Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

06/28/2016

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press Offers Shelf Space to Self-Publishing Authors


nook press logoSelf-published authors who have obtained a certain level of ebook sales can now print publish their books and sell them in B&N stores and online at BN.com. This means that B&N will offer these authors a coordinated, national distribution, never before available.

My, my – it appears that self-published authors are now being sought after and even accommodated a little. Of course, all things publishing has been changing dramatically over the past few years and self-published authors are now even allowed to use the indoor bathrooms at literary events🙂

This announcement came from Digital Book World today:

Barnes & Noble announced today the launch of a new self-publishing, print platform called Nook Press, which will allow authors to turn their ebooks into print versions that can be sold in B&N stores and online at BN.com.

The program is self-service and allows authors to create both hardcover and paperback versions.

Through the program, authors who have sold 1,000 copies of a single ebook in the past year will be able to sell their print books on the local, regional or national level through B&N.

Moreover, authors who have sold 500 copies of a single ebook in the past year are eligible to participate in in-store events at B&N, including book-signings and discussions.

If eligible authors want their books to be considered for in-store placement, they can submit their books for review to B&N’s Small Press Department and one of the company’s corporate category buyers. To participate in in-store events, eligible authors can submit for an event review from a B&N store manager.

“Barnes & Noble is proud to be the first to offer coordinated, national distribution for self-published authors who will benefit from in-store placement at Barnes & Noble stores and online at BN.com,” said Fred Argir, B&N’s chief digital officer, in a press release. “No one else can offer self-published authors a retail presence like Barnes & Noble can.”

What do you all think about Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press? At least they are trying – even though the effort is in their interest to save their own ass a little, too.

04/25/2016

SPARC – Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resource Coalition


sparc_colorI have published numerous posts on my blogs Re academic or scholarly publishing due to my belief that this field has grown into a flawed and unfair operation or was inherently skewed from inception. Mainly (and briefly) at how academic journal publishers enjoy humongous profit margins through outrageous subscription fees to universities and other players while paying the research workers/authors nada for creating the content that makes their journals possible in the first frigging place.

I am a firm believer in open access to research work. From Wikipedia: Open access (OA) refers to online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access (e.g., access tolls) and free of many restrictions on use (e.g. certain copyright and license restrictions).[1] Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses,[2] book chapters,[1] and monographs.[3]   

Tonight, however, we are going to talk about two groups that are hoping to provide better access to Federally funded research projects. Specifically, how federal agencies will make the digital data associated with the research available for access and reuse.

One is a government group, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the other is an academic (I think) group, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) – Why do they HAVE to come up with these cute long names whose acronym represents a misspelled action word like ‘spark’?

Anyway, this is a release from the Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) publishing community news service, Knowledge Speak:

US SPARC and Johns Hopkins University Libraries collaborate to launch a resource analyzing US federal data sharing policies – 19 Apr 2016

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Libraries, has released a new resource for tracking, comparing, and understanding U.S. Federal funded research data sharing policies. This free tool, launched at datasharing.sparcopen.org, provides a detailed analysis of 16 federal agency responses to the directive issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research. Specifically, the new resource focuses on how these agencies intend to make the digital data associated with the projects they fund available for access and reuse.

SPARC will host a webcast on May 11th, at 3pm EDT / 12pm PDT with the authors behind the resource who will provide their perspective on the data sharing policies, including important points of similarity and difference between agencies. The webcast is open to all SPARC members, and registration is free but required.

The SPARC/JHU Libraries resource can be used by researchers, librarians, policy makers, and other stakeholders to explore and compare agency plans. The detailed review, performed by JHU data experts, includes an analysis of the principles, scope, and limitations of agency responses to the OSTP directive, as well as a discussion of any goals and plans the agencies have articulated for future iterations of their policies. The resource contains practical information that can be used by active or prospective grant awardees to easily understand where research data can be shared, how quickly, and what other procedures must be followed to ensure grant compliance. It will be updated as additional federal agency plans are released and analyzed, and as current plans are revised.

The SPARC/JHU Libraries resource is available freely at datasharing.sparcopen.org. Additionally, the entire dataset of policy analyses can be downloaded without restriction from the site.

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03/19/2016

Did the Cuban Sanctions Ban the Export/Import of Books?


havana_books

Books in Havana

Did the U.S. REALLY ban all book exchanges between Cuba and the United States? Not completely, it seems — Oh, and I, as well as many other regular, uninformed citizens, I suspect, did not even realize that books were a part of any such sanctions!

