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Excerpt: But there is a big challenge related to this paradigm that the industry hasn’t really tackled yet. The “unit of appreciation” for many books is the author. And the “unit of appreciation” is also the “unit of marketing” and therein lies the problem. Because the industry hasn’t figured out how to bring publishers and authors together around how to maximize the value of the author brand.
Marketing requires investment. For an author, that means a web site that delivers a checklist of functionality and appropriate social media presences, as well as what any competent publisher would do to make the individual book titles discoverable.
But authors inherently do not want publishers to “control” their personal brand, particularly when so many of them have more than one publisher or self-published material in addition to what they’ve sold rights to. And publishers don’t want to invest in marketing that sells books they don’t get revenue from or to build up an author name that could be in some other house’s catalog a year or two from now.
Five years ago, printing your own book was stigmatized and was seen as a mark of failure.
"But now," says Dana Beth Weinberg, a sociologist at Queens College who is studying the industry, "the self-published authors walk into the room, and they say, oh, well, 'I made a quarter million dollars last year, or $100,000, or made $10,000.' And it is still more than what some of these authors are making with their very prestigious contracts."
Weinberg says there is still a strong financial case to be made for publishing books the old-fashioned way, but there are now many well-known independent authors who have made a fortune self-publishing online.
I’ve been thinking about a book called Why Nations Fail, by Daron Acemo?lu and James Robinson. To (over)summarize, the coauthors say that nations fail because they resist, and try to stifle, the disruption that follows technological breakthroughs.
Technological disruption challenges prevailing power. Naturally, those established institutions try to fight back. But they rarely win. Disruption tends to release a dam of pent-up and democratic energy. Eventually, it overwhelms or transforms the established order.
Digital publishing is a case of technological disruption. Its challenge to the gatekeeper of a traditional publisher is now clear. Can’t get your book published? Do it yourself, and do it a whale of a lot faster—meaning you can capitalize quickly on issues of the day.
But I’ll propose that disruption has three predictable phases.
Full piece American Libraries
SAGE Publishers is retracting 60 articles from the Journal of Vibration and Control after an investigation revealed a “peer review and citation ring” involving a professor in Taiwan.
SAGE and Nayfeh then confronted Chen with the allegations, and weren’t satisfied with the responses, so in September 2013 they alerted NPUE to the case. Chen resigned from NPUE on February 2, 2014, according to the release, and in May Nayfeh retired and resigned as editor in chief of the JVC.
The Shatzkin Files
For most of my lifetime, the principal challenge a publisher faced to get a book noticed by a consumer and sold was to get it on the shelves in bookstores. Data was always scarce (I combed for it for years) but everything I ever saw reported confirmed that customers generally chose from what was made available through their retailers. Special orders — when a store ordered a particular book for a particular customer on demand, which meant the customer had to endure a gap between the visit when they ordered the book and one to pick it up — were a feature of the best stores and the subject of mechanisms (one called STOP in the 1970s and 1980s) that made it easier. But they constituted a very small percentage of any store’s sales, even when the wholesalers Ingram and Baker & Taylor made a vast number of books available to most stores within a day or two.
Full post here.
In a three-way deal that would continue a wave of consolidation in the publishing industry, Hachette Book Group has purchased the publishing division of the Perseus Book Group, while selling Perseus' client-service business to leading distributor Ingram Content Group.
Hachette, where authors include James Patterson, J.K. Rowling and Malcolm Gladwell, jointly announced the transaction Tuesday with Perseus and Ingram. The news comes at a time when Hachette is in contentious negotiations with Amazon.com, which has slowed shipments, reduced discounts and removed pre-order buttons for numerous Hachette releases.
Indeed, Academia.edu, PLOS, and Arxiv.org are doing something remarkable: They’re mounting a full-frontal assault on a multi-billion-dollar industry and replacing it with something that makes much, much less money.
They’re far more efficient and fairer, and they vastly increase the openness and availability of research information. I believe this will be nothing but good for the human race in the long run. But I’m sure the executives of Elsevier, Springer, and others are weeping into their lattes as they watch this industry evaporate.
Maybe they can get together with newspaper executives to commiserate.
Despite having dozens of best-selling titles to his name, author James Patterson is very worried about the present and future of books in America, as the publishing world continues to grapple with the rise of ebooks and their major distributor, Amazon.
A look at BookExpo, just held in New York.