The shift to digital delivery of serials content has had a profound effect on the information ecosystem. Powerful discovery and social networking tools expose users to an incredibly rich world of commercially produced and open access (OA) content. Most publishers have explored new ways of pricing their content—such as population served, FTE (full-time equivalent), tiered pricing based upon Carnegie classification, or other defining criteria—or the database model, which treats all content within an e-journal package as a database, eliminating the need for title by title reconciliation. However, in the end, the pricing conversation always seems to circle back to the revenue generated by the annual subscription model.
When Jamillah Gabriel, African American studies information specialist and the manager of the Black Cultural Center Library at Purdue University, IN, realized that there weren’t many book box subscription services that focused on African American literature—and those that did were targeted to children and young adults—she decided to start her own. In summer 2016 Gabriel launched Call Number, a monthly literature subscription box for adults featuring works by non-bestselling black authors.
It may have been International Women’s Day, but on the evening of March 8 The Story Prize went to Rick Bass, the sole male author among the three finalists. Bass’s collection, For a Little While, took the $20,000 prize (and an engraved silver bowl), awarded to the outstanding short story collection of the year.
Everyone has a book in them, it’s said. While Christopher Hitchens completed that phrase with “in most cases that’s where it should stay,” it doesn’t seem the public agrees. This is dramatically demonstrated by the expansion of U.S. publishing, as measured by Bowker, the U.S. issuer of ISBNs, the numbers that help track book sales. In 2002, Bowker issued 247,777. In 2012 (the most recent figures available), demand rose to 2,352,797—an increase of 2,105,020, or a whopping 849.5 percent.
This month, Titan Books will release a new edition of Nina Allan’s complex novel of a dystopian, but not-too-distant future society, The Race. In it, award-winning science fiction author Nina Allan proves that complex social dilemmas and troubled characters are not limited to traditional novels. We spoke with the author at her U.K. home to find out more.
A new pilot study by DePaul University scholars in collaboration with the Chicago Public Library (CPL), has received one of 18 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant awards. Reading Chicago Reading: Modeling Texts and Readers in a Public Library System plans to use data from One Book, One Chicago (OBOC), CPL’s robust 15-year-old community reading program—including circulation statistics, social media data, neighborhood demographics, and textual data—to analyze reading patterns for OBOC books and develop a predictive modeling tool to help drive CPL’s collection development and future OBOC choices.
After seven years in New York, BookExpo America (BEA) heads to Chicago’s McCormick Place, where it will run from Wednesday though Friday, May 11–13. With a focus on BEA’s new partnership with the American Library Association (ALA), the Library Insights track will feature sessions by Libraries Transform: ALA@BEA, which is sponsored by Libraries Transform, ALA’s national public awareness campaign, and digital provider OverDrive. Also added to the 2016 schedule are tracks on children’s publishing and self-publishing, two of the hottest segments in the industry today. And, of course, there will be plenty of books to pick up and author signings to attend.
What does fracking have to do with scholarly publishing and journal pricing? While the library financial landscape has improved since the depth of the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, it still cannot be considered robust. As articles such as this one chronicle annual serials price increases, libraries, publishers, and vendors search for innovative ways to fulfill information needs within the finite, predefined budget environment. New business and access models ranging from the initial e-journal big deal packages, article pay per view, open access, mega-journals, and publisher e-journal database pricing have evolved in response to the environment; libraries, publishers, and vendors have merged, consolidated, or disappeared along the way. Just as fracking keeps the oil and gas flowing, these strategies enable the current scholarly publishing ecosystem to extract the necessary resources—intellectual and financial—to survive.