At any rate, researching this article (when the headlines caught my attention) uncovered a few informative tidbits:

One, that OFAC stands for the ‘Office of Foreign Assets Control’ and is part of the Department of the Treasury, which administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions. How about that?

Two, there is an information exception in the Cuban sanctions, called the Berman amendment, that states that the import of books from, and the export of books to, Cuba is permitted and may not be forbidden by OFAC.

Three, the group of publishers who petitioned the U.S. Government to “End the Book Embargo Against Cuba.” should have hired a professional writer to research the sanctions and word the petition in a clear, concise manner!

More details Re amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, movie, television and record companies and how they are now allowed to go hog-wild in Cuba, hiring Cubans to work on “filming or production of media programs (such as movies and television programs), the recording of music, and the creation of artworks in Cuba,” (leaving book publishers behind in the dust?) can be found in the following article from Lexology. Lexology collaborates with the world’s leading lawyers and other thought leaders to deliver tailored updates and analysis to the desktops of business professionals worldwide on a daily basis:

End Book Publisher Illiteracy on Cuba Sanctions

 

 

 

 

12/07/2015

The Parallel Universe of Publishing


In the traditional or conventional publishing world, there is more and more ‘dark matter’ flying around that it cannot control or measure. This dark matter is generated by the ever-increasing and evolving digital or ebook side of the publishing universe; AND, since traditional publishing (TP) cannot control or measure all the new digital data with the old paper-related devices such as ‘rights’ management (that’s “precisely what DRM represents: an absurd and pathetic attempt to recreate in the digital realm a command-and-control system that profits off the characteristics of *paper*”) then TP simply makes statements such as “digital or ebooks are down or losing sales.”

Truth is, TP cannot ‘measure’ all this increasing ‘dark matter’ that holds much more favorable digital data. So their statistics are skewed or inaccurate based on incomplete data.

Talk about publishing intrigue!

Len Epp, a contributor to TechCrunch, delves into this dark matter in detail in tonight’s research/resource article:

 

On The Dark Matter Of The Publishing Industry

Key excerpts:

“Recently there were a pair of revealing eruptions in the world of ebooks and the volatile book publishing industry more generally.

The first was the announced demise of Oyster, an ebook subscription startup based in New York and backed by $17 million in VC funding.

While the announcement of Oyster’s shutdown is remarkable for its lack of transparency, apparently after its sun sets, Oyster’s excellent e-book reader expertise will be transferred to Google in the form of its founders and probably some of its tech or even the entire company, but perhaps not its pricey ebook contracts with publishers.”

“Now, there were some very smart people backing Oyster, and I suspect that a) they correctly saw that awesome tech would succeed in driving ebook reading, b) they had some kind of plan to monetize their user base, but ran into the common problem of being unable to finance a longer runway than they hoped for, which happened because c) their West Coast-y VC-style optimism prevented them from fully internalizing the willfully destructive, cynical recalcitrance of the incumbent publishers who, perhaps knowing what they were doing, forced Oyster into senseless, self-sabotaging ebook contracts.”

“There was more bad, meaning good, news to come. The next day, the New York Times gleefully reported that ebook sales were down in general. The surprising news was predictably greeted with what Mathew Ingram memorably called “a whiff of anti-digital Schadenfreude”.

Problem was, the news wasn’t just untrue, it was obviously untrue.”

“Essentially, the numbers the New York Times article was based on were limited to just 1,200 publishers, all of them being what is euphemistically referred to as “traditional” publishers — meaning “doorstopper” paper codex publishers whose business is essentially composed of a highly structured web of legal arrangements that historically evolved to maximize profit from the various physical characteristics of, you guessed it, the paper codex.”

“It was like the “traditional” publishing industry just pretended the ebooks being traded outside its own grumpy universe didn’t exist, because their “traditional” methods of tracking couldn’t see them.”

Open the door into the rest of the dark matter and publishing intrigue in The Parallel Universe of Publishing.

 

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11/08/2015

The Printed Book – The Latest On Its Fate


                       Printed Books – Here to Stay?

In the continuing development of the ‘evolving publishing industry’, as in the evolution of ANY industry or of the world, itself, for that matter, there are going to be growth spurts and plateaus.

