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The archivist’s conundrum: History is written by the lucky
July 8, 2014 | 5:31 am

_76046394_black-prince_splAn article a friend posted on Facebook got me thinking. It involves recently-discovered evidence about a historical figure, Prince Edward of Woodstock, suggesting that a putative “massacre” he committed might not actually have happened at all. It occurred to me that, in this modern era, we tend to assume we can know anything about someone just from what we find in a quick Google. It's sometimes hard to wrap our brains around the idea that much of what we know from ancient times could be wrong, as all we have is what managed to get saved through sheer dumb...

Amazon wants co-op payments, and also concessions in the UK
June 24, 2014 | 4:02 am

So, thanks to a leak, we’ve finally found out what the Amazon/Hachette spat is over. The New York Times reported a couple of days ago that an anonymous source within Hachette says that Amazon wants to extract extra fees for a number of services, including the pre-order button, placement in personalized recommendations, and so on. It looks kind of skeevy at first glance, but it’s really the same kind of “co-op” promotional payment Barnes & Noble extracts for prominent placement of books in its stores. You know how you sometimes see displays dedicated to a single book. or...

Beware Author Solutions, and never ever pay for publishing
March 9, 2014 | 1:11 pm

Author SolutionsIf this isn’t Rule One of self-publishing, it should be: You should never, ever, ever pay someone to publish your work for you. Full stop. End of sentence. Now, it’s fine to pay for useful services, of course. If you can afford it, it could be a good investment to pay someone to edit your work, or to design your cover art, or even to format your book for you if you don’t feel confident of your own skills in that regard. (Though I’d honestly recommend paying $40 for Scrivener and spending a few days learning...

Small press publisher IntoPrint brings out-of-print books back into print
November 6, 2013 | 10:21 am

intoprint_publishing“From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors” has an interview with Anny Rusk, publisher for IntoPrint Publishing. “Cynsations” has another such interview that covers a lot of the same ground. As its name might suggest, this small publishing house uses e-book and print-on-demand publishing to bring out-of-print books back into print. It was born of her business partners’ realization that digital technology meant there’s no need for a book to stay out of print. Anny: John Campbell and Greg Luther realized that in the tech age there’s no such thing as an out-of-print book, just books...

A Future for Print in the Digital Age?
January 11, 2013 | 11:45 am

By Gloria Quintanilla 2012 felt like a decisive year for print. E-Book sales surpassed print book sales on Amazon for the first time, and widely-read publications like Newsweek decided to give up on print media altogether, and instead to transition fully into digital publishing. All the while, pundits are still debating if there is a future for print in a world dominated by digital formats. Similar discussions are going on between book lovers and authors, who are worried about the publishing industry being ill equipped to respond to their demands. So here's the question: Is it possible to have the best of both worlds? Can...

Espresso Book Machine comes to South Africa
July 29, 2012 | 11:06 pm

South African IT news site IT Web reports that the University of Johannesburg has just acquired an Espresso Book Machine of its very own. Most of the article summarizes what we already well know about the print-on-demand machine and its uses for printing and binding store-quality paperbacks in mere minutes, but it does quote On Demand Books as projecting over 150 machines installed world-wide by the end of 2012. It also links to a Guardian article from 2009 in which the head of marketing for UK bookstore chain Blackwell suggested that the Espresso “has the potential to be the...

Espresso Book Machine not without its drawbacks, University of Utah librarian reports
May 14, 2012 | 12:15 pm

Speaking of the Espresso, a digital publisher’s paen to self-publishing through it led me to a blog post from last year in which librarian Rick Anderson of the University of Utah’s Marriott Library discussed the Espresso’s pros and cons in a bit greater depth than I’ve seen other posts go into. The problems Anderson found mainly have to do with a few technical glitches in the device itself, particularly due to the desert climate of his library being drier than the Espresso was originally designed for. Also, the device has a 45-minute-to-1-hour warmup time due to the glue...

Mike Shatzkin discusses the motives of Amazon
April 30, 2012 | 11:50 pm

Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin’s latest column is a look at the motives behind Amazon’s competitive behavior, and how it might end legacy publishing. Perhaps the most interesting thing here is that Shatzkin spends the first half of the post giving the devil his due, explaining why Amazon has been looking so good to so many people with manuscripts they want to get out there. If you’ve got the manuscript in hand and you have a choice between [spending months to go from manuscript to published book and earning lower royalties] and having books to show your...

The other Amazon-publisher disagreement: print on demand
April 29, 2012 | 2:02 pm

Everyone is paying attention to the e-book pricing fight against Amazon right now, but Bloomberg Businessweek reports there’s another disagreement going on between Amazon and the publishers behind the scenes that nobody has really noticed: the question of print on demand. Amazon already offers its own print on demand services, used for mainly for small independent or self-publishing, and the technology has gotten a lot better over the fifteen years since it was introduced—print-on-demand titles are by now largely indistinguishable from large-print-run paperbacks. The rub is that Amazon would like to expand its print-on-demand operations so that it can print copies of...

The Evolution of E-books and Interlibrary Loan in Academic Libraries
January 3, 2012 | 9:30 am

Title: The Evolution of E-books and Interlibrary Loan in Academic Libraries Author: Heather Wicht (U. of Colorado) Source: Collaborative Librarianship (3.4, 2011) Abstract: As academic libraries add electronic monographs (e-books) to their collections in increasing numbers, they are frequently losing the ability to lend this portion of their collections via Interlibrary Loan (ILL) due to licensing restrictions. Recently, new options have emerged as alternatives to traditional ILL for e- books. These options introduce new opportunities for collaboration across library departments and with- in consortia. This article discusses the changing nature of resource sharing as related to e-books, ex- amines e-book lending capabilities as they currently exist,...

Library of Alexandria makes 19,000 titles available on the Espresso Book Machine
July 22, 2011 | 10:39 am

Egypt's Library of Alexandria has announced that it's placed 19,000 works from its collection on the Espresso Book Machine (EBM) network, and plans to add another 150,000 Arabic titles soon. The library operates three EBMs, but this also means people around the world can print replicas of the library's titles from their nearest EBM. You can read the press release on On Demand Books' News page. Via INFOdocket...

J.A. Konrath addresses proposed bookstore boycott
May 22, 2011 | 11:48 am

stirredI just posted about how Amazon, via self-publishing and agent-based publishing, poses a threat to publishers who still haven’t updated their business model to compete. Here’s a post from self-publishing booster J.A. Konrath’s blog that points out one of the reasons why Amazon is such a threat. Responding to one bookstore calling for a boycott of Stirred, the book he’s publishing under Amazon’s new Thomas & Mercer imprint (and which will consequently be placed as printed editions in bookstores as well as published electronically), Konrath points out that he has done a lot for bookstores over the years, and...