Digital

Go Read This | The Guardian on Scientific Publishing & Robert Maxwell

Absolutely smashing read from a few weeks ago on Scientific Publishing, Robert Maxwell and the implications for Science itself:

And no one was more transformative and ingenious than Robert Maxwell, who turned scientific journals into a spectacular money-making machine that bankrolled his rise in British society. Maxwell would go on to become an MP, a press baron who challenged Rupert Murdoch, and one of the most notorious figures in British life. But his true importance was far larger than most of us realise. Improbable as it might sound, few people in the last century have done more to shape the way science is conducted today than Maxwell.

Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? | The Guardian

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Go Read This | With 2 million members, Storybird is ‘reverse-engineering’ the picture book

A very nice, very smart, very exciting idea:

Initially, Ury and his cofounder, Kaye Puhlmann (both formerly consumer experience designers for digital ad agencies; Ury has worked with clients like Apple, Nike and Starbucks), imagined that families would be the primary users of the site. “Parents reading on the iPad to their kids in bed,” Ury said. Parents and kids are indeed using Storybird — “and a lot of people create stories almost as extended greeting cards,” Ury said — but it turns out the largest demographic is teachers and students. Over 125,000 schools are now on Storybird, with teachers issuing assignments to students and using the site in the classroom to help kids with their writing skills. The most recent demographic — and “the most voracious,” according to Ury — is teen and tween girls. “They are using it for what I’d almost call conversation and communication,” he added, sharing images and messages with each other online “the same way you might use Tumblr.”

via With 2 million members, Storybird is ‘reverse-engineering’ the picture book — paidContent.

Go Read This | E-Reads Enters Joint Venture with Gollancz for UK Publication of 400 SF E-Book Titles | Publishing In the 21st Century

Fascinating and excellent move!

E-Reads has signed a deal with UK publisher Gollancz to publish e-book editions in the UK and Commonwealth of almost 400 science fiction and fantasy titles as part of Gollancz’s Gateway initiative.

Orion deputy CEO and publisher Malcolm Edwards and Gollancz digital publisher Darren Nash negotiated the deal, which includes works by more than 50 authors, with E-Reads founder and president Richard Curtis and agent Danny Baror of Baror International.Titles by authors such as Greg Bear, Harlan Ellison, James Gunn, Fritz Leiber and George Zebrowski will be published in Gateway editions in 2011.

via E-Reads Enters Joint Venture with Gollancz for UK Publication of 400 SF E-Book Titles | Publishing In the 21st Century.

Go Read This | The London cluster | FutureBook

Well worth reading, certainly gets the head thinking and the blood up, it sounds very exciting:

If the United States is an ocean, its creative, media and technology industries split over the vastness of North America, London is a pond, in a non-pejorative sense. Ponds are ferociously competitive and fecund areas. New York of course has Silicon Alley, and at one remove perhaps I am totally missing the buzz of what is really happening in Brooklyn lofts, and perhaps too I am overlooking much of the undoubtedly brilliant work taking place on the Continent and elsewhere. Equally I’m not doing down the rest of the UK – Britain is a closely knit place, and London sits at the centre of a web that spans the whole country. There is a huge amount of traffic between London, Edinburgh, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Manchester and other centres of books and technology, but the tight cluster of London sits at the heart of it all. Clusters, after all, are by definition geographically limited. Nor is it to be complacent; complacency isn’t an option in such an environment.

via The London cluster | FutureBook.

Stop Making It Bigger | EoinPurcell.com

I have a quick strategy note over on my EoinPurcell.com for publishers, especially small and medium-sized one, on how they can stop making their backlists a digital problem and maybe start moving towards selling ebooks:

Well to my mind, the first thing ANY publisher needs to do, even if they don’t have immediate plans for digital publishing, is stop making that backlist issue bigger and I’ve a pretty sensible strategy for how they can do that AND start preparing for digital publishing.

1) Stop only holding PDF files
Simple enough really, but if you are using in-house design programmes like Indesign or Quark, make sure you hold onto the Quark or Indesign files of your titles AS WELL as holding on to the PDF. If you are using out of company contractors, make it a condition that designers supply original files to you when they deliver the final files. Doing this means that you have files that are easier to convert then PDFs and will thus cost considerably less money when you decide to explore digital publishing and ebooks.

Cost to you: Nothing

via Stop Making It Bigger | Eoin Purcell.

Go Read This | KOBO™ BREAKS EBOOK RECORDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON — Kobo

I’m always amused by press releases that include either selective or somewhat confusing stats. Kobo’s press release if full of those. However I’m intrigued by them. Try and see if you can get anything meaningful from it. Nice to see Emma Donoghue in the top gifted though!

Kobo became the first eReading service to launch an eBook gifting and gift card program and for the first time in history, eBooks “arrived” digitally in people’s email accounts this Christmas morning. The top three most popular eBooks gifted this holiday were:

• “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson

• “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larsson

• “Room” by Emma Donahue

via KOBO™ BREAKS EBOOK RECORDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON — Kobo.

Go Read This | On Wikipedia, Cultural Patrimony, and Historiography | booktwo.org

I’ve long been struck by how, despite the ease of creation, publication and distribution, much digital text, from email to blog posts, is in fact essential ephemeral rather than permanent. James Bridle hits on some of this in a wonderful post today that covers his talk at dConstruct2010 in Brighton. Frankly, I wonder how many times I can call James a genius before it gets embarrassing, but he is one and this is another fine example of his impressive thinking.

Which struck me pretty hard, that bit about atemporality, and the flatness of digital memory, but particularly our lack of awareness of this situation. I talked about the Library of Alexandria, and the Yo La Long Dia, and the National Libraries of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq—all examples of cultural destruction caused in part by neglect and willful disregard for our shared patrimony.

These losses, despite their horror, will always happen: but what can we do to mitigate and understand it? In a world obsessed with “facts”, a more nuanced comprehension of historical process would enable us to better weigh truth, whether it concerns the evidence for going to war, the proliferation of damaging conspiracy theories, the polarisation of debate on climate change, or so many other issues. This sounds utopian, and it is. But I do believe that we’re building systems that allow us to do this better, and one of our responsibilities should be to design and architect those systems to make this explicit, and to educate.

via On Wikipedia, Cultural Patrimony, and Historiography | booktwo.org.