Publishing

By one benchmark at least, we are probably halfway through the (r)evolution

A couple of major (Big Six) publishers have acknowledged that ebook revenues for them have passed 20% of their revenues. Of the 80% that remains print, I think it would be conservative to estimate that 20% of that is sold online. That’s an additional 16 percent of their business. Adding those together tells us that, for at least some very major companies, 36 percent of of their sales are being transacted online. That would leave, on average, about 64% of the sales for print sold through brick-and-mortar retail and other more minor channels. ”On average” should not be read as “typical” on a title-by-title basis. It isn’t. For immersive reading, or straight text like novels and biographies, the percentage sold in stores is already almost certainly substantially lower. My hunch, and nobody really keeps these figures (but I think I’ve found a way to get at them, which we’ll try to show at a future Publishers Launch conference) is that it may already be down to 50% print in stores for new titles.

Full article: By one benchmark at least, we are probably halfway through the (r)evolution

It’s time to start blaming publishers for the troubles of the publishing industry

Publishers are hanging indie bookstores out to dry. They control the prices of every book they print, and they allow Amazon to sell books for up to 50% off the cover price. Retail bookstores buy their books, wholesale, for more than that. Remember when the Big Six banded together to renegotiate the prices of ebooks? They fought tooth and nail to get Amazon to agree to an agency model pricing structure that actually made them LESS money than Amazon’s existing $9.99-across-the-board pricing scheme. They could do the exact same thing with Amazon’s regular books, and they should because Amazon’s prices are a greater threat to indie bookstores than $9.99 ebooks were to the future of digital publishing. But publishers will not fight Amazon over this, because publishers do not care if indie bookstores go extinct.

Piece also mentions libraries. Read full article: It’s time to start blaming publishers for the troubles of the publishing industry

Elsevier's Publishing Model Might be About to Go Up in Smoke

Elsevier's Publishing Model Might be About to Go Up in Smoke
No, there isn’t a monopoly on scientific journal publishing: but there is on the last 50 to 60 years’ worth of papers that have been published and are now copyright of said publisher. This is leveraged into the power to make college libraries pay eyewatering amounts for subscriptions.

There’s not much new about this analysis and investors in Reed Elsevier, the owners of Elsevier, either do or should know all of this.

However, there’s something hapening that might change this, for Reed Elsevier shareholders, quite delightful position. That is, a revolt of the academics who provide both the papers and the readership.

Unglue, It Could Save Public Libraries

From Mike Cane's blog:

This, for example, is what he means by “unglue,” the concept that lies at the heart of Gluejar: “unglue (v.t.) For an author or publisher to accept a fixed amount of money from the public for its unlimited use of an e-book.”

Hellman wants us to consider, in other words, a world in which those who hold the rights to books agree to license them through a Creative Commons arrangement that protects author/publisher copyrights, enables the rights holders to maintain or pursue additional licensing agreements, and at the same time creates an environment in which public funding helps “unglue” the books for digital distribution.

Crowdfunding — something already in play within organizations as diverse as the Nature Conservancy, NPR, and Kickstarter — provides the fiscal fuel, making sure that both the creators of the book and Gluejar get compensated for their efforts.

Read it all here.

World Book Night...One Week Left to Sign Up!

Most of us learned about the significance of April 23rd back in high school (the Bard's birthday), but now there's another reason to celebrate. April 23, 2012 is the first US World Book Night, when publishers will donate and volunteers will distribute free books to anyone who wants them. Want to be a part of it? Sign up as a volunteer on their site before February 1.

World Book Night premiers this year in the US. Bookstores & libraries will be distribution points. Did you sign up? What book do you want to distribute? I did (for Poisonwood Bible). Here are the book options, thirty in all.

Why JSTOR Imprisons Academic Research

Why JSTOR Imprisons Academic Research
How could we make this academic research more accessible to the public? The challenge is finding a way to get research on the web by bypassing the publisher/JSTOR nexus. If academic journals skipped that needless step of providing a print version of their journals, they could stop this cycle. They could simply upload the papers to a website and take the publishers out of the process.

Why e-books will be much bigger than you can imagine

Why e-books will be much bigger than you can imagine
The e-book business will grow faster than people think. Innovations from Amazon and Apple have increased the velocity at which we consume e-books, but there are two emergent behaviors that will increase the rate of overall consumption.

Cracking Open the Scientific Process

Cracking Open the Scientific Process
For centuries, this is how science has operated — through research done in private, then submitted to science and medical journals to be reviewed by peers and published for the benefit of other researchers and the public at large. But to many scientists, the longevity of that process is nothing to celebrate.

The system is hidebound, expensive and elitist, they say. Peer review can take months, journal subscriptions can be prohibitively costly, and a handful of gatekeepers limit the flow of information. It is an ideal system for sharing knowledge, said the quantum physicist Michael Nielsen, only “if you’re stuck with 17th-century technology.”

Academic publishers have become the enemies of science

Academic publishers have become the enemies of science
The US Research Works Act would allow publishers to line their pockets by locking publicly funded research behind paywalls. The free dissemination of lifesaving medical research around the world would be prevented under the Research Works Act. This is the moment academic publishers gave up all pretence of being on the side of scientists. Their rhetoric has traditionally been of partnering with scientists, but the truth is that for some time now scientific publishers have been anti-science and anti-publication. The Research Works Act, introduced in the US Congress on 16 December, amounts to a declaration of war by the publishers.

5 ways to really revolutionize the book business

5 ways to really revolutionize the book business

1. Let me subscribe to my favorite authors.
2. Keep books updated for one price.
3. Buy a print copy, get an electronic copy, too.
4. Give more of my money to authors.
5. Indie bookstores should sell e-books.

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