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A publisher’s “embargo” for e-books at US libraries has sparked outrage from librarians

Tor Books, a science fiction and fantasy publisher and division of Macmillan, has moved to change its “e-book lending model to libraries as part of a test program to determine the impact of e-lending on retail sales,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. Beginning this month, newly-released titles will not be available until four months after the publication date. The “embargo” practice has sparked a backlash by librarians.

“It’s yet another wrinkle in an already complex lending scheme that librarians must manage, and I think what is bothering librarians most of all is that [the change] came without warning,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“I spoke to Michael Blackwell, a librarian in Maryland who is one of the organizers of ReadersFirst, a coalition of some 300 libraries dedicated to improving e-book access and services for public library users. He called the move a ‘giant leap backwards’ for libraries and disputed the idea that library e-book lending is hurting Tor’s retail e-book sales.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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Scholarly publishing analyst Rob Johnson contemplates the dilemma at the heart of hybrid Open Access business models

Publishing success stories from the digital age are few and far between. In scholarly publishing, so-called hybrid Open Access is one such rare bird – indeed, hybrid OA is now the fastest-growing and most popular journal publishing model in the world. That success, though, may prove its undoing.

In a recent guest post for the Scholarly Kitchen, a blog from the Society for Scholarly Publishing that covers “What’s hot and cooking in Scholarly Publishing,” Rob Johnson contemplated the dilemma at the heart of hybrid Open Access business models: Conceived as a short-term way station for “closed” subscription journals as they move to “transition” to Open Access, the hybrid model has instead established itself firmly in the scholarly publishing environment and is now thriving.

According to Johnson, founder and director of UK-based Research Consulting, “the hybrid model is much easier and much less risky (for publishers). You retain your existing subscription models and you just allow people to pay article by article where they want to make it Open Access.

“The contentious part of this is that institutions, funders, and authors are paying additional amounts to make articles Open Access over and above the subscriptions,” Johnson tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “I think that’s where this has become a contentious business model.”

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“If a bookstore (or Amazon) decides to carry all books, may the Government then force the bookstore (or Amazon) to feature and promote all books in the same manner?”

As if summer weren’t hot enough, President Donald Trump turned up the temperature in Washington on Monday with his nomination of Brett Kavanagh to replace retiring US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Senate Democrats are fiercely stoking partisan furnaces with worries over the future of abortion and voting rights. However, a recent Kavanagh dissent in a case concerning “net neutrality” ought to worry the publishing community, says Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer.

Sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Kavanagh dissented in a 2017 decision to deny a motion for an en banc review of United States Telecom v. FCC, Albanese reports. In 2015, a court upheld the legality of the FCC’s 2015 order on net neutrality.

“Basically, Kavanaugh [wrote that he] has two problems with net neutrality. First: that the FCC overstepped its authority in establishing such ‘major rules.’ His second, more eye-opening claim: that the FCC’s 2015 order trampled Internet Service Providers’ First Amendment rights,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

In his dissent, Kavanaugh likened ISPs to bookstores, and called the FCC’s 2015 order ‘half-baked’ and ‘foreign’ to the First Amendment. “If a bookstore (or Amazon) decides to carry all books, may the Government then force the bookstore (or Amazon) to feature and promote all books in the same manner?” Without a showing of “market power,” he added, the government “must keep its hands off the editorial decisions of Internet Service Providers.”

According to Albanese, “I hope this startling view expressed by Kavanaugh draws some scrutiny from the Senate, because it reflects, at least from what’s written here, a view of the First Amendment and corporate power that could be particularly dangerous were it to hold.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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Who knew writing a book required a law degree?

Infringement of copyright and trademark. Defamation and false light. Libel tourism and the right to be forgotten. Representations and warranties and indemnities. Who knew writing a book required a law degree?

As author and attorney Stephen Gillen notes, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of speech. Yet federal and state law also allow the subjects of any speech to file civil suit if they believe what was written does them harm. In his latest book, Guide to Rights Clearance & Permissions, published by the Text and Academic Authors Association, Gillen cautions authors to take care and offers strategies for dealing with the risks of publication.

