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More Shifts in Publishing Models

Two interesting things happened this week that come from the biggies.

I have long been pointing out that digitization strategies have the potential to disrupt the book and periodicals dominance as a format and distribution methodology. Indeed the MP3 standard has done that to the traditional albums. Digital collections have in many respects made access at the article and chapter/paragraph level of some non-fiction works almost the norm and sometimes the preference – especially for articles.

Therefore these two announcements share a part of these changes:

Paying for (short) content: Amazon to publish “Kindle Singles”

Some genres lend themselves quite well to this ‘singles’ idea. I find the ‘singles’ name interesting too. It makes me think of th 45’s of my youth. It also makes me think of the great innovation when Kraft cheese singles got their little wrappings.

Anyway, I think that poetry in small collections could do better in this format, freed from more expensive bindings, people could share and gain reward for small poetry collections and even lyrics. I wonder if this is the beginning of a fairer, larger marketpace for lyricists? Another genre that could work well in singles is short stories. Why do they need to be in collections or filtered through the few literary magazines. Another opportunity for wider contributions in short stories. I see other genres that are currently gated and having potential in this format – science fiction, fan fiction, novellas, and more.

a href=”″>Elsevier introduces article-based publishing to increase publication speed

Again, is there any benefit to ‘print’ in the scholarly pubishing process – other than as a final, stable, output medium? It will be interesting to see how article level juried publishing take hold. Will academia embrace it or resist? Is the Elsevier brand big and prestigious enough to move the needle forward on this issue after so many years of debate?

Either way, there’s two seeds planted for further shifts in the world of publishing.

Now it’s up to librarians to adapt the indexing, access, archiving, repositories, and more for these new publishing modes. The history of digitization for news and periodical articles has been less formal indexing and greater access and retrieval. Will the evolution of greater digital book and other work vaults result in a similar trend? Or will more advanced cataloguiing, taxonomy and automated ontological tools take hold as we move forward?


Posted on: October 15, 2010, 4:33 pm Category: Uncategorized

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