And when either one of these phenomena occur, speculation runs rampant Re why – and all kinds of predictions materialize running all the way from Armageddon of a product (e.g. the printed book) to the newest replacement product (e.g. the ebook)!

The truth of the matter is neither of these book platforms are going anywhere – In fact, more hitherto unknown platforms will be marching onto the publishing stage in the future AND the future thereafter🙂

What is and will be happening is the acceptance of existing and new publishing products will be integrated, massaged and utilized by different demographic areas at different times.

Tonight’s research article outlines one such current ‘state of the printed book’ forecast; with a little of its history thrown in for good measure:

 

The Past, Present and Future of the Printed Book

By Anuj Srivas as printed in The Wire

Hear that? That’s the sound of Johannes Gutenberg rolling in his grave. Amazon, the very company that has done the most to disrupt the industry surrounding the printing press, has opened a physical bookstore.

Dustin Kurtz over at New Republic has a great review of what the company is billing as a “brick-and-mortar store without walls”: Amazon Books, located just outside a shopping mall named University Village in Seattle, comes with the company’s touch; reviews, ratings and all. Books are organised into stacks such as “Most Wish-listed Cookbooks”, customers can look at online reviews while physically browsing a book and the price of all inventory is determined by Amazon’s online algorithm, the one used for the company’s website.

Perhaps it’s only fitting that Amazon has finally opened a bookstore. The store’s existence shows us how developments in the publishing industry, which has often confused business analysts, have come full circle over the past ten years.

The all-too-familiar tale of digital disruption that we’ve seen play out in television (Netflix), transportation (Uber/Ola Cabs), accommodation (Airbnb) and music (iTunes, Spotify) hasn’t quite applied to the printed word. This isn’t to suggest, however, that Amazon is throwing in the towel and plans to open any more bookstores, or even pursue it as a serious strategy; only that the march of technological progress hasn’t followed its usual course.

Read the entire article here.

 

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09/20/2015

Are Book Awards and Book Sales Related? How Representative is the Authors Guild?


           The Book Publishing Landscape

The publishing landscape has changed so much that past things of importance and impact are no longer – fizzled out like a spent firecracker sparkler.

Examples are the Man Booker award in the U.K. and the National Book Awards in the U.S. – Oh, these awards still have a sentimental value to some, but, apparently, do not generate any large increase in book sales, notoriety or the economic bottom line for authors as they may have done in the past. And what about authors who don’t receive awards?

Recent surveys by the Authors Guild have exposed a 30% loss in author income since 2009 – But, these losses represent authors under the umbrella of traditional publishing. Most (not all) are not even making a living wage.

So, how do we explain the thousands of self-published authors (again, not all) who are making quite a good living wage? Let’s find out.

Tonights research article comes from WUWM Public Radio in Milwaukee, WI., written by

Key excerpts:

Washington Post critic Ron Charles reviews the kinds of books that get nominated for literary awards. These are not the blockbusters, the books written by the likes of Stephen King and Nora Roberts that make millions.”

“Robinson says the landscape for writers has changed in many ways. They have to do more self-promotion, sometimes even offering their work for free online. The Authors Guild blames the decline in writers’ income on a combination of factors: online piracy of digital material, consolidation within the publishing industry, which has led to more focus on the bottom line, the dominance of Amazon and the rise of self-publishing which has cut into the market for traditional publishers.”

“Eisler is a self-publishing advocate who says the Authors Guild doesn’t represent all writers. Its membership skews older and it is mostly interested in maintaining the status quo of traditional publishing. Self-publishing may not be for everyone, he says. There is no question writers have to be more entrepreneurial. But he says it also offers them a choice when it comes to money and control — and the end result isn’t really all that different from traditional publishing.”

” “Yes, it’s absolutely true that most self-published authors aren’t able — at least not yet — to make a living from their writing,” he says. “But that’s also absolutely true of legacy publishing. It’s always been true.” ”

Read the entire article titled: “When It Comes To Book Sales, What Counts As Success Might Surprise You

 

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07/17/2015

Is It Possible That Amazon Is Not ‘All’ Bad News For Publishers?


Might Amazon’s debilitating effect on local shops be about to change?

For the past 20 years Amazon has disrupted the publishing industry from stem to stern. Could it be that much of the resulting adaptation and metamorphosis has actually been good news for publishers?

