Publishing

Two questions that loom over the trade publishing business

A lot of people in publishing would pay a lot of money to get a reliable answer to these two questions:

When will the growth in Amazon’s share of the consumer book business stop?

Who will be left standing when it does?

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Why Are We Boycotting Elsevier?

Why Are We Boycotting Elsevier?

Walking away isn't always easy. It means we won't be able to submit our work to many journals, some of them with strong reputations. We may have to turn down review requests from friends who serve as editors. We may have to explain to tenure and promotion committees that our choices were made to further knowledge, and furthering knowledge is at least as important as building our reputations. This is why we should congratulate all those who are willing to put their tenure on the line to do the right thing.

Trouble For Elsevier, The Leading Academic Publisher

From the radio program - "On the Media"
Late last month, a Cambridge Mathematician wrote a blog post that launched a massive boycott of the largest publisher of academic journals in the world. The boycott, now more than 6,000 academics strong, has ignited a discussion over the cost of, and access to, information published by academics. Rick Karr reports on rising discontent with the current academic publishing model.

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How to Save Books A new model for publishers

A new model for publishers

First: Pricing is set too low, margins get squeezed.
Second: Piracy runs rampant.
Third: A la carte sales whittle down revenues.

Congress should join the other countries that have major book industries in passing a Fixed Book Price Agreement, in which booksellers and publishers agree on what price books may be sold nationally--i.e., no $25 books selling for $10 at Costco. In France and other nations, studies have shown that FBPAs protect independent stores, increase the diversity and quality of titles sold, and support more authors.

Publishers hate you. You should hate them back.

Publishers hate you. You should hate them back.
So library-types, let’s get our story straight. Publishers have contempt for the authors they need to write works, and the readers they need to read works. Publishers are scared that the internet is going to disintermediate their asses into the dustbin of history, and the best response that many of them have come up with is to express their fear through hatred. For all the things that we might need to improve in libraries or apologize for, this isn’t one of them.

Time For Science To Overcome Fears And Kill Subscription Journals

You are Elsevier: time to overcome our fears and kill subscription journals
"Thus, people joining in the new boycott have no excuses not to follow through. There are plenty of viable OA options and it is simply unacceptable for any scientist who decries Elsevier’s actions and believes that the subscription based model is no longer serving science to send a single additional paper to journals that do not provide full OA to every paper they publish. So, come on people! If we do this now, paywalls will crumble, and we all be better off. So, come on! Let’s do it!"

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.

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