogated. The press sees its audience in a wide variety of terrains, ranging from students and researchers working in organization, management, cultural and social studies to activists working in organizations as well as government and non-governmental organizations, alongside a range of social movements.