GW Cohort 9 Publishing eNewsletter

MPS in Publishing's eNewsletter for Fundamentals of E-Publishing PSPB6251

1 Comment

Wimpy Kid, Library Space, and Website Lingering

Physical Space in Academic Libraries Running Low

By: Andrea Polzin

You might be surprised to hear that despite the publishing industry’s move toward more and more digital publishing, academic libraries are running out of space for their print collections. But according to this Chronicle of Higher Education article, that is exactly what is happening across the country. The question that arises from the dilemma is: what is the best way to handle the situation without losing any books that “make up part of the intellectual record”?

There are several ideas on how to deal with this issue outlined in the article. One main idea is sharing print collections between libraries. In other words, a library can manage and consolidate print collections together with other libraries nearby through partnerships. Another solution is digitization of print volumes. This has begun to happen on several fronts, including through the HathiTrust digital repository.

Three “shared-print” projects discussed in more detail in this article include the Northeast Regional Library Print Management Project, the Michigan Shared Print Initiative, and the Maine Shared Collections Strategy. All of these programs will need to take the concerns of libraries of vastly varying sizes and needs into consideration.

There is seemingly no perfect solution to this problem. Many people prefer to work with print publications, and to remove these from the library means less access – or at the very least, more difficult access.  However, the article states that “a 2010 study estimated that it costs $4.26 a year for a library to keep a book on the shelf.”  There needs to be a happy medium between these two issues. I think that shared-print collections is a good start to finding a compromise.

Full article available here:  (The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jennifer Howard, 7 October 2013)


“Course Packs” at Delhi University Stirs Controversy

By: Andrea Polzin

Three academic presses have brought a lawsuit against Delhi University and a copy shop at the University for creating “course packs” from photocopied parts of multiple books.  The suit was filed by Oxford University Press, Taylor and Francis, and Cambridge University Press.

Many Indian academics have warned against these presses carrying out this suit to the full extent of copyright law, stating that it will adversely affect students as universities often cannot afford multiple copies of brand-new textbooks nor can they afford the licensing rights to reproduce the books. The opposite argument being made by the presses is that the copy shops are making a profit on these course packs, so it is not under any “fair use” provision of copyright law.

It is difficult to pick a side in this argument for me. I understand both sides of the debate and hate to see students suffer because they or their schools cannot afford the best resources. Is this justification for possibly skirting around the law though? Is there a better way to deal with this issue?

Full article available here:  (live mint & The Wall Street Journal, AFP, 9 October 2013)

How Publishing Keeps You Lingering Longer

By: Katherine Weikel has conducted a small study on ways to keep readers interested in publishing websites’ content. After interviewing some of the most popular websites, such as New York Magazine, Buzzfeed, and Quarts, they found some interesting design elements that encouraged their audience to come back for more.

New York Magazine’s website has recently been redesigned to have more of a “human touch.” They include related links at the bottom of their articles to encourage exploration of their site. These links are also curated by the publisher, instead of the automated systems like, Taboola and Outbrain.

The publishers at Buzzfeed recognize that they need to alter their site for easier mobile reading; however, they continue to remain popular with readers due to their promotion of trending articles. Their goal is to feature the up and coming. They tend to focus on not what is popular, but rather what will become popular.

Quartz has found success in holding their readers’ attention by catering to many mobile devices’ format. Their pages have infinite scrolling ability that take the reader to the next article automatically once they’ve reached the end of the previous article.

It’s quite interesting to see how these simple design strategies can mean the difference between success and failure for these websites. It seems that the common element that all three of these successful websites have is usability. Their sites are designed with their readers’ needs in mind, and that translates to a well-organized, aesthetically pleasing webpage.