Depends on what you consider. What kind of publisher? What kind of book? Book audience location. Book platform. Book distribution system access. Digital technology, etc., etc.

Hell, many of these considerations weren’t even in existence 20 years ago! And while Amazon didn’t create or discover all of the above mentioned ingredients, they were the first to mix them in a masterful menu – creating a smorgasbord of possibilities – the understanding of which is still being deciphered today.

Tonight’s topic will discuss the how’s and where’s of some of the possible positive changes that Amazon has wrought within the publishing industry and the reaction/attitude of the big five publishing houses as well as others (Bowker’s, etc.) in the overall industry.

Key excerpts from tonight’s research/resource article:

“It has been presented as a David and Goliath battle. This is despite the underdog status of the largest publishing houses in the world. As Amazon has become the primary destination for books online, it has been able to lower book prices through their influence over the book trade. Many have argued that this has reduced the book to “a thing of minimal value”.”

“Despite this pervasive narrative of the evil overlord milking its underlings for all their worth, Amazon has actually offered some positive changes in the publishing industry over the last 20 years. Most notably, the website has increased the visibility of books as a form of entertainment in a competitive media environment. This is an achievement that should not be diminished in our increasingly digital world.”

Presenting:

Amazon is 20 years old – and far from bad news for publishers

By , as published in The Conversation (UK). Academic rigor, journalistic flair  

It has now been 20 years since Amazon sold its first book: the titillating-sounding Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, by Douglas Hofstadter. Since then publishers have often expressed concern over Amazon. Recent public spates with Hachette and Penguin Random House have heightened the public’s awareness of this fraught relationship.

It has been presented as a David and Goliath battle. This is despite the underdog status as the largest publishing houses in the world. As Amazon has become the primary destination for books online, it has been able to lower book prices through their influence over the book trade. Many have argued that this has reduced the book to “a thing of minimal value”.

Despite this pervasive narrative of the evil overlord milking its underlings for all their worth, Amazon has actually offered some positive changes in the publishing industry over the last 20 years. Most notably, the website has increased the visibility of books as a form of entertainment in a competitive media environment. This is an achievement that should not be diminished in our increasingly digital world.

Democratising data

In Amazon’s early years, Jeff Bezos, the company’s CEO, was keen to avoid stocking books. Instead, he wanted to work as a go-between for customers and wholesalers. Instead of building costly warehouses, Amazon would instead buy books as customers ordered them. This would pass the savings on to the customers. (It wasn’t long, however, until Amazon started building large warehouses to ensure faster delivery times.)

This promise of a large selection of books required a large database of available books for customers to search. Prior to Amazon’s launch, this data was available to those who needed it from Bowker’s Books in Print, an expensive data source run by the people who controlled the International Standardised Book Number (ISBN) standard in the USA.

ISBN was the principle way in which people discovered books, and Bowker controlled this by documenting the availability of published and forthcoming titles. This made them one of the most powerful companies in the publishing industry and also created a division between traditional and self-published books.

Bowker allowed third parties to re-use their information, so Amazon linked this data to their website. Users could now see any book Bowker reported as available. This led to Amazon’s boasts that they had the largest bookstore in the world, despite their lack of inventory in their early years. But many other book retailers had exactly the same potential inventory through access to the same suppliers and Bowker’s Books in Print.

Amazon’s decision to open up the data in Bowker’s Books in Print to customers democratised the ability to discover of books that had previously been locked in to the sales system of physical book stores. And as Amazon’s reputation improved, they soon collected more data than Bowker.

For the first time, users could access data about what publishers had recently released and basic information about forthcoming titles. Even if customers did not buy books from Amazon, they could still access the information. This change benefited publishers as readers who can quickly find information about new books are more likely to buy new books.

World domination?

As Amazon expanded beyond books, ISBN was no longer the most useful form for recalling information about items they sold. So the company came up with a new version: Amazon Standardized Identifier Numbers (ASINs), Amazon’s equivalent of ISBNs. This allowed customers to shop for books, toys and electronics in one place.

The ASIN is central to any Amazon catalogue record and with Amazon’s expansion into selling eBooks and second hand books, it connects various editions of books. ASINs are the glue that connect eBooks on the Kindle to shared highlights, associated reviews, and second hand print copies on sale. Publishers, and their supporters, can use ASINs as a way of directing customers to relevant titles in new ways.

