The big four publishers have been accused of rigging book prices in Norway, and also collectively have the right to approve any book for distribution through Bladcentralen, “the largest Norwegian distributor of magazines and books to grocery stores, gas stations and newsstands,” which they collectively control. Smaller publishers have complained that they often simply do not receive the approvals. Norway, with its small population of just over 5 million and its unique position in continental Scandinavia outside the European Union, presents easy prospects for cartelization, and it looks like this is just what has happened.

Norway pursues possible publisher cartel favoring own book chains « TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics

This boardroom is about the only thing that hasn’t changed around here,” he told a visitor, sitting at an antique conference table in the heart of Wyndeham’s printing plant here. “Everything else in this plant is different. All the equipment has been changed, and so have the people.” In many ways, printing itself has gone digital. Industrial-strength laser printers enable big printing plants to make quick and cost-effective small-batch runs on demand. Even Wyndeham’s big offset machines — which print from lithographic plates created from digital files — are so highly automated that a crew of just a dozen or so can put them through their paces. “This is almost a peopleless business now,” Mr. Kingston said as he walked through the huge but mostly deserted printing hall. “At one point we had 350 people in this plant. Now we have 114. But the amount of work has more than doubled.

Leaner and More Efficient, British Printers Push Forward in Digital Age - NYTimes.com

They seem to be after everyone and everything,” one Seattle-area bookstore owner, Roger Page, fulminated on his store’s blog last year. He added, “I believe there is a real chance that they will ruin the publishing world.

Bookstores in Seattle Soar, and Embrace an Old Nemesis: Amazon.com - NYTimes.com

You see, textbook publishers market to professors who pick the books, not students who pay for them—where Apple and Amazon have traditionally directed their marketing. The key to innovation, these companies say, is to not try to beat the big publishing houses at their own game. “Their customer base is not the student,” says Nathan Schultz, the chief content officer at Chegg, which offers textbook rentals, e-textbooks and online study help. “Their customer base is the faculty member and, in some cases, the actual institution.” And every year brings a fresh batch of students looking to start college off right, making them wary of waiting for delivery of an online book, let alone experimenting with other ways of learning the material, says Texts.com CEO Peter Frank.

Why Can’t E-Books Disrupt The Lucrative College Textbook Business? ⚙ Co.Labs ⚙ code community

In the proposed book, Karen L. Dawisha, a professor of political science and a Russia expert, writes about President Vladimir V. Putin’s alleged links to organized crime. Last month she received a letter from John Haslam, the press’s executive publisher for political science and sociology, stating that the press would not proceed with the book. “The decision has nothing to do with the quality of your research or your scholarly credibility,” he wrote. “It is simply a question of risk tolerance in light of our limited resources.”

Citing Libel Fears, Cambridge U. Press Won’t Proceed With Book on Putin – The Ticker - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money to pay publishers a title fee for each of those books. The title fees are meant to cover the cost of publishing each book; publishers calculate what they think is fair and share those estimates with the Knowledge Unlatched group. In return for the title fees, the publishers make Creative Commons-licensed, DRM-free PDFs of the selected books available for free download through the OAPEN digital platform (OAPEN stands for Open Access Publishing in European Networks), the HathiTrust digital repository, and eventually the British Library. Authors and publishers decide which Creative Commons license they’re comfortable using. There’s no postpublication embargo period; the books will be available as soon as the publishers and Knowledge Unlatched can process and upload the PDFs. (Click here for a full list of the books selected for the pilot and whether they’ve been published and uploaded yet.)

Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free – Wired Campus - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Like physical books, ebooks should be made available for interlibrary loans “in a manner that is neither cumbersome nor awkward,” and the content should be able to be transferred “efficiently and electronically.” Libraries, not publishers, should decide for how long a reader can access an ebook, and readers themselves should not have to worry about publishers sharing their personal information without their consent. Finally, the library directors called on publishers to offer individual, unbundled titles, and the opportunity to purchase licenses without usage limits. “To summarize, we do not live in isolation,” the statement reads. “We all find ourselves impoverished — always indirectly and sometimes directly — when information fails to reach those in need. Our commitment to sharing is fundamental, as is our commitment to promoting and demanding models that make such sharing possible.”

Liberal arts college library directors ask publishers to ease ebook licensing restrictions | Inside Higher Ed

A study at Indiana University found that “as many as 50% of papers are never read by anyone other than their authors, referees and journal editors.” That same study concluded that “some 90% of papers that have been published in academic journals are never cited.” That is, nine out of 10 academic papers—which both often take years to research, compile, submit, and get published, and are a major component by which a scholar’s output is measured—contribute little to the academic conversation.

Killing Pigs and Weed Maps: The Mostly Unread World of Academic Papers - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society
JRR Tolkien translation of Beowulf to be published after 90-year wait

Hwæt! Almost 90 years after JRR Tolkien translated the 11th-century poem Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings author’s version of the epic story is to be published for the first time in an edition which his son Christopher Tolkien says sees his father “enter[ing] into the imagined past” of the heroes.
Telling of how the Geatish prince Beowulf comes to the aid of Danish king Hroðgar, slaying the monster Grendel and his mother before - spoiler alert - being mortally wounded by a dragon years later, Beowulf is is the longest epic poem in Old English, and is dated to the early 11th century. It survives in a single manuscript, housed at the British Library, and has inspired countless retellings of the myth - recently and famously by the late Seamus Heaney, whose translation won him the Whitbread book of year award in 1999.
Tolkien himself called the story “laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination”, saying that “the whole thing is sombre, tragic, sinister, curiously real”.

» via The Guardian

JRR Tolkien translation of Beowulf to be published after 90-year wait

Hwæt! Almost 90 years after JRR Tolkien translated the 11th-century poem Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings author’s version of the epic story is to be published for the first time in an edition which his son Christopher Tolkien says sees his father “enter[ing] into the imagined past” of the heroes.

Telling of how the Geatish prince Beowulf comes to the aid of Danish king Hroðgar, slaying the monster Grendel and his mother before - spoiler alert - being mortally wounded by a dragon years later, Beowulf is is the longest epic poem in Old English, and is dated to the early 11th century. It survives in a single manuscript, housed at the British Library, and has inspired countless retellings of the myth - recently and famously by the late Seamus Heaney, whose translation won him the Whitbread book of year award in 1999.

Tolkien himself called the story “laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination”, saying that “the whole thing is sombre, tragic, sinister, curiously real”.

» via The Guardian

Book publishers, as per a 2002 court decision Random House v. Rosetta Books, must get an author’s permission to republish a book as an ebook. Publishing houses, the Second Circuit court found, had the rights to publish the work “in book form”—a form that was found to exclude ebooks. If publishing houses wanted to make an ebook of a book they had published, they would have to renegotiate each book with its author. For record labels, the opposite is the case, the result of a 1998 Second Circuit decision Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers, Ltd. v. The Walt Disney Company. In that case the court was asked to decide whether Disney had violated the copyright on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, which appears in the Disney film Fantasia, when Disney had released Fantasia on video. Boosey, who held the Stravinsky rights, argued that the original 1939 license covered the “only format known at the time, acetate-based film produced for viewing in theaters.” The court disagreed, siding with Disney: “Converting old music to new formats did not require the licensee to negotiate a new license with the copyright owner,” Heald writes. For this reason, “music publishers can proceed with the digitization of their back catalog without competing to re-sign authors or hiring lawyers to re-negotiate and write new contracts.”

Why Are So Few Books From the 20th Century Available as Ebooks? - Rebecca J. Rosen - The Atlantic