TOC Report: Keynote, Rethinking the role of funding academic book publishing

toccon-bug.gifFrances Pinter, Bloomsbury Academic. Startup academic publisher. Publishing monographs in academia, an endangered species. 1980 sold 3,000 copies of typical monograph, now sell about 350. Challenge: how do we get to a point where we can sustainably publish long form monographs. (Discussion covers only social sciences and humanities)

Academics still want independent verification of quality, editing, typesetting, curation, branding. Pressures on academic community: expanding academic ecosystem and need more publishing services, governments and foundation wants to see impact for research they are funding. Pressures on academic publishers: technology driven changes require investment in time of global downturn, authors still want services and royalties and want “free at point of use”.

New business model: website will go live in April. Put plain book content on line in HTML under Creative Commons. Will sell printed book and in Epub. Also sell enhanced ebook, content with extra content to be bought individually or by subscription. Going to create an experimental lab on line, with tools for collaboration, added value, cc licensing and monetization. Not sure where it will lead. Problem is that this doesn’t reduce first copy costs, duplicates the worst of the distribution issues with too many middlemen. Wants to find new pathways for money that is already there. Look at library budgets and take a small amount and aggregate and create an International Library Coalition for Open Access Books. Consortium will aggregate funds to pay for first copy costs and publishers publish as open access content and can make money on POD sales and formats, etc. Can get cost of monograph ot $2/copy for any library who participates.

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