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". 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?

Buying Book Blurbs

A new company recently emerged on the publishing scene, offering writers the chance to buy and sell book endorsements. The New York Times discusses the "business" of book-blurbing.


Lifespan of a 2nd Print Run...a Couple of Months?

Publishers Weekly reports on the additional print-on-demand run for 'Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska’s Political Establishment Upside Down'.

Epicenter Publisher Kent Sturgis expects interest in the book to remain strong "at least through the vice presidential debate set for October 7."

Small Book Publishers Offered New Technology

Hundreds of small, independent publishers will have easier access to digital book technology under a new service offered by Perseus Books Group, the result of agreements between it and more than a half-dozen technology companies, Perseus is expected to announce on Thursday.

The new service, called Constellation, will allow independent publishers to make use of electronic readers, digital book search, print-on-demand and other digital formats at rates negotiated by Perseus on their behalf. Unlike large publishers, small ones typically lack the resources to use digital technology and as a result often bypass it altogether.

Full article in the New York Times.


Epicenter Hustles to Meet Demand for Palin Bio

John McCain surprised most when he chose Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska to be his running mate—and the only book available on Palin is, unsurprisingly, from an equally dark horse publisher: Epicenter Press, which has its primary office in Kenmore, Wash., and publishes books about Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Epicenter published Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment Upside Down by Kaylene Johnson in April as a $19.95 hardcover featuring 50 photographs.

Publisher Kent Sturgis said the book had been doing well before the announcement; Epicenter went through its 7,000-copy first printing in less than a month, and then reprinted 3,000 more copies, which were all shipped by early Friday. "I walked in the door [Friday] morning and the first call was from Barnes & Noble; they wanted 15,000 copies," Sturgis said. "I’ve got an e-mail queue here that’s longer than I can see."

Full story at Publisher's Weekly



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