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The digital revolution that gave rise to independent publishing in the last decade has even replicated the traditional segregation and discrimination.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, full-time working women in the United States earned only 80.5 cents for every one dollar earned by men. Women, on average, earn less than men in nearly every single occupation. Disappointingly for a profession where creativity is without gender, this pay gap exists for book authors, too.

Indeed, publishing’s gender pay gap is a rather remarkable one, as a scholarly paper recently published in PLOS One has founded. The paper’s researchers examined more than two million book titles published between 2002 and 2012 – and they discovered that book titles by female authors command nearly half (45%) the price of male authors’ books. Women are also underrepresented as authors in many prestigious genres. The digital revolution that gave rise to independent publishing in the last decade has even replicated the traditional segregation and discrimination.

“We find that indie publishing, though more egalitarian, largely replicates traditional publishing’s gender discrimination patterns,” according to the study’s co-author Dana Beth Weinberg.

“We conclude that, with greater freedom, workers in the gig economy may be inclined to greater equality but will largely replicate existing labor market segmentation and the lower valuation of female-typical work and of female workers,” she notes. A professor of Sociology at Queens College-CUNY, Weinberg is an “indie” author, too, having self-published the Russian mafia crime series, Kings of Brighton Beach, under the pseudonym D. B. Shuster.

On Friday at BookExpo in New York City, Dana Beth Weinberg joins a panel of journalists who report on book publishing from around the world. “Covering Books From Cover to Cover” also features Fabrice PiaultLivres Hebdo (France); Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly (US); Javier Celaya, dosdoce.com (Spain); and Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives(US). Panel moderator is CCC’s Christopher Kenneally.

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“I’ve always been sort of a practical person. I thought, what’s the best thing for my career and my direction? At one point it was traditional publishing, and then it shifted to self-publishing, now it’s shifted to something else.”

The rise of independent publishing – also known by “self-publishing” – has changed the book business as dramatically as social media has affected the news cycle. What once were closed systems that gatekeepers strictly managed for their own benefits are now open, expansive and welcoming.

When the tables first turned earlier in this decade, authors rejoiced. But in 2018, the celebration may be dying down.

According to Bowker, more than three-quarters of a million ISBNs were assigned to self-published titles in 2016. In 2011, book title registrations of the same type were just under a quarter million. For 2016, numbers of print titles rose 11 percent year-over-year, a sharp fall from a 34% hike in 2015. E-book title registrations also dropped in 2016 by three percent. Bowker has identified in the dwindling numbers, “an ongoing maturation and stabilization of the self-publishing industry”.

Certainly, self-published authors like Jeff Rivera can confirm that the market winds have shifted. A best-selling author of dozens of titles in a wide range of genres, Rivera rode the self-publishing wave to considerable heights, though he recently announced in a blog post that he will suspend his book writing to focus exclusively on film-making.

“I’ve always been sort of a practical person. I thought, what’s the best thing for my career and my direction? At one point it was traditional publishing, and then it shifted to self-publishing, now it’s shifted to something else,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“What I noticed – and I have seen for the last few years – is a change in consumer attention in general. Attention has really shifted away from reading physical books or e-books, and more to social media, more to gaming, more to live events, more to music, more to films, more to Netflix-style television binge watching. I had to take a real practical realistic look at consumer behavior and think to myself, where do I want to be? It’s not even what’s happening in the future. It’s what’s happening right now, when you take an honest look at where consumer behavior is. And that’s where I want to head.”

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Publisher Cengage is seeking to pay authors a portion of subscription revenue instead of a contractual royalty based on a per-unit sale, according to plaintiffs Knox and Schact

On Wednesday, textbook authors David Knox and Caroline Schact sued Cengage over its forthcoming subscription service Cengage Unlimited. The plaintiffs claim that new business model for Cengage for the leading educational publisher is unfair.

“The authors claim that Cengage, ‘is systematically dismantling and frustrating’ sales of their works in favor of selling subscriptions to Cengage’s digital products,” Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, explains. “This matters [for Knox and Schact] because instead of earning a contractual royalty based on each sale, the publisher is now seeking to pay authors a piece of the subscription revenue based on a formula the publisher alone has devised.”

The core claim, Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally, is that with “the pivot to a digital subscription service, Cengage has ‘wrongfully’ implemented ‘a unilateral change to the compensation structure for its authors,’ from ‘the contractual royalty-on-sale’ compensation model to a relative use’ model.”

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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Developments advancing Open Educational Resources (OER) can and will impact many publishing programs

A set of laws coming into force in Texas may move the state — and the publishers that sell into the Texas market – closer than ever to an OER field of play. 2017 legislation from Austin requires information about “cost savings” from OER; doubles state funding for OER development; and encourages professors to put OER materials in their classrooms.

