Publishing

Somebody please tell me the path to survival for the illustrated book business

Commentary by publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin: Somebody please tell me the path to survival for the illustrated book business

Penguin Parent Buys iUniverse Owner

Pearson, parent company of Big Six publishing company Penguin, acquired self-publishing company Author Solutions Inc. (ASI) from private equity firm Bertram Capital for $116 million in cash. The five year old company is better known by its brand names iUniverse and Xlibris, under which it has published about 190,000 print and electronic books so far by about 150,000 authors. The company has grown at approximately 12 percent for the past three years; in 2011, it made about $100 million in revenues.

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Book printed in ink that vanishes after two months

We’ve seen a few innovations that have offered a twist on traditional reading habits, from offering short works by new authors based on the duration of train delays to a temporary edible book made of pasta and a smokeable book with pages made from rolling papers, printed with the lyrics of rapper Snoop Dogg. Taking elements of both of these ideas, Buenos Aires-based bookshop and publisher Eterna Cadencia has released El Libro que No Puede Esperar – which translates as ‘The Book that Cannot Wait’ – an anthology of new fiction from Latin American authors printed in ink that disappears after two months of opening the book.

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This is reminiscent of William Gibson's book Agrippa

There was an article about Agrippa just a couple days ago: Picking Up the Pieces of William Gibson's Self-Destructing Poem

Scientific Open Access

Free access to British scientific research within two yearsRadical shakeup of academic publishing will allow papers to be put online and be accessed by universities, firms and individuals

The government is to unveil controversial plans to make publicly funded scientific research immediately available for anyone to read for free by 2014, in the most radical shakeup of academic publishing since the invention of the internet.

Under the scheme, research papers that describe work paid for by the British taxpayer will be free online for universities, companies and individuals to use for any purpose, wherever they are in the world.

In an interview with the Guardian before Monday's announcement David Willetts, the universities and science minister, said he expected a full transformation to the open approach over the next two years.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jul/15/free-access-british-scientific-research

Skeptical that there will be a Netflix for books

Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin is skeptical there will be a Netflix, Audible, or Spotify for books.

Blog post: Subscription models seem to me to be for ebook niches, not a general offer

Affection for PDA

An interesting article reporting on a recent session at the meeting of the American Association of University Presses (AAUP), relating a discussion about patron-driven acquisitions (PDA) and its impact on library collection development.

"Libraries...are beginning to flip the process of collection-building on its head by striking deals that let their patrons’ reading habits determine which works they purchase."

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/06/20/research-foresees-demand-driven-book-acquisiti...

Selling direct will become an essential capability for publishers to have

Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin argues that publishers will need to be able to sell direct to consumers in the future. Interesting question is that if this happens what will be the effect on libraries?

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Writer’s Cramp: In the E-Reader Era, a Book a Year Is Slacking

Some authors, like the novelist James Patterson, are producing 12 or more books a year to satisfy readers who are increasingly used to on-demand entertainment.

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Elsevier's recent update to its letter to the mathematical community

Elsevier’s recent update to its letter to the mathematical community

"They are behaving much as one would expect: offering minimal concessions that will look as good as possible while keeping their profits intact. I realize that asking them to deal with the objections to bundling and exposing their journals to genuine competition is making a demand they are most unlikely to accede to, since their huge profits are based on stifling this competition. So instead, we must press on with the more positive step of developing alternative models, something I shall report on in the near future. "

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