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Every December Steve Gargani, a pressroom manager for printing giant R. R. Donnelley, would look forward to the day a supervisor would visit employees with paychecks and the company holiday gift. The present was always the same—a beautifully printed and bound book, highlighting an individual experience in American history. Known as the Lakeside Classics, those company gift books have become one of the longest running book series in American publishing history. And, needless to say, the books have become highly collectible. “I worked for Donnelley for eighteen years,” said Gargani, which means he had amassed eighteen volumes of Lakeside Classics before leaving the company. Yet the books only whetted his appetite for more. Gargani continued to search for and buy the books, and now he buys and sells the series, as well as other Donnelley-published books, from his Illinois-based online store, lakesideclassicbooks.com.
The Lakeside Classics series, however, began long before Gargani joined R. R. Donnelley.
Background info from Cory Doctorow: Robert LLewellyn, Red Dwarf star, has a great little video series called Carpool, where he gives someone he's interested a lift to work in a car that's been fitted with cameras and microphones, and interviews that person while driving her or him to work. Last summer, Robert gave me a ride to the airport while I was on my way to the World Science Fiction Convention in Reno and interviewed me about ebooks and publishing. It came out great.
Even as more readers switch to the convenience of e-books, publishers are giving old-fashioned print books a makeover.
Many new releases have design elements usually reserved for special occasions — deckle edges, colored endpapers, high-quality paper and exquisite jackets that push the creative boundaries of bookmaking. If e-books are about ease and expedience, the publishers reason, then print books need to be about physical beauty and the pleasures of owning, not just reading.
“When people do beautiful books, they’re noticed more,” said Robert S. Miller, the publisher of Workman Publishing. “It’s like sending a thank-you note written on nice paper when we’re in an era of e-mail correspondence.”
Cutting their own throats
If the big six began selling ebooks without DRM, readers would at least be able to buy from other retailers and read their ebooks on whatever platform they wanted, thus eroding Amazon's monopoly position. But it's not clear that the folks in the boardrooms are agile enough to recognize the tar pit they've fallen into ...
Via Mediabistro's GalleyCat:
The private equity firm RLJ Equity Partners has acquired Media Source, Inc. (MSI), the company that owns School Library Journal, Library Journal, Junior Library Guild and The Horn Book.
RLJ founder Robert L. Johnson had this comment in the release: “We believe MSI is a very important company in terms of its contributions to improving library systems and public school systems … We are pleased to own a company that is a trusted resource for librarians and school systems across the country and look forward to expanding in metropolitan markets domestically and internationally.”
Royal Society journal archive made permanently free to access
The Royal Society has today announced that its world-famous historical journal archive – which includes the first ever peer-reviewed scientific journal – has been made permanently free to access online.
Around 60,000 historical scientific papers are accessible via a fully searchable online archive, with papers published more than 70 years ago now becoming freely available.
Laura sent over a link to Will Amazon Kill Off Publishers?
Amazon is getting a lot of heat these days over its attempts to push its way into the hearts and minds of readers, writers and the larger book culture -- even comic books. Indeed, the news last week that Amazon would aggressively expand its publishing efforts by signing up authors has ruffled the feathers of many agents and publishers.
Will Amazon's plan shake up the book publishing industry as more writers have the option of a one-stop shop: agent, publisher and bookseller? Are publishers still needed?
ACM opens another hole in the paywall
Unlike some newspapers, which are suffering badly in the Internet age, major nonprofit scholarly publishers such as the ACM are in good financial health, with a diverse array of activities and revenue sources: membership dues, conferences, refereed journals, magazines, paid job-advertisement web sites, and so on. Still, there is a lot of experimentation about how to survive as a publisher in the 21st century, and this appears to be the latest experiment.
Three major publishers said on Wednesday that they would allow their authors to access book sales data directly online, a move that appeared to challenge Amazon and its continued efforts to woo authors.