Publishing

The Wrong War Over eBooks: Publishers Vs. Libraries

In the first of two parts about the new realities of publishing and public libraries, Forbes contributor David Vinjamuri discusses whether the right battle is being fought:

"The solution to the current pricing problem lies in understanding that the argument publishers and libraries are having is the wrong argument. It is based on the paradigm of the printed book and as such presents a series of intractable challenges for both publishers and libraries. By changing the model for pricing an eBook, both parties could find a clear and equitable resolution to the current impasse."

Self-Publishing: No Longer Just A Vanity Project

They used to call it the "vanity press," and the phrase itself spoke volumes. Self-published authors were considered not good enough to get a real publishing contract. They had to pay to see their book in print. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing has exploded, and a handful of writers have had huge best-sellers.

TV blogger Alan Sepinwall's self-published book, The Revolution Was Televised, came out just before Thanksgiving. Within two weeks he had a review in The New York Times — a positive review — by the widely read and often critical Michiko Kakutani, who also named it one her favorite books of the year. This is what book publicists and their writers dream of, and Sepinwall didn't even see it coming.

Full piece on NPR

Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers 2013

Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers 2013
The gold open-access model has given rise to a great many new online publishers. Many of these publishers are corrupt and exist only to make money off the author processing charges that are billed to authors upon acceptance of their scientific manuscripts.

There are two lists below. The first includes questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. Each of these publishers has a portfolio that ranges from just a few to hundreds of individual journal titles.

The second list includes individual journals that do not publish under the platform of any publisher — they are essentially independent, questionable journals

In both cases, we recommend that researchers, scientists, and academics avoid doing business with these publishers and journals. Scholars should avoid sending article submissions to them, serving on their editorial boards or reviewing papers for them, or advertising in them. Also, tenure and promotion committees should give extra scrutiny to articles published in these journals, for many of them include instances of author misconduct.

There are still many high-quality journals available for scholars to publish in, including many that do not charge author processing fees. An additional option is author self-archiving of articles in discipline-specific and institutional repositories.

The author is grateful to the many colleagues who have shared information about potential predatory publishers. Last year’s list included 23 publishers, and this year’s has over 225, evidence of the rapid growth in the number of predatory journals and publishers. This list will be updated throughout the year at the blog Scholarly Open Access, http://scholarlyoa.com.

The criteria for inclusion in the lists can be found here. The author’s email address is: jeffrey.beall@ucdenver.edu.

Publishers brace for authors to reclaim book rights in 2013

A copyright law that lets authors break contracts after 35 years will start taking effect in January. The law, which is meant to give authors like Stephen King and Judy Blume a “second bite at the apple,” could provide yet another disruption for traditional publishers.

What Can Publishers Learn from Indie Rock?

The lessons of Indie Rock for the publishing industry are pondered in a post at The Scholarly Kitchen,
"Whenever you buy a record from just about any indie band, it comes with either a CD or with a card that contains a URL and a download code so you can get a digital copy at no additional cost...
If implemented in the right way, publishers could kill two birds with one stone: they could support a mechanism for downloading e-books purchased in conjunction with hardcovers that not only makes their best customers happy and extends the life of hardcover sales, but that actually fosters competition in the ebook marketplace."

Trying to explain publishing, or understand it, often remains a great challenge

From - The Shatzkin Files

Opening: I went to the In Re Books conference at New York Law School last Friday and Saturday in hopes of curing some of my ignorance about the law and publishing. I learned some things, including the facts about a very interesting case involving a book publisher, the associations of publishers and booksellers, and a large general retailer that took place over a century ago and anticipated a lot of what we’re seeing today as the other players in the industry battle the power of Amazon.

But I’m afraid my major takeaway was, once again, that the legal experts applying their antitrust theories to the industry don’t understand what they’re monkeying with or what the consequences will be of what they see as their progressive thinking. Steamrollering those luddite denizens of legacy publishing, who just provoke eye-rolling disdain by suggesting there is anything “special” about the ecosystem they’re part of and are trying to preserve, is just part of a clear-eyed understanding of the transitions caused by technology.

So perhaps we have symmetrical ignorance and will never understand each other.

Full blog post

Canada's book publishers are looking beyond mere survival

Independent publishing in this country is alive vigorous and vital. There are more than 100 active publisher members of the Association of Canadian Publishers. These publishers are doing the same thing today as they did last week, and indeed, as they will do next week — working like hell to publish books by Canadian authors and illustrators for readers across Canada and around the world. Our strength lies not in the size or the reach of any one publisher, but in the diversity and breadth of the publishers considered as a whole.

Random House and Penguin Are Actually Merging

Pearson, the British media conglomerate that owns Penguin, said Thursday that it was discussing a potential deal with Random House’s owner, Bertelsmann of Germany. The merger, if completed, would create a combined entity that would control nearly 25 percent of the United States book market and feature an elite roster of authors like Dan Brown, Toni Morrison and John Grisham of Random House and Junot Diaz and Patricia Cornwell of Penguin.
“A combined Random House and Penguin would be a supplier so large it would be very difficult for any anyone to dictate terms to,” said Mike Shatzkin, the founder and chief executive of the Idea Logical Company, a consultant to publishers. He added: “You’re allowed to collude if you’re combined.”

[Update] Gary Price Says It’s official. A deal bringing Penguin and Random House together is a GO according to official announcements from Pearson (Penguin’s owner) and Bertelsmann (Random House owner).

Self-published books triple in production since 2006

Self-published books make up 43 percent of the print titles released in 2011 and helped to drive the first growth in print production since 2007, according to a new study from Bowker.

What happens to all these self-published books, one may wonder? Do they mostly end up in boxes in the authors' garages? Not necessarily.

Publishers See Pitfalls to Open Access

I guess the opposite of Open is Closed? "Open access. Two bland words that have obliged scholarly publishers, librarians, scientists, funders, and governments to rethink their most basic assumptions, and in some cases begin to tamper with a business model that has held up for more than a century.

Open access (OA) calls for scholarly publications to be available online at no cost and without barriers. Arguments in favor include a broader and more rapid distribution of research results, and the essential fairness of allowing taxpayers who paid in part for the research to access it without paying again.

But publishers worry that making manuscripts freely available would weaken the scientific peer review process, because libraries, the main source of revenue for most publishers, would no longer have to pay for subscriptions to the journals. "

[Thanks to Graham for the link]

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