Publishing

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.

If Libraries Didn't Exist, Would Publishers Be Trying To Kill Book Lending?

If Libraries Didn't Exist, Would Publishers Be Trying To Kill Book Lending?
A familiar pattern emerges. Small, innovative publishers who are ready to adapt, reap the benefits by meeting the growing demand for ebooks at local libraries – and doubtless picking up knock-on sales as a result. Meanwhile, big, sclerotic publishers resist trying out new business models, preferring to make the use of digital formats for lending as "inconvenient" as possible – in the forlorn hope that readers will just give up and buy something. We all know how that story ends.

No predictions this year; just questions

Book industry consultant Mike Shatzkin has a series of questions for the book industry for the next year. The questions are for these groups:
The biggest publishers
Publishers bigger than small, but not Big Six
Smaller publishers
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Independent bookstores
Authors
Agents
Illustrated book publishers
The industry

Paying authors more might be the best economics for publishers in the long run

If you imagine the publisher’s business as one that divides most of the consumer’s dollar between two core stakeholders in the supply chain — the retailer and the author — you’d have a pretty accurate picture. The publishers, at least theoretically, decide what the retailer’s “working margin” will be with their discounts and agency agreements. And they decide what the author’s share of the proceeds will be by the advances and royalty rates they offer and agree on through their contracts.

These are the essential, and basically non-substitutable, trading partners for a publisher. They can choose a different printer or publicity firm without changing the character of their business or their economics. But the author relationships are existential and defining and the intermediaries who reach the public and enable the consumer transaction are indispensible.

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