Publishing

Taking a Closer Look at Open Peer Review

From the Chronicle of Higher Ed
By Jennifer Howard

Open peer review—which gives anyone who’s interested a chance to weigh in on scholarly content before it’s published—just got an institutional boost. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has given New York University Press and MediaCommons a $50,000 grant to take a closer look at open, or peer-to-peer (P2P), review, the press announced today. MediaCommons is a digital scholarly network hosted by the NYU Libraries and affiliated with the Institute for the Future of the Book.....Read the rest here.

What standards vendors use to measure the underlying quality of their product?

On editing & updating standards
"What is important about these excerpts (and in my opinion, I don’t believe these systems or approaches to be unique to West) is that they get to an underlying issue not being asked of lawyers and legal researchers generally, that is, what do you, the consumer, consider to be a quality update to a legal treatise? It’s rare to find lawyers talking about such things, and law librarians had a perfect opportunity to do so at the recent AALL Vendor Colloquium, but instead limited their focus to pricing and subscription models, vendor communications, digital v. print, etc. Honestly, what difference does all of that make if you don't know what standards vendors use to measure the underlying quality of the product?"

Release Dates and Double Standards

New York Times: To publicize the release of “The Pale King,” a posthumously published novel by David Foster Wallace that is set in an Internal Revenue Service processing center, Hachette Book Group created a marketing campaign centered on the traditional tax day: April 15. Except that’s not really when it went on sale.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble were selling the book on their Web sites on Wednesday, long before many bookstores would receive copies. Nicole Dewey, a spokeswoman for Little, Brown, part of Hachette, said the official on-sale date for the book was March 22, but the publication date — when the book is available everywhere — remained April 15. (A countdown clock on the Hachette Web site ticks away the days, hours and minutes until April 15.) “I don’t really understand the confusion,” Ms. Dewey said. “This happens all the time. There’s nothing unusual about it.”

It was a distinction lost on many bookstores, who erupted in protest on Wednesday when they heard that Amazon was already selling the hotly anticipated book. -- Read More

Publishers Weekly Planning First pre-ALA Supplement

For the first time, PW will publish a special supplement ahead of this year's American Library Association's annual conference set for June 23-28 in New Orleans. The pre-ALA issue will be published May 30 and will include features on library funding, the e-book loan controversy and an overview of the meeting program, in addition to other pieces on the show. "Our subscribers have been telling us they want more coverage of the library market and the ALA supplement is part of our commitment to act on that request," said PW publisher Cevin Bryerman who will handle advertising inquiries at cbyerman@publishersweekly.com. Andrew Albanese will be overseeing the supplement's editorial content and can be reached at aalbanese@publishersweekly.com.

College & Research Libraries Goes FULLY Open Access

College & Research Libraries Goes FULLY Open Access
"In spite of economicuncertainty, I am pleased that ACRL has endorsed full open access in practice for its primary research journal. The intellectual value of open access, I believe, justifies its cost. Now the content of our journal will be freely available online to all around the world. Those of us involved in the production
of College & Research Libraries applaud its move to open access, but we are well aware of the financial challenges we face with our scholarly journal."

The Pareto Principle and the True Cunning of HarperCollins

The Pareto Principle and the True Cunning of HarperCollins
So here's the cunning. By focusing on popularity-driven revenue mechanisms, HarperCollins is pushing money towards the smash hits and away from the long tail. Libraries may be adversely affected, but they're collateral damage. It's the long tail publishers that HarperCollins is trying to destroy.

Project MUSE Editions and the University Press e-book Consortium (UPeC) Announce Merger

Project MUSE has been the go-to source for scholarly ejournals in academic libraries for years, and now that go-to source will soon include ebooks from the University Press e-book Consortium. The two recently announced the merger, which will launch on January 1, 2012.

Librarian Unhappiness Over New Harper e-Book Lending Policy Grows

The sometimes uneasy relationship between librarians and book publishers reached a new level of tension after HarperCollins—citing the explosive growth of e-book sales—announced a new e-book lending policy beginning March 7 that will limit the length of its library licenses to a maximum of 26 loans per e-title. The revised policy has outraged librarians, who say the new policy will strain budgets and is shortsighted, ignoring the role of libraries in encouraging literacy and building an e-book market for publishers. The issue has become so emotional that some librarians have organized a boycott of HarperCollins new books over the issue.

Full article at Publisher's Weekly

Random House Adopts New Model for Selling E-Books

Beginning Tuesday, Random House will join other major book publishers in selling its e-books using the so-called agency model, setting its own prices for e-books while the retailer takes a commission.

Five of the six largest publishers switched to the agency model last spring after Apple introduced its iPad.

“The agency model guarantees a higher margin for retailers than did our previous sales terms,” Random House, publisher of Stieg Larsson, George W. Bush and John Grisham, said in a statement on Monday. “We are making this change both as an investment in the successful digital transition of our existing partners and in order to give us the opportunity to forge new retail relationships.”

Full article

We are tipping right now

Blog post by publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin:

But it has seemed clear to me for a long time that ebooks offered compelling advantages over print — portability, ease of purchase, and a lower cost basis that must inexorably lead to lower prices — that would increasingly sway many of the inevitably growing number of people who had a readable handheld screen in reach most of the time. And my long experience dealing with bookstore economics made it clear to me that the consequent sales subtraction from brick-and-mortar stores would lead to closures, which would lead to longer travel times for customers to get to the stores, which in turn would drive more people to purchase print or digital books online. And that would lead to more closures. This is a virtuous circle if you’re in the ebook business or sell print online. Or if you want to see Americans consume less gasoline.

It is a vicious cycle — a death spiral — if you’re a bookstore. - Full article

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