Friday Video: Library As Publisher

Library as Publisher

What do you think about when you think about Library as Publisher? Ready to jump right in? Are you eager to jump in but wondering where to start? Or perhaps you are asking yourself just what the heck this idea of “Library as Publisher” actually means!

Now is your opportunity to learn the answers to those questions and more by participating in a series of five monthly online “Brown Bag” discussions, each on a different facet of the notion of “Library as Publisher”. These one hour online discussions will feature case studies meant to educate and inspire. Participants will have the chance to ask questions of those libraries that have already entered the realm of publishing with services such as open textbooks, local author fairs, publishing assistance, digital commons, income generating websites, and more, and they will be encouraged to share their own ideas and stories as well.

Ultimately, the goal of these Brown Bag discussions is to encourage libraries and archives to test the waters as “publishers”. To this end, the NY 3Rs Association, Inc. will offer a “Library as Publisher Innovation/Incubator Grant” open to all libraries in New York. Keep watching your inboxes for more information.

The series is sponsored by the NY 3Rs Association – I2NY Work Group on Library as Publisher. Read more on the I2NY project.

The videos are not embedded-able so head on over to http://www.ny3rs.org/i2ny/publisher/1565-2/ and find the recordings at the bottom of the page. The first two are available at the time of this posting.

Cory Doctorow: Oxford English Dictionary – the future

Compact OEDI hadn’t reckoned on the fact that Oxford University Press is an academic publisher, and the academic publishers aren’t like trade publishers. They have their own way of doing business – a model that has been the source of significant controversy in scholarly circles, but which has largely passed over the heads of the civilian population of non-scholarly readers.

OUP – which has been selling dictionaries and thesauri since the 19th century – will not sell you a digital OED or HTOED. Not for any price.

Instead, these books are rented by the month, accessed via the internet by logged-in users. If you stop paying, your access to these books is terminated.

I mentioned this to some librarians at the American Library Association conference in Chicago this spring and they all said, effectively: “Welcome to the club. This is what we have to put up with all the time.”

Academic, reference and research libraries have become accustomed to renting their access to journals and important reference works.

These services are called “subscriptions,” but the word “subscribe” has a new meaning for libraries. For hundreds of years, libraries that subscribed to periodicals got to keep them forever. When I worked in libraries, I was accustomed to shelving, repairing and circulating periodicals that stretched back decades – sometimes rebound in handsome almanacs, sometimes in archival formats like fiche or film, often in lovingly maintained original paper.

Libraries “subscribed” to periodicals the same way I did – and just as I got to keep my back-issues of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, so too could my local library retain its copies of important research journals forever.

To “subscribe” to a magazine was to purchase all the year’s forthcoming issues in advance. But for librarians, “subscriptions” are now effectively rental agreements. I’d known about this, but it didn’t hit home until I tried to buy the digital OED and HTOED. And it got under my skin.

Oxford University is famed for many things, but among people who care about books, it is celebrated for the Bodleian Library, a “deposit” library founded in the 14th century whose remit is to collect every scholarly work published in English and store it for the ages.

Librarians at the Bodleian have literally described their mission as safeguarding essential human knowledge for future civilisations. This mission of stewardship in enduring knowledge has always inspired me. It is indisputably noble, important, and wonderful. Every time I visit Oxford and pass by the Bodleian, my heart beats a little faster.

The Bodleian – indeed, the whole idea of archiving – is incompatible with a world of digital scholarship where renting is the only option.

Thus, two of Oxford’s most iconic institutions – its deposit library and its press’s flagship titles – have each embraced a model that the other has utterly rejected.

Read the full article @ The Guardian.

Hugh Howey takes on the Author’s Guild

I’ve not yet read any of Hugh Howey’s work but I’ve heard enough good things about his novels that I recently ordered these. This recent blog post of his has just made me a fan.

Hugh HoweyThey weren’t even supposed to have jobs, these interlopers. They weren’t supposed to earn a living on their own. That’s what the gatekeepers said — men and husbands and fathers. They said this lesser race of people were supposed to be satisfied. They should be grateful to subsist on scraps and on domestic crumbs.

The 1912 textile strikes were led primarily by women, who were treated horribly in the workplace even as they fought to improve conditions for all. The slogan that emerged from the 1912 strikes was: We want bread, but we want roses, too! Women workers demanded fair wages and fair treatment all at once. They fought for an increase in pay and a promise not to be discriminated against.

There are parallels one century later. I don’t want to compare anyone’s working conditions to what women went through at the turn of the 20th century (or today for that matter), but once again we see interlopers fighting for the rights of all workers, even as they fight for dignity and respect. Once again, you have the very people being denigrated and judged and barred from entry working out here on the curb for the better treatment of those on the factory floor.

We have to. Because we sure as hell aren’t getting any help from our leadership.

Scott Turow, the head of the Authors Guild, spends his time fighting for publishers and for bookstores — the very parties who stand between writers and readers. These publishing partners can be great facilitators or they can be great abusers, and it should be the job of the Authors Guild to ensure which. Just as it should be a union’s job to make sure factory and retail don’t harm the transfer of labor to the consumer.

Instead, the Authors Guild came out for price-fixing and higher costs to readers.  Scott Turow sees Amazon as the enemy, even as an increasing number of authors today make a living primarily through self-publishing and e-books. I have yet to see Scott lash out at publishers for their unfair contracts and horrid pay. When HarperCollins released data showing that it makes more from an e-book sale than a hardback sale while the author makes less, where was Scott? Where was anyone representing authors?