Will Cookson’s Bookindy is an example of this. The mobile app allows readers to find out if a particular book is available for sale cheaper than Amazon in an independent bookstore nearby. So Amazon’s advantage of being the largest source of book-related information is transformed into a way to build the local economy.

ASINs are primarily useful for finding and purchasing books from within the Amazon bookstore, but this is changing. For example, many self-published eBooks don’t have ISBNs, so Amazon’s data structure can be used to discover current trends in the publishing industry. Amazon’s data allows publishers to track the popularity of books in all forms and shape their future catalogues based on their findings.

While ISBNs will remain the standard for print books, ASIN and Amazon’s large amount of data clearly benefits publishers through increasing their visibility. Amazon have forever altered bookselling and the publishing industry, but this does not mean that its large database cannot be an invaluable resource for publishers who wish to direct customers to new books outside of Amazon.

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06/14/2015

Libraries Are the Last Defense Against A Google-Apple-Amazon-Facebook Information Oligopoly


John R. Austin

John R. Austin

Open and free access to information, and thus knowledge and education, is being stripped from our core rights as humans and citizens of the world. We are being force-fed what to read, how to read and in what format to read available content. And in the ever-increasing digital age this results in taking advantage of our less fortunate citizens, resulting in even greater disparity among the economic classes.

Do you realize that the supersonic explosion of data creation due to new technologies has resulted in 90% of all existing data being less than two years old!

Tonight we will examine how we must stop the control of information by a few monied private concerns (an oligopoly) by strengthening a venerable, existing, democratic institution dedicated to the free access of information by all.

Key excerpts from tonight’s research resource:

“Over 90 percent of Americans feel that libraries are a vital part of their communities. Compare this to 53 percent for the police, 27 percent for public schools, and just 7 percent for Congress, and you’re looking at perhaps the greatest success of the public sector.”

“The risk of a small number of technically savvy, for-profit companies determining the bulk of what we read and how we read it is enormous. The great beauty of the rich, diverse library system that has developed over the past century and a half has been the role of librarians in selecting and making available a range of material for people to consult and enjoy. No one pressing an ideology can co-opt this system; no single commercial entity can do an end run around the library system in the interest of profit.”

“What gets short shrift in BiblioTech, then, is the importance of retaining some kind of monastery of dusty knowledge, a church of books. Print has been around since human ancestors drew tracks in the dust and is still the only form of durable information that requires no mediation—that is, no device to interpret it. Reading a book is the most direct relationship a person can have with information apart from listening to someone speak and there must be some kind of common cultural institution filled with pews of comfy chairs and the musk of paper. Like the bicycle, the book is the best thing for what it does and will likely be around as long as humans are around because, as James Bennet wrote in the Atlantic, “technologies have a way of supplementing, rather than simply replacing, one another.””

““It’s not too much of a stretch to say that the fate of well-informed, open, free republics could hinge on the future of libraries,” Palfrey writes in his conclusion. In fact, the fate of our republic hinges on the vitality of all public life, and libraries should not be required—even on double or triple budget—to take on the whole burden.”

“We certainly need a free and open institution, prepped for the 21st century, where people can engage themselves in democracy. But then, of course, we also need a democracy.”

Read the rest of tonights incisive research article:

Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google

Written by Amien Essif and published in AlterNet

 

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Resource article: http://www.alternet.org/books/why-libraries-matter-more-ever-age-google?akid=13132.219868.IP14MJ&rd=1&src=newsletter1036759&t=19

05/09/2015

The Int’l Assoc. Of STM Publishers – Do They Have a Conflict of Interest Viewpoint?


The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers’ (STM) three-day Annual U.S. Conference 2015  was held in Washington, DC last week; AND many of the keynote speakers took offense at the copious growing calls for changes/fairness in this lucrative publishing sector.

Are they fighting inevitable change? I think so.

One thing I’ve always championed in academic research is the fair treatment of the research authors. They are not fairly compensated and actually have to pay to get their articles published in ‘recognized’ academic journals that are highly compensated from almost hijacked scholarly institutions, libraries, etc. I also firmly believe in Open Access academic publishing to level the playing/political field between academia, academic publishers and the actual research authors.