In Washington just weeks ago, Congress followed suit, authorizing an “open textbook grant program.”

Recently, Jay Diskey, a leading policy consultant in education, publishing and technology shared with CCC’s Chris Kenneally how developments advancing Open Educational Resources (OER) can and will impact many publishing programs – and he outlined what publishers can do to respond

Jay Diskey is principal of Diskey Public Affairs LLC, which provides communications and government relations services in the policy areas of education, publishing, and technology. Prior to launching Diskey Public Affairs in 2017, Diskey served as executive director of the Association of American Publishers PreK-12 education division. Earlier, he held senior communications positions in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.

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Resistance to adopting technology in publishing has reduced significantly over the past few years as people have gotten used to the idea, and as people have learned more about it

Last month, STM launched the newest version of its TechTrends series. Edition 2022 bears the motto: Entering the AI Era, Creative Humans & Smart Machines. A half-day brainstorm session by STM’s Future Lab Forum in London on December helped identify the different impacts and opportunities that artificial intelligence (AI has for the world of scholarly communication and STM publishing.

As Phill Jones, CTO of Emerald Publishing, explained, scholarly publishers have grown accustomed to thinking about such futuristic technologies.

“A few years ago, when I would talk about applications and workflow tools and data and analytics and all of these things, I would sense a certain amount of resistance from publishers, particularly smaller publishers in learned societies – a fear that this isn’t what we do.  Right?  We don’t do this technology.  We publish content.  This isn’t our wheelhouse,” Jones told CCC’s Chris Kenneally at a panel discussion marking the launch of TechTrends 2022.

“That resistance to adopting newer types of technology, I feel, has reduced significantly over the past few years as people have gotten used to the idea, and as people have learned more about it,” he added.

Panelists for the Innovations Day program in Philadelphia at the annual STM US conference were –

  • IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg is Senior Vice President of Research Integrity for Elsevier, where he is responsible for new technology initiatives to safeguard the integrity of both content and the content-based products that Elsevier offers to the research community. In this role he is also responsible for user privacy. IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg earned a PhD in Theoretical Computer Science at the University of Leiden. He has published scientific articles and holds patents in the areas of document retrieval, research data linking, and user interfaces.
  • Gerry Grenier is Director of Publishing Technologies for IEEE—the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He leads a 40-person electronic publishing team that is responsible for the development and operation of IEEE Xplore — a digital library containing over 3 million journal articles, conference papers, and standards in electrical engineering and computer science. He serves on the boards of CrossRef and the National Information Standards Organization (NISO).
  • Phill Jones joined Emerald Publishing as CTO earlier this month. He previously worked at Digital Science in a variety of positions that involved product development, business intelligence, outreach, and scientometric consultancy. He holds a PhD is in Atomic and Plasma Physics and held a faculty appointment in Neurology at Harvard Medical School.
  • Stacy Malyil is Director of Strategic Marketing of texts, services, and online learning, reference, and practice solutions for Wolters Kluwer’s portfolio in Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health. Stacy has also held marketing, business development, and product strategy positions at McGraw-Hill Education, SpringerNature, and Taylor & Francis.
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The center of the US publishing industry and one of the world’s largest communities of literary agents and scouts, New York City is also home to a growing number of film production companies – all of whom are always on the lookout to license intellectual property and to purchase film rights.

The first New York Rights Fair opens for three days starting Wednesday, May 30 at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Pavilion. Manhattan is an ideal setting for a conference covering sales, negotiation and distribution of rights to content across all formats including print, digital, audio, film and television, notes Rachel Deahl, Executive Director of Programming for the New York Rights Fair as well as News Director at Publishers Weekly.

The center of the US publishing industry, New York has one of the world’s largest communities of literary agents and scouts, says Deahl. New York is also home to a growing number of film production companies, all of whom are always on the lookout to license intellectual property and to purchase film rights, she tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

Deahl’s colleague Krista Rafanello, PW Sr. Marketing Director and the NYRF Show Manager, joins her to preview the NYRF program.

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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The rarity of the languages and the remoteness of the region make for exotic reading

With combined populations of six million in an area roughly equal to Illinois, the trio of Baltic states can be easily overlooked.  Yet the unusual historic and cultural relationships of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to the West and the East make for fascination, not insignificance. All three Baltic states are members of the European Union as well as NATO and can boast some of the very highest levels of digital infrastructure anywhere.

