$100 and a T-Shirt

Though zines have been published since at least the 1920s when sci-fi fans began producing their self issued writings devoted to the genre, there has been few attempts to document the history and culture of zine making in a narrative form. This is perhaps the first documentary to provide a comprehensive overview of zines and zine makers and is a welcome document on this facet of underground art and media. Some of the most interesting points in the documentary occur when there is a divergence of opinions on a topic, such as the discussion on pricing and profit, selling out, and making a living from zines. The makers cover a significant amount of ground and they largely succeed in creating a work that informs and entertains both those with only a minimal knowledge of zines as well as those immersed in the culture. Anyone involved with zines is likely to enjoy hearing the thoughts and perspectives from other zine makers (and might also appreciate seeing some of their favorite zinesters being interviewed). Also, the documentary provides an excellent introduction, and perhaps source of inspiration, to someone new to zines. $100 & A T-Shirt is a valuable and much needed documentary on zines and zine culture. Anyone interested with an interest in alternative media and publishing is likely to enjoy this excellent documentary.

Documentary available at Amazon and Netflix.


Controlling a Sea of Information

A journal publisher is having authors contribute information directly to the database.


Insanity @ My Library: A Photo Contest

Scott Douglas has released full details of a book give away contest here:

Time to End the Slavery of Traditional Publishing

In a characteristically provocative talk last week, Richard Smith, who is on the Board of Directors of PLoS, accused traditional subscription-based publishers of acting like slave owners. And he compared open access advocates to abolitionists.

Richard was speaking at the BioMed Central Open Access Colloquium, alongside other "abolitionists," including my colleague Ginny Barbour, Senior Editor at PLoS Medicine. The talks have all been archived on the colloquium website.

Reed Elsevier Selling Business Information Division

The Reed Business Information division is mainly trade publications such as New Scientist and Library Journal. Reed Elsevier indicated that the sale of the division has to do with it's advertising-based model, among other reasons. Last year, 60% of their income came from advertising. At this point in time, there are no buyers for the division, but the private equity investment group Apax Partners has indicated some interest.


Lillian Virginia Mountweazel

In 2005 there was an article in The New Yorker about a fake entry in the 1975 New Columbia Encyclopedia for Lillian Virginia Mountweazel. The entry was a copyright trap.

There is a YouTube video that discusses the entry:


Twelve, Betting on a Dozen Books Each Year

Publishers in the U.S. released more than 291,000 separate titles in 2006. But one imprint that got its start just last year has already had a string of hits with a philosophy of "less is more."

"Nobody has any idea what's going to hit. I think that publishing is basically a corporate form of legalized gambling," says Jonathan Karp, publisher and editor in chief of Twelve, which only releases one book a month — 12 each year.

Karp had already ushered a string of books onto best-seller lists before starting Twelve; he began his career in 1989 as an editorial assistant at Random House and worked his way up to editor in chief. Among the hit books he worked on were Seabiscuit and The Orchid Thief

Story continued at NPR.


Waiting for It

For writers, few steps in the publishing process are as strange as the state of suspended animation between submitting a manuscript and seeing the book appear in stores. The sudden change in cabin pressure from writing to waiting can be jarring — and can last a very long time. “It comes as a huge shock when it happens the first time,” said the Irish writer Colm Toibin, whose first novel, “The South,” appeared in 1990, a year and a half after he turned it in. “It was all slow and strange.”

Technology may be speeding up the news cycle, but in publishing, things actually seem to be slowing down. Although publishers can turn an electronic file into a printed book in a matter of weeks — as they often do for hot political titles, name-brand authors or embargoed celebrity biographies likely to be leaked to the press — they usually take a year before releasing a book. Why so long? In a word, marketing.

Full story here.


Could Amazon and Audible Rewrite the Rules of Publishing?

Steve Jobs said earlier this month that Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader was dead on arrival, since Americans have largely abandoned reading.
“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”
Now Amazon wants the naysayers like Mr. Jobs to listen up –- literally.
On Thursday it said that it had agreed to buy Audible, the Web’s largest provider of downloadable audiobooks, for $300 million. Amazon isn’t saying much about what it will do with the company, but bringing audiobooks directly to its Web site and to the Kindle is the obvious first step.
What comes after that? (Article continued here.)


Japan’s Best Sellers Go Cellular

In Japan, cellphone novels have not only infiltrated the mainstream but have come to dominate it. See complete story in the NYT.



Subscribe to Publishing