Excerpt from Gavin Simpson as posted in ‘Bottom of the Heap‘ under Science:

“The cost of subscribing to academic journals: Much has been written about the Research Works Act [you could do a lot worse than read Saurodpod Mike on the subject], academic publishing and the relationship between the scientists who do most of the work and the publishers who then assert somewhat draconian rights over those works. A boycott of the biggest publisher of them all, Elsevier, started to gain a fair degree of traction with almost 8000 scientists having pledged to limit some or all of their interactions with Elsevier and its journals.

One of the allegations levelled at Elsevier is that they charge such exorbitant prices for subscriptions to their journals that they essentially force university libraries to subscribe to so-called “bundles” or “deals” that allow access to huge swathes of titles. Accessing all those titles individually would be prohibitively costly for any institution, but by offering bundles, STEM publishers are accused of exploiting the high prices of their most popular titles to foist titles onto users and librarians that have no need for them.”

Read the following research/resource article for tonight, make up your own mind Re the keynote speaker’s stance and please offer your comments.

 

STM’s Hot Button Issues: Open Access, Data and Social Media

By Paula Gantz:

According to discussions at the Int’l Assoc. of STM Publishers conference, OA and data-driven articles need more scrutiny, even as scholars open up online.

Trends and new approaches that are reinvigorating science, technical and medical publishing were explored last week at the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers’ (STM) three-day Annual U.S. Conference 2015 in Washington, DC.

Blasting Open Access

Setting an inspiring tone for the conference, Jeff Beale, scholarly communications librarian at University of Colorado,

JEFFREY BEALL

Denver, lambasted Open Access in his keynote address on the first day.

“Most of the information about Open Access comes from Open Access advocates and furthers their aims and goals, and it is misleading, he said. The Open Access movement has spawned a host of predatory publishers who are causing a breakdown in the research culture globally. “It is giving rise to counterfeit, junk science promoting non-approved products,” he maintained.

Beale likened Gold Open Access, where the author pays, to graffiti. He chastised “unfair government legislation” that essentially “eliminates freedom of the press by favoring one business model over another.”

He urged academic publishers to persevere in their resistance to Open Access mandates, suggesting that they stick with Green Open Access or maybe a single Open Access journal to silence advocates.

Beale also reprimanded librarians for being Open Access supporters, and turning a blind eye to predatory publishers because it is not politically correct.

Beale maintains a blog which lists predatory publishers, hijacked journals and misleading metrics companies. There are over 700 publishers on his list. He particularly called attention to hijacked journals which target real journals with impact factors. “They even copy the addresses and telephone numbers of the journals. Most of their authors think that they have published in an impact factor journal.”

Pushing Back Against Data

The keynote speaker on the second day, Christine L. Borgman, presidential chair in information studies at UCLA and

CHRISTINE BORGMAN

author of “Big Data, Little Data, No Data,” defined data as representations of observations, objects or other entities used as evidence of phenomena for the purposes of research or scholarship.

“Publications are arguments made by authors, and data are evidence used to support the arguments. You can use data to support different arguments. This is where the publication-data relationship breaks down, by assuming that one set of data produces one paper,” she pointed out.

According to Borgman, data is not easily definable because they are compound objects and ownership is rarely clear. Authorship is also a problem; attribution might make more sense. “The concept of authorship needs definition,” she said.

She also observed that most open data is not very useful and not very marked-up.

“I have been pushing back at the metaphor of publishing data. Are we going to curate, preserve and steward data? Data are not peer-reviewed usually,” she remarked. “There is the assumption that communities will put data in repositories, but this assumes that researchers are going to share data. That is the most problematic assumption of all. The labor to document data is not economically rewardable. It is not in scientists’ interests to release to an unknown other, and there is a lack of incentives to reuse data.”

Borgman urged the publishing industry to focus on the important skills of data curation and stewardship. She also warned that data repositories are funded on three to five year grants and are frequently at risk of going dark for lack of investment.

 

 

 

Social Media Matters in STM, Too

Cassidy R. Sugimoto, assistant professor at Indiana University, focused the third day’s keynote onaltmetrics, social

Cassidy R. Sugimoto

media and researcher behavior in light of these trends. She suggested that people no longer want to remain anonymous and are building their reputations through social media. But she voiced a fear that time spent on creating digital reputations might detract from time spent on academic research.

Sugimoto suggested that there is a need to capture the heterogeneity of researcher behavior that expands beyond pure publication. This will lead to better metrics that can improve scholarship. She pointed to mentoring as one of the uncaptured metrics.

