Keep in mind that books don’t just compete against books. Books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.

Amazon Spells Out Objectives in Hachette Negotiation (via jonathan-deamer)

(via jonathan-deamer)

Mr. Armato says he frequently hears from scholars that they turn to Amazon for the books they need, especially when interlibrary loan proves too slow or cumbersome. The downside is that “this has gone hand in hand with the decline of library sales for the university-press monograph,” he says. Scholars might buy fewer books through Amazon if their libraries were buying more of those books in the first place. University presses also wonder to what extent libraries are buying books directly from Amazon as well as through the distributors that traditionally deliver scholarly books to the library market. Amazon doesn’t really share customer data, so “we just don’t know where those books are going,” Mr. Armato says. “We have no idea who the final purchasers are.” (Ms. Darksmith at California’s press says that, as a retailer with a focus on customer service, Amazon isn’t really “set up to feed back that kind of information” to the suppliers whose goods it sells.) For its part, Amazon considers university presses “an important and growing business for us, and we appreciate the role they play in disseminating research and education content,” a company spokeswoman says via email. “We don’t comment on our business terms, but we always work to develop strong professional relationships with publishers, including university presses, so together we can deliver low prices and a great experience for our customers.”

Around Retail Giant Amazon, University Presses Tiptoe and Whisper - Publishing - The Chronicle of Higher Education

We can now say that self-published authors earn more in royalties than Big 5 authors, combined. This may reverse itself by the time February rolls around, but it adds weight to a recent story in The Guardian about the unsustainability of traditional publishing if authors continue to earn less while their publishers earn more. It bears putting a number here and stressing what we are seeing: Self-published authors are now earning nearly 40% of all ebook royalties on the Kindle store. The days of looking at self-publishing as a last option are long gone. A lot has changed in six months.

July 2014 Author Earnings Report – Author Earnings

Publishing is one of the most ballyhooed metrics of scientific careers, and every researcher hates to have a gap in that part of his or her CV. Here’s some consolation: A new study finds that very few scientists—fewer than 1%—manage to publish a paper every year. But these 150,608 scientists dominate the research journals, having their names on 41% of all papers. Among the most highly cited work, this elite group can be found among the co-authors of 87% of papers.

The 1% of scientific publishing | Science/AAAS | News

Amazon is not evil, but it is ruthlessly, ruthlessly efficient,” said Andrew Rhomberg, founder of JellyBooks, an e-book discovery site. “As consumers, we love Amazon’s efficiency and low prices,” he said. “But as suppliers, it is a toad that is hard to swallow.

Amazon, a Friendly Giant as Long as It’s Fed - NYTimes.com

But getting to a sustainable new world order requires a thorough overhaul of academic publishing industry. The alternative vision – of “open science” – has two key properties: the uninhibited sharing of research findings, and a new peer review system that incorporates the best of the scientific community’s feedback. Several groups have made progress on the former, but the latter has proven particularly difficult given the current incentive structure. The currency of scientific research is the number of papers you’ve published and their citation counts – the number of times other researchers have referred to your work in their own publications. The emphasis is on creation of new knowledge – a worthy goal, to be sure – but substantial contributions to the quality, packaging, and contextualization of that knowledge in the form of peer review goes largely unrecognized. As a result, researchers view their role as reviewers as a chore, a time-consuming task required to sustain the ecosystem of research dissemination.

Incentivizing Peer Review: The Last Obstacle for Open Access Science | Science Blogs | WIRED

The reason for the mass retraction is mind-blowing: A “peer review and citation ring” was apparently rigging the review process to get articles published. You’ve heard of prostitution rings, gambling rings and extortion rings. Now there’s a “peer review ring.”

Scholarly journal retracts 60 articles, smashes ‘peer review ring’ - The Washington Post

Amazon has proposed giving Hachette’s authors all the revenue from their e-book sales on Amazon as the parties continue to negotiate a new contract. Hachette’s response on Tuesday was to suggest that the retailer was trying to make it commit suicide. “We call baloney,” the retailer fired back.

Amazon Angles to Attract Hachette’s Authors - NYTimes.com

With a 12-month, $80,000 Sloan grant, the association will develop an online platform that scholarly publishers can use to upload metadata about new titles as well as digital versions of the books themselves. Once a journal editor identifies a reviewer for a particular book, the reviewer will be given access to the e-version of the title to work with.

Anthropology Group Will Test a Faster, Digital Approach to Book Reviews – Wired Campus - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education

The AAU/ARL task force describes its plan as a “prospectus for an institutionally funded first-book subvention” that would shift the burden of payment to authors’ home institutions. That would “address the principal causes and effects of the market failure for monographs,” the prospectus says. It envisions that colleges and universities would agree to pay for an openly available “basic digital edition” of some faculty members’ first books; scholarly publishers could offer those titles for sale in other formats too. The plan also envisions that universities with a high level of research activity would offer subventions for three or four books a year, with an “annual subvention exposure” of roughly $68,000 to $73,000. Small colleges would pay for one or two books a year, and offer more modest subventions.

Who Ought to Underwrite Publishing Scholars’ Books? – Wired Campus - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education