Monday, June 30, 2008

the publishers' views

This piece in the Chronicle about a meeting of scholarly publishers has some interesting tidbits of information in it for academic libraries.

First, it mentions a lawsuit going on between Georgia State and three publishers about fair use and electronic reserves.

Second, some university presses are now selling more titles through Amazon than to all libraries combined:

But the online bookseller also emerged as a powerful steadying force for university presses. Douglas Armato, the director of the University of Minnesota Press, shared the news that his press's sales figures through Amazon were 26 percent greater than its combined sales to libraries. Other directors and editors reported seeing similar effects. Some speculated that in an Amazon, print-on-demand world, nothing really has to stay out of print—as long as you can figure out who owns the rights.

Is this a sign that Amazon is effectively functioning as a library for some in academia, especially now that it can cover more of the out-of-print realm? Of course, our library buys some books from Amazon so I don't know if they're correcting for that.

Another interesting observation is that University Presses are no longer whining about Google digitizing their books. They finally have come around to realize that being in Google
Book Search actually is good for sales.

University presses have also, for the most part, made their peace with Google—or at least Google Book Search. Since Microsoft has dropped its competing Live Search Books program, the Google option has become "the main game in town for discovering scholarly monograph content online," as the conference program put it.

All but a handful of university presses—that is, all except no more than six, according to Chris Palma, strategic partnership development manager for Google Book Search —have signed up.

1 comment:

rjp said...

There was a great piece posted to Northwestern University Library's copyright blog detailing the Georgia State case.

With the publishers failing to specify exactly where they prescribe the boundaries of fair use, it seems that defining too much is akin to defining pornography--the ol' "I'll know it when I see it."