“The altmetrics movement has failed to do what it promised to do,” she stated. “Altmetrics needs a far greater protocol and greater validity. Altmetrics have been around for five years, but still only looks at the impact of publications. Nothing has been made visible that wasn’t before.”

She suggested eliminating the term “alt” and focusing on the validity of metrics; refining how they are captured and evaluated, which might require human intervention.

“Maybe tweets are not important. May they just have to do with humor value and not scientific exchange. We have to think about what’s being tweeted and also who is tweeting. Sometimes it’s organizations. Sometimes it’s bots,” she observed.

Sugimoto commented that open peer review has largely failed, but it is not true that researchers are not active online. “Researchers need to be incentivized. We need to think about micro-reviewing too, so that the process does not demand as much.”

04/06/2015

Amazon Is Winning at Publishing – Here’s Some Reasons Why


Winning The Publishing Race

Tonight’s post will get into why Amazon is so much better at marketing and selling than the book publishing industry.

Briefly, the answer lies in push marketing versus pull marketing, timing (being late to the dinner table) and true innovation.

Tonight’s research/resource article is from The Digital Reader (Ink, Bits and Pixels) written by Nate Hoffelder:

 

The Ubiquitous Bookstore, Or Why Amazon is Winning at Publishing

Scholarly Kitchen posted an article yesterday which explains why Amazon is so much better at marketing and selling than the book publishing industry.

Joseph Esposito uses the post to lay out his vision for a new type of bookstore – one which could compete with Amazon. Describing Amazon as a destination site, Esposito sees its success as primarily due to pull marketing. In other words, Amazon draws people in by offering a huge warehouse of books and a great shopping experience.

To compete with Amazon, Esposito thinks publishers need to adapt to the new nature of the internet:

But the Web is now being brought to us; it’s evolving into a push medium. All that time we spend looking at the news feeds for Facebook, Flipboard, and Twitter point to where the Web is going and where new bookstores will have to be. To build a bookstore that goes head to head with Amazon is foolhardy. It would be easier to carry the ball into the defensive line of the Chicago Bears.

So a new bookstore is going to have to bring its offerings to where people are rather than the other way around; a new bookstore has to be ubiquitous. A recent example of this comes from HarperCollins,which has created an arrangement with Twitter to sell copies of the bestselling Divergent series of young adult novels from within individual tweets.

The fact that this is a topic of discussion in the publishing industry, in 2015 no less – folks, this is why Amazon is winning whatever war publishing feels it is fighting with the retailer.

It’s not that Esposito is wrong so much as that he is five years late to the discussion. Both Amazon and authors started push marketing at least 5 years ago.

 

Authors have been on social media since at least 2010, and they’ve been pushing people to bookstore to buy books. This concept is so well established that there are dozens of blog posts by indie authors which discuss the nuances of how to go about it.

What’s more, Amazon mastered the concept of push marketing even further back. I don’t know exactly when Amazon launched its affiliate network, but that was explicitly designed to give other websites a financial incentive to push customers to Amazon (h\t to Marshall Poe for making a similar argument in TSK’s comment section).

Tell me, can I make more money by pushing people to HarperCollins’ bookstore than by sending them to Amazon? No? Then why would I bother?

Speaking of HarperCollins, they are a great example of a publisher trying and failing to market and sell directly to consumers. Have you visited HarperCollins.com, and tried to browse, search, or buy an ebook?

I have, and so have several commenters on The Passive Voice. It’s terrible. If, as Esposito posits, direct retail is the future of publishing, then HC literally cannot build a retail site to save its life.

But never mind HarperCollins; let’s consider what Esposito wrote next:

From a conceptual point of view, the most interesting project I have stumbled upon for “post-destination” bookstores is that of Chris Kubica, who explained his work in two articles in Publishers Weekly, which you can find here and here. Kubica gathered a group of publishing people in New York to brainstorm about a post-Amazon bookstore. The conclusion was that each individual potentially could be the site or source of a bookstore–a bookstore of one. With seven billion people on the planet (and growing), that’s potentially seven billion bookstores. Now, how can Amazon compete with that?

Easy. Amazon thought of it first, they thought of it ages ago, and they do it better than anyone in publishing.

Folks, if you want to beat Amazon then you need to come up with an idea first. You can’t decide to adopt an SOP five years after it becomes an SOP. That’s not innovative; it’s reactionary.

 

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