Publishing

Have We Reached the End of Book Publishing As We Know It?

The book business as we know it will not be living happily ever after. With sales stagnating, CEO heads rolling, big-name authors playing musical chairs, and Amazon looming as the new boogeyman, publishing might have to look for its future outside the corporate world.

The Library Cat Who Touched the World

Get your order in for the Dewey bio, ""Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World"...out next week.

The Spencer IA orange long-haired tabby became a national media celebrity and, when he died at age 19, earned the mark of that distinction - an obituary in the New York Times.

Librarian and author Vicki Myron, 60, who had never written a book, soon landed an astounding $1.25 million advance from major New York publisher Grand Central to tell the cat's story. "CBS Sunday Morning" recently filmed a spot for a feature segment on Myron, who is retired from her job as library director and off and running on an extensive book tour. .

"It's one of our lead titles for the fall," said Melissa Bullock, publicist at Grand Central, formerly Warner Books. "We're expecting it to be on the best-seller list."

My MLS will come in handy here, somehow. I know it.

I know, my absence of late has left a giant gaping hole in your hearts somewhere right below the left ventricle or something. It's hard to visualize on the ultrasound, because no one in the clinic knows really how to work one of these things...

We'll hold the medical stuff at the moment, at least, as it pertains to me, except to say that we've got a loose name of what has been keeping me from living a normal life for -- well, it's been at least 20 years, but it only got particularly nasty in the last eight, and horribly blood-curdling nasty in the last five. It's a sleep disorder, they can not cure it, and if the case proves to be beyond a moderate sort of manifestation, they really can't treat it terribly effectively. A lot of non-sleep/neurological doctors will tell you that they can... There's this new drug... Uh. No.

Long and the short is, the sleep-neuro-guy says that I function at about 20% capacity on a good day. It isn't going to get better than that at this point, or even in the mid-range future.

So I've come to terms with the fact I am not going back to work in a normal environment. I've come to terms that I will never be able to see a movie in a theater again. I'm trying to deal with the idea that if I can come home and mentally function (or at least not walk into solid objects) after a twenty minute trip to the grocery store, I am having a pretty damn good day.

I hate not doing stuff. You know that, right? -- Read More

Mystery Store Proprietors to Reveal the Mysteries of Modern Publishing at the LOC

From Shelf-Awareness: Barbara Peters and Robert Rosenwald, owners of Poisoned Pen Books Bookstore and Poisoned Pen Press, Scottsdale, AZ, will be the featured speakers at the Library of Congress at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 7, at an event that is part of the Books & Beyond author series sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The pair will address how book and print technology has developed; how electronic manuscript submissions, e-books, digital ink and wireless reading devices have affected the industry; digital rights management; the interplay of Web and print media; video trailers for books; the popularity of graphic novels and gaming based on books.

Instant Books from the Library

University of Michigan has an Espresso Book Machine. Article in Business Week.

Are journal editors biased against certain kinds of authors?

Social Science Statistics Blog In a working paper entitled "Can We Test for Bias in Scientific Peer Review?", Andrew Oswald proposes a method of detecting whether journal editors discriminate against certain kinds of authors. His approach, in a nutshell, is to look for discrepancies between the editor's comparison of two papers and how those papers were ultimately compared by the scholarly community (based on citations). In tests he runs on two high-ranking American economics journals, he doesn't find a bias by QJE editors against authors from England or Europe (or in favor of Harvard authors), but he does find that JPE editors appear to discriminate against their Chicago colleagues.

High textbook prices changing publisher habits

Here is another textbook story that has a slightly different angle. The article is about a publisher called Flat World Knowledge that has the business model to give away their books online and to sell paper editions for $25. Full story here.

How Fat is The Long Tail?

At Publisher's Weekly: One of the featured speakers at Friday’s BISG meeting was Anita Elberse, associate professor at Harvard Business School, who challenged some conclusions of Chris Anderson’s long tail theory. Elberse said that while the growth of online retailing has resulted in the expansion of products that are available for sale in the long tail, there is little evidence to show that sales of niche products have significantly increased. “The tail is getting longer, but it isn’t getting fatter,” Elberse asserted, referring to Anderson’s contention that with more items in the tail, sales will increase.

Full article here.

Almost Open Access

A recent announcement by Knowledge Exchange appeared on Yale’s liblicense mailgroup. It describes an innovative collaborative project by which universities and governmental sponsors work together in purchasing formally published material in order to reduce costs and improve access to scholars of the member communities. Way back in 2005 Joseph J. Esposito posted a proposal, also to liblicense, on forming consortia for informally published material, the kinds of things that increasingly find their way into institutional repositories (IRs). (IRs also include copies of formally published work.) Joseph J. Esposito called this proposal Almost Open Access and sketched a means by which the consortial repository could be made, if not entirely sustainable, at least far less expensive than some of the IR plans now in operation.

Only the title of the winning candidate's wife will be published in paper

"Only the title of the winning candidate's wife will be published in paper" is a line in an article in the WSJ titled "Amazon Scores Exclusive E-Book Deal".

Amazon.com Inc. struck a deal with a midsize publisher to offer separate biographies of the two potential first ladies on an exclusive basis to users of Amazon's Kindle electronic-book reader.

The two titles, "Cindy McCain: Elegance, Good Will and Hope for a New America," by Alicia Colon, and "Michelle Obama: Grace and Intelligence in a Time of Change," by Elizabeth Lightfoot, are being published as e-books by Lyons Press, an imprint owned by Morris Communications Co.'s Globe Pequot Press publishing unit, based in Guilford, Conn.

Only the title of the winning candidate's wife will be published as a traditional, $14.95 paperback.

Full article here.

An academic library or public library that has a patron that wants to read or cite the biography of the losing candidates wife will only be able to get the book on the Kindle. This limited availability of certain texts is going to raise issues for libraries. What additional problems or issues do you foresee?

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