“The types of claims [in news and magazine writing] that you’re going to see most frequently are claims of libel, defamation, and invasion of privacy. For trade fiction, on the other hand, the kinds of claims that you’re going to see are probably copyright infringement, that this story is my story and somebody got access to it and made it their own,” Gillen explains. “Occasionally, you even may see a libel claim if it turns out that the fiction is not really so fictional.

“For scholarly works, the claim is over breach of academic integrity,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “There, you’re not worried so much about a lawsuit as the damage to your reputation and your career prospects that might occur as a result.”

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Privacy, as we once knew it, was sold down the digital river a long while ago, says author B.J. Mendelson

This time, there was no need for any hackers. Data on the personal interests of as many as 50 million Americans flowed freely – and legally – from Facebook’s open online platform to a psychology professor at Cambridge University, who said he was conducting academic research.  Then, the information allegedly landed at a data mining firm in London where it was used to shape advertising and messaging in the 2016 US presidential campaign.

In the wake of revelations over Cambridge Analytica’s “data harvesting,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced calls from elected officials in the US and the UK to answer probing questions about his social media company’s data gathering and data sharing practices. The heat under Zuckerberg has cooled off Facebook share prices sharply and raised tough questions about the dilemma at the heart of social media: a handful of private businesses hold a vast treasure trove of information about billions of people around the world.

Data hoarding has made good business for Facebook, Google and Twitter – as well as for a host of opportunistic data brokers and data dealers. Their financial gain is often your privacy lost, says B.J. Mendelson, author of the 2012 hit Social Media Is Bullshit, a debunking of the mythical powers of the Twittersphere. His new book, Privacy, makes the case that your personal life is up for sale; indeed, Mendelson declares that privacy, as we once knew it, was sold down the digital river a long while ago.

“The tech companies have done a wonderful job – fortunately for them, unfortunately for us – of painting themselves with a utopian brush as cuddly and friendly and promoting all these wonderful things,” Mendelson tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “But the bottom line has always been – your data equals a whole lot of money, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get as much of it as they can.”

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With a wide range of titles, we see a lot of excitement about the format, and it gets a lot of new listeners to try audiobooks.

Interview with Michelle Cobb, Audio Publishers Association and Robin Whitten, AudioFile Magazine http://media.blubrry.com/beyond_the_book/s/beyondthebookcast.com/wp-podcasts/Audie2018Podcast.mp3

At a gala evening in the New York Historical Society palatial headquarters recently, the Audio Publishers Association announced the winners of the 2018 Audie Awards, the Oscars of spoken-word entertainment. Neil Gaiman won an Audie for narration by author. Other winners included Bruce Springsteen, Trevor Noah, and Ann Leckie.

No wonder, really, that the publishing world has rolled out the red carpet for audiobooks. Revenue from audiobook sales has more than doubled since 2012, yielding a welcome digitally driven boost to publishers’ bottom lines in an otherwise tight book market.

The Audio Publishers Association has just released data on 2017 audiobook sales, and Michele Cobb, APA executive director, and Robin Whitten of AudioFile Magazine tell CCC’s Chris Kenneally that publishing houses, large and small, have cranked up the volume and the output of audiobooks.

“Many book publishers also publish audiobooks, and we’re seeing a rise in that, where people who have not traditionally had their own audio division, they’re starting to do some of their own audiobooks,” she explains.

“Additionally, there are a lot of independent audio publishers that are out there buying rights and creating original audio product, and they are all putting this great stuff into the market. And with a wide range of titles, we see a lot of excitement about the format, and it gets a lot of new listeners to try audiobooks.”

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The industry needs B&N to do better. And it just isn’t.

In 2018, the US book business is a story of conflicting trends — seeing independent booksellers on the rise, and national chain Barnes & Noble bleeding red ink. That dichotomy was underscored this week with the releases of key business data for 2017.

“On the indie bookseller side, the news is upbeat,” reports Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer. “American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher told attendees [to the annual Children’s Institute in New Orleans] that 2018 is ‘a time of strength and growth for indie bookselling.’ This is the eighth year in a row to see a rise in ABA member stores, Teicher reported. There are now 2,470 ABA member locations, representing 1,835 companies.”