In April, organizers of the London Book Fair celebrated Baltic literature and publishing as part of the 2018 Market Focus program.  Author appearances and panel discussions highlighted achievements across many genres.  Earlier this year, journalist Edward Nawotka traveled across the Baltic states, and returned to write and edit a sweeping survey of contemporary Baltic regional literature for Publishers Weekly. He discovered how the rarity of the languages and the remoteness of the region make for exotic reading.

“I think each of the countries aligns itself politically and culturally somewhat differently, though they have a relationship.  The Estonians often think of themselves as much more closely aligned with the Nordic countries.  They would consider themselves closer in relations, for example, to the Finns.  The Latvians often had a collegial relationship with their neighbors, Germany and Russia certainly.  And the Lithuanians shared an empire at one point in history with Poland, so that’s where their loyalties and their cultural affinities lie,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

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More than 3,000 writers initially filed claims pertaining to more than 600,000 articles. After all the challenges and delays, 2494 writers received checks totaling $9,456,000.

After 17 years of legal disputes, the settlement of a long-running class action lawsuit over digital publishing rights concluded this week when some 2500 freelance writers received payments. Wrangling over the settlement itself followed a landmark Supreme Court decision in New York Times v. Tasini, which had originated in 1993 when then National Writers Union president Jonathan Tasini and other freelance writers sued the Times and several other major publications for copyright infringement.

“According to the Authors Guild, more than 3,000 writers initially filed claims pertaining to more than 600,000 articles, and in the final tally, after all the challenges and delays, 2494 writers were mailed checks totaling $9,456,000 in compensation. The publisher defendants were also responsible for paying attorneys’ fees and costs totaling $3,906,000. Claims administration expenses of $889,000,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.

In a press release, the Authors Guild stated that “a few writers will receive payouts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” with the amounts calculated upon several factors, including whether authors registered the individual works with the U.S. Copyright Office.

“At this point, we don’t know what the median payment was, but if you do a little simple math, you can get an average payment of about $3,800,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

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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How do authors consider the threats to their livelihoods, and how are they managing the opportunities? What, in other words, do the actual copyright holders think about copyright?

The business motivation that brings the book world to London each spring is the exchange of publishing rights. The legal foundation for this marketplace is copyright. Yet as fundamental as it may be, copyright is also one of the more complex and possibly least well understood areas of publishing.

In 2018, copyright laws and general respect for intellectual property face tremendous public and policy pressures in the UK, across the EU, and around the world. How do authors consider the threats to their livelihoods, and how are they managing the opportunities? What, in other words, do the actual copyright holders think about copyright?

“If I translate a book, the copyright in the original still exists. But another copyright comes into existence as I create a new thing [the translation]. So, any of my books in translation will have two copyright lines on the copyright page – copyright of the author, such-and-such a date, copyright me, such-and-such a date,” notes Daniel Hahna writer, editor and translator, with fifty-something books to his name. “Any translation, almost by definition, is going to have been established by two very different systems.”

Daniel Hahn’s recent translation from the Portuguese of José Eduardo Agualusa’s A General Theory of Oblivion won the International Dublin Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize. He designated a portion of his Dublin Award prize money toward creation of The TA First Translation Prize—“TA” for the UK’s Translators Association—which is administered by the Society of Authors. He is also a past chair of the Society of Authors.

Joining Hahn at the recent London Book Fair was Nicola Solomon is Chief Executive, Society of Authorsa UK trade union for professional writers, illustrators and literary translators that was founded in 1884. Nicola’s role includes protecting authors’ interests in negotiations/disputes with publishers and agents, and campaigning for authors’ rights, including copyright, e-book rights, Public Lending Right, defamation reforms and freedom of speech. Nicola is a solicitor and a Deputy District Judge in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. She is a Board member of the British Copyright Council, the European Writers’ Council and the International Authors’ Forum.

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“We’re seeing a boom in nonfiction, regional, and poetry sales—and those are three areas that University presses focus on and excel at.”

Late last week, the University Press of New England announced plans to close at the year’s end. Founded in 1970, the Lebanon, N.H.-based press employs 25 staff and distributes scholarly and popular titles for Dartmouth College and Brandeis University. At one time, the consortium included presses from schools in all New England states.

“This closure has generated a wave of headlines that portray university press publishing as particularly embattled,” reports Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer. “A closer look at the facts suggests that the reality is a little more complicated.”

According to Albanese, sales figures reported by the Association of American Publishers show university press sales for the first 11 months of 2017 rose five percent over the previous year.

“That’s pretty strong,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “We’re seeing a boom in nonfiction, regional, and poetry sales—and those are three areas that University presses focus on and excel at.”

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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