You can view the article in its entirety here:

Soho Press Relaunches Website

                  By: Katherine Weikel

Soho Press has recently redesigned and relaunched their website to cater more to their readers’ needs. Their new design features include an interactive map, in which their audience can view the settings of Soho’s crime stories. Their new website also promotes direct-to-consumer sales by offering a thirty percent discount off of normal retail price and a subscription option (print and/or digital) for different genres within their press. While their new design encourages readers to buy directly from their site, Soho Press continues to support book stores and libraries.

I think that this was a smart move on Soho’s part. The website will now bring in the revenue by promoting direct-to-consumer sales by offering a considerable discount, while still maintaining regular priced books at book stores. The interactive elements could also help with marketing certain titles by gaining the reader’s attention and interest through exploration.

Review the full article here:

See Soho’s new design here:

Jeff Kinney Shares Secret Origin of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”

Kellie Davis

The modest life of cartoonist Jeff Kinney turned into something extraordinary. When his latest book Hard Luck in the Wimpy Kid series releases on November 5th, Kinney is expected to reach elite status with other series like Twilight and Harry Potter, selling more than 115M copies.

Kinney’s book series has taken a seat at the top of the best sellers list multiple times; beating out Tom Clancy and Charlaine Harris for top summer reads. Kinney has been recognized as Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people and he’s ranked as one of the top-earning authors in the US, with reports of earning more than $24 million.

As a former teacher, I saw how the Wimpy Kid series changed reading. Many of my students who had little interest in books or who found reading difficult latched onto Kinney immediately. Kinney also created a new genres of children’s literature and his series spawned several other authors who create this comic book novels with relatable characters and quirky real-life incidents. It’s amazing to see how a simple idea can turn into something magical in the hands of a child.

You can read the full interview with Kinney here:


When Print Trumps Digital

Kellie Davis

Kevin Kelly, former editor of Wired magazine, runs a website titled Cool Tools, which highlights items from several different categories that actually work well. He turned this project into a book and surprisingly opted to publish in print rather than digital.

It seems obviously that a book like this would function as a catalog, allowing readers to share tools they found interesting, click to purchase online, and have access to many of the other function we find fascinating with eBooks. However, Kelly feels paper books are magical and they allow your brain to connect and react to the tools in ways you can’t do on a small screen.  The way the tools sit on the pages causes you to create relationships with the tools that interweave, making connects that seemed previously far apart.

Kelly proves that technology doesn’t always come in first place when it comes to presentation. He envisions this book as a means to allow readers to explore, discover, and pair these tools in ways that reach beyond the online shopping experience.  His book is a discussion piece, a coffee table art work, and brings to life these incredible objects that we so often neglect to view as something more than practical.

You can read the full article and his thoughts here:


1 Comment

Spotifying eBooks

Spotify changed the way we listen to music and now Oyster is changing the way we read digital books. Yesterday Oyster launched its unlimited eBook access service at a fixed price of $9.95 per month.

Currently Oyster is offering access to 100,000 books, namely because many publishers aren’t too sold on the service just yet. This low fixed price sounds like a bargain at first, but for many Americans they may end up spending more than usual for this service.

Forbes reports that according the Pew, the median number of books read by Americans in the last year was six or seven. With the Amazon fixed price of $9.99 per book, it’s seems a better bargain for the average reader to just stick with the standard purchasing model.

However, for voracious readers, Oyster may be their ticket to dwindling down their reading budget while still preserving their bibliophilic nature.

I can definitely see the appeal to this service. For readers like myself who skip around to different texts throughout the week and has pages dog-eared in upwards of five books at a time. I wouldn’t feel so guilty purchasing books that I never get around to finishing.

However, I think the service has its limits as far as the audience willing to commit to this payment. A large majority of Americans listen to music everyday. That’s why Spotify is so incredible. But not everyone reads on a daily or even weekly basis.

And, again, they have to sell themselves to the publishers. So far, they aren’t really biting.

As far as the current selection, it looks pretty reasonable. They may not have everything you’d want to read at the time, but Oyster did get some large publishers to hand over eBooks including HarperCollins, Workman, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.