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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.
October 16 article at NYT.com
It has set up a flagship line run by a publishing veteran, Laurence Kirshbaum, to bring out brand-name fiction and nonfiction. It signed its first deal with the self-help author Tim Ferriss. Last week it announced a memoir by the actress and director Penny Marshall, for which it paid $800,000, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said.
Publishers say Amazon is aggressively wooing some of their top authors. And the company is gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide.
Several large publishers declined to speak on the record about Amazon’s efforts. “Publishers are terrified and don’t know what to do,” said Dennis Loy Johnson of Melville House, who is known for speaking his mind.
Amazon's low-priced bestsellers and Kindle e-reader are famous for changing the book industry. What's not so well known is how deeply Amazon's tentacles reach into all parts of the industry, including its growing interest in inking deals with authors to publish some of the hit books Amazon sells.
Booksellers and publishers are crying foul, saying they're being cut out of the chain by an aggressive Goliath. But some authors who have recently signed with Amazon Publishing say the company simply offered them a better, fairer deal than traditional publishers.
Full piece at: CNNMoney
Discussion and comments on article at Amazon Sellers thread
Peer review and the corruption of science
Pressure on scientists to publish has led to a situation where any paper, however bad, can now be printed in a journal that claims to be peer-reviewed...By and large, the problem does not arise from outright fraud, which is rare. It arises from official pressure to publish when you have nothing to say.
Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist
"What we see here is pure rentier capitalism: monopolising a public resource then charging exorbitant fees to use it. Another term for it is economic parasitism. To obtain the knowledge for which we have already paid, we must surrender our feu to the lairds of learning."
See Also: Response to George Monbiot’s Rant against Academic Publishers
"No one doubts that commercial publishers are in the business of making money. But the way they make money is by doing something that academics value but that they would not do for themselves, left to their own devices. What I mean is captured in two words: ‘innovation’ and ‘extension’. "
Bloomberg LP is buying legal tax and regulatory research company BNA for about $990 million in an all-cash deal.
Are There Too Many Books?
In fact, among the various forms of information and entertainment, books are distinctive because there are so many of them. Every movie, television program, news organization, and the top tiers of websites combined represent a relatively small number compared to the books being published. Books do fall into categories, such as fiction, nonfiction, and textbooks, and subcategories like politics, economics, history, romance, science-fiction and so on; yet, most books have to be considered separate entities with their own strategy for reaching an audience.