In a sharply contrasting statement accompanying year-end financials, B&N CEO Demos Parneros said that 2018 losses were part of a “long-term strategic turnaround plan,” adding the company expected “immediate improvement in fiscal 2019.”

“Total sales at Barnes & Noble fell 6.0% in the fiscal year ended April 28, 2018 over 2017 and the retailer posted a net loss of $125.5 million last year compared to net income of $22.0 million in fiscal 2017,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “Revenue last year was $3.66 billion, down from $3.89 billion in fiscal 2017.

“As good as the news is from the indie stores, let’s be clear, the indie market is a small slice of publisher revenues. The industry needs B&N to do better. And it just isn’t,” Albanese notes.

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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Forward-thinking editors, however, demand freedom to reuse and repurpose content in innovative, high value ways, especially on mobile devices.

Even well into the digital age, publishers have persisted in maintaining processes that confine their businesses to a specific format (usually, the book) and to a single business model. Forward-thinking editors, however, demand freedom to reuse and repurpose content in innovative, high value ways, especially on mobile devices.

At BookExpo last month, a panel discussion – The Content Liberation Movement – identified the digital transformation accelerators that can help editors and executives break down the barriers. Featured guests were Ganessan Paramanathan, who serves as Evangelist and Solutions Architect at Alfresco, an enterprise open-source software company focused on driving the convergence of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Business Process Management (BPM) to advance the flow of digital business; Maxwell Riggsbee, the co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Gadget Software, a virtual publishing technology that atomizes, enhances and streams book, manual and journal content to smartphones; and Renee Swank, Sr. Director, Copyright Clearance Center.

“A lot of publishers [are] burdened by the old ways of continuing to publish in a very print-based workflow – still creating print first, focusing on print-first review processes and content creation process, thinking about their content very linearly, and creating front-to-back books,” Swank told CCC’s Chris Kenneally, who moderated the discussion.

“I think that gets in the way of being able to open and liberate your content, where you contextualize your content, where you can allow people to search in different ways,” she explained. “Instead of creating a front-to-back book or a front-to-back set of content that’s really about a particular product – the approach should be about creating more granular pieces of content that can be mixed and matched and enriched, whether that might be for a web platform or a mobile device.”

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If the former First Lady says something perceived as critical of the administration, will that put Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in the crosshairs? And if nothing political is brought up, well – is that not a missed opportunity?

In New Orleans, the annual conference of the American Library Association, gets underway on Thursday, June 21. The oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 57,000 members, ALA has gathered an A-list roster of speakers, notes Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, though something bothers him about the opening general session highlight – U.S. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in conversation with former FLOTUS Michelle Obama.

“I’m worried that putting Carla Hayden next to anyone named Obama on a stage politicizes the Librarian of Congress—which, of course, would be dangerous,” he tellsCCC’s Chris Kenneally. “The Librarian has done remarkable work, she’s been very visible, and popular—but I think if there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s that anything remotely tied to the name Obama draws the ire of President Trump.

“If the former First Lady says something perceived as critical of the administration, will that put Hayden in the crosshairs?” wonders Albanese. “And if nothing political is brought up, well – is that not a missed opportunity?”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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Beyond the Book - CCC's podcast seri.. by Ccc, Beyond The Book - 1M ago

A chemist turned technology executive, inspired by Gandhi, pens a memoir

American Ajja is a memoir that takes readers on the journey of a lifetime— from the tiny village of Kotegudde in rural Karnataka state, India, to university in Bangalore, and then to the American heartland.

A chemist turned technology executive, Shankar Hegde built a successful career in the U.S. software industry beginning in the late 1970s. Today, he mentors entrepreneurs on “how to” aspects of entrepreneurship. Hegde has published scholarly research papers and holds a patent. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University and Executive Management Training from MIT Sloan School of Management.

In an interview with CCC’s Chris Kenneally, Shankar Hegde recalls the great changes in technology and businesses processes that he has witnessed, as well as those areas of technology and business processes that most interest him now. He also explains how his favorite quote – “You want to be the change you want to see in others” by Gandhi – has inspired him throughout his life.

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