I don’t have much of a platform, and nobody should really care what I think  – but this is my blog, so let me tell you where I stand on things these days. And let me also introduce you to the people who stand for me and with me, whether they mean to or not.

I stand for the ability of those who choose to write for a living to have the best opportunities possible. It’s a narrow focus, but it’s one I’m passionate about. I’ve been passionate about this for longer than I’ve been writing. It goes back to my book review and bookstore employee days. As a reader who loved stories, I cared for those who created them. Now that I’m on the other side and have become friends with storytellers, this cause is strengthened. And the more I learn about the abuses authors suffer, the more I want to speak out.

So here’s what I think the Authors Guild should be saying. Here is what their platform should be. (And I’m too busy running a hypothetical publishing house in Houston, so for goodness sake, don’t think I want another job. I don’t):

Read the full post @ HughHowey.com.

 

Google Search Secrets is off to the printer

sauers_burns_cover_rev1It’s been a long time coming but Google Search Secrets authored by yours truly and my NLC colleague Christa Burns is done and, according to ALA, off to the printer. We should see our copies by the end of the month and it should be available for purchase in early November. (However, you’re welcome to pre-order it from ALA or Amazon right now.)

Piracy Doesn’t Harm eBook Sales, Publisher Says

Mutiny“In order to protect our authors´ rights and interests, Springer proactively screens websites for illegal download links of Springer eBooks and subsequently requires hosts of such download sites to remove and delete the files or links in question,” they write.

The sentence that follows, however, is perhaps of even more interest. While the company admits that piracy is a serious issue, they have yet to see any evidence that it hurts their business (emphasis added).

“While we have not yet seen harmful effects of eBook piracy and file sharing on our eBook portfolio, these are nevertheless considered serious topics,” Springer notes.

In addition to the revelation above, the publisher later notes that torrent sites and other forms of file-sharing “rarely present a threat to eBook content.

It’s interesting to see that one of the largest book publishers in the industry doesn’t see piracy as a direct threat to its revenues. While Springer doesn’t go into details to explain the absence of a harmful effect, we have to assume that they have some data to back up this claim.

Read the full article @ TorrentFreak.com.

Authors for Library Ebooks

a4le logoAre you an author? Do you want all eBooks to be available to all libraries?

Our nation’s readers and libraries need your help.

Did you know that many ebooks are not available to most libraries at any price? Of those we can buy, libraries frequently pay 150 to 500% more than the consumer price, forcing us to purchase fewer copies for library readers to discover. As more books appear only in electronic form, the situation will become intolerable for our nation’s readers.

Authors benefit when libraries have the ability to buy and lend ebooks. Libraries help authors through:

  • Exposure. Libraries help people find you. Readers discover new authors, topics, and genres in our libraries. Libraries help authors get noticed: we host you at author events; we feature your books at book clubs; and we spotlight your titles on our websites.
  • Sales. Research shows that our loans encourage people to buy your books. Additionally, many libraries now provide an option for people to click and “buy-it-now” from our websites.
  • Respect. Libraries honor your work. We protect copyright, and we pay for what we use. We want you to keep writing, and make a living at it.
  • Love of reading. Libraries help grow readers – and writers.  Library lending promotes literacy, exploration, creativity, and innovation.

The Authors for Library Ebooks campaign seeks to add author voices to those of librarians and readers in support of equitable access to digital content through libraries. There are many ways you can support this effort:

  • Sign on to the Authors Stand with Libraries statement.
  • Help us raise awareness of this issue with publishers, other authors and the general public.
  • Learn more about what’s at stake.

Literature and knowledge—in all their forms—are essential. We must protect access to them for all people through libraries. Stand with libraries as we seek sustainable solutions for our nation’s readers, thinkers, writers and dreamers.

Check it all out @ http://www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/a4le.

Publishing Jargon-Buster: Ten Words Unpacked

Tor-UK-logoI was a bookseller for ten years, I’ve been a librarian for nearly 20, and a published author for more than ten, and I still learned a few things from this article.

In publishing, as in any other industry, we scatter our days with curious and unusual words which we take for granted. But even for us, new ones pop up to surprise us every now and then. Thinking of Blippar and Wibalin here—though I thought for a while that our books were bound with wibbling. Which made me laugh! Here to entertain and explain are ten bits of jargon, don’t use them all at once….

3) GSM

Grams per square metre: a term used to specify the weight of paper. As an example, a standard piece of A4 paper is 90gsm and a standard printed fiction book might be printed on 52-120gsm. An illustrated book might be printed on glossy “photographic” paper so the pictures show up well, on a heavier weight of paper than used for a standard novel.

Read the full article @ TOR.com.

More on Amazon.com and Fanfic

amazon-logoFrom Consumerist.com:

Oh and also, erotica might not fly with Amazon, as the content guidelines include the following restrictions: No pornography, no offensive content, no illegal/copyright infringing content, it can’t be a poor customer experience (misleading title, horribly formatted), no excessive use of brand names and no “crossover” stories that pick and choose elements from other series.

And then John Scalzi has some thoughts:

Essentially, this means that all the work in the Kindle Worlds arena is a work for hire that Alloy (and whomever else signs on) can mine with impunity. This is a very good deal for Alloy, et al — they’re getting story ideas! Free! — and less of a good deal for the actual writers themselves. I mean, the official media tie-in writers and script writers are doing work for hire, too, but they get advances and\or at least WGA minimum scale for their work.

Another red flag:

“Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright.”

Which is to say, once Amazon has it, they have the right to do anything they want with it, including possibly using it in anthologies or selling it other languages, etc, without paying the author anything else for it, ever. Again, an excellent deal for Amazon; a less than excellent deal for the actual writer.