Start your engines
If business models in publishing are to change and if people are to adopt digital over paper books as their main reading method (whether that be in ebook, online access or whatever), publishers are going to have ro embrace the online world in a real way. To date, although some publishers have started to do this, few major movers in the Trade Publishing world have shifted in any earth shattering way.
Which is why the new, digital only, house Quartet Press is an interesting launch. For one thing the three members of the quartet that we know of are not easily dismissed. They are serious people with a record of expressing informed opinion on the trade, not to mention actually engaging on one level or another with the trade and making things happen.
The stature that Quartet will have because of the prominent status of its founders suggests that the digital publishing space is about to become much more interesting. Quartet may be the trailblazer but there is a every reason to expect that most trade publishers will follow suit and launch digital only imprints (or indeed change the basis of their publishing to digital first), maybe not in a rush but eventually as they translate their publishing from a predominantly paper based business to one that revolves around the types of verticals that Mike Shatzkin discusses in this post and many others and communities like Tor.com.
In any case, we watch this space with interest! Eoin
You might wonder why I hate something that is such good value. E-books of sci-fi books I am almost sure to enjoy for the startlingly low price of $1?
Simply put, because I cannot buy them
I know its selfish, it is hardly Orbit US’ fault, but I was so excited by the idea I went straight to the website and tried to buy something, I mean ONE DOllAR. I am technically banned from buying any books until I read nine books from my newly acquired list of TBR, but an e-book is not a paper book and a dollar is nothing! And then the book was one I have spied in several places and thought “now that looks good”. BUT I couldn’t buy it, I was restricted by territoriality!
Funnily enough this is touched on today by bigger news here & here.
As a publisher I should care about this but as a consumer I just think what a freaking waste of my time, effort, attention and interest. Now I hate a thing that I should have loved! This nonsense will just have to stop, I cannot see territoriality of e-books lasting very long but that probably means it will last for ever!
I don’t want to be a bore
But this ebook and this one too, should not be for sale in Ireland for another 3 years at least, yet they are. I know, I just bought one from the Apple Apps Store
Considering a new paperback edition of Ulysses is available for about £7.50 and Portrait Of The Artist for a measly £2.50 on The Book Depository, I’d say 79 cent each is a massive bargain.
The copyright on Joyce‘s works has lapsed in the US if I’m not mistaken (or at least if Wikipedia is not mistaken) but not here or in the UK. I’ll be Apple never anticipated a territorial issue with iPhone Apps?
The Joyce estate will no doubt be onto this one quick, in the meantime, download away. Hopefully this post will not be prescient if the ebooks are eventually withdrawn.
Kenny’s open a new book store in their new premises. COOL! Here
A great review of The Making of the Irish Constitution, 1937, by Dermot Keogh and Andrew McCarthy in the DRB. I’m biased, I know, but this is one of the best and most historically valuable books published on the Irish constitution in recent years. It was a delight to be part of the company that brought it to the market. Here
Sat in the audience for a panel with some people from Bookrabbit on it. Likd what they had to say even if the site itself seems like LibraryThing with less features and a really good e-commerce link up (Which LibraryThing has thanks to its customization: I just need to click a link on a book and it takes me to my preferred bookseller, The Book Depository, Genius)> Oh Andrew Keen was there too. Here
Perhaps I’m being wary for no reason. Perhaps they will just reissue the really obscure titles that don’t have a potentially wide readership. Perhaps they will point out to copyright holders that other publishing houses exist that may do a better job in certain circumstances.
As ever some of the best stuff is in the comments but the whole post is fascinating casting light on an area of publishing that is growing more competitive as technology allows smaller houses compete with larger ones. It is also the area that seems to be driving concern over orphan works.
Had a fun day, that included some beach walking, Eoin
PS This is post 501. I should really have done something to celebrate!
As far as DRM goes
I knew it would be fun to have G&M’s Digital Development Manager blogging. For instance, here is part two of his series on DRM:
Here’s how it works:
1. I visit a website to order a book
2. The website requires me to register (not perfect in terms of web usability but a fair compromise and fairly universal these days)
3. I order an e-book from the site in my choice of format.
4. The site back-end takes the XML source of the book and starts the process to create my copy of the book in the format I chose.
5. While creating the copy of my book it pulls information from the membership database to add to selected areas in the book and to create a custom header (This copy of RUINAIR has been personalised for XXXXXX).
6. The customised e-book is placed in a digital library linked to my member ship account for me to download at any time.
7. An email is automatically sent to me letting me know that my book is ready for download.
The data we pull from the membership system can be your name, billing address, email address, phone number, order number or any combination of these. Its not a device locked DRM but how many people will be willing to share files that have their email address or phone number in them.
I like this idea but mainly for the reasons I expressed in my comment on the blog:
Now that is smart!
I especially like the concept because where you can add DRM in such a fashion you can add value that is specific to the consumer.
Think of it, if you can pull their membership preferences you can slip in ads for their pre-selected genres and topics, extra info on authors they like and other stuff they would see as enhancing the e-book/digital product!
If you can make DRM a value added, then I think you have a winner. That is of course if e-books is the way forward and not just webpages and access rather than a physical/digital product.
Search Max Weber and see what happens
Here is the result when you search with no limits here is the result when you limit your search to full view books. Here is a biography for Weber. He died in 1920 and so by any stretch his work is out of copyright, in the public domain and ought by rights to be free to view in a scheme like Google’s yet you cannot find a copy. What is going on?
You can see books in Full View if the book is out of copyright, or if the publisher or author has asked to make the book fully viewable. The Full View allows you to view any page from the book, and if the book is in the public domain, you can download, save and print a PDF version to read at your own pace.
Is there no work from this period in a library in the scheme?
This is the current list of Library Partners in Google’s Book Search program. At random I tested the catalogue of three of them. The University of Virginia has in its archive a 1927 Edition of Weber’s General Economic History published by Greenberg in 1927. Columbia has a similar edition New York Public Library has the same edition too.
And then it occurred to me: what about the translator
And therein lies the solution. Weber was writing originally in German and the translator for this edition was Frank H Knight who’s bio is here. When you realise that, it all makes sense. The translation copyright therefore is not in the public domain! Such is life!