[Air-L] book prices

Sari angyjoe at gmail.com
Wed Mar 9 12:41:26 PST 2011

If any of the warez crews (reading this) can hack the book advertised for
yesterday, we can do without this back and forth discussion now!..


On Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 8:33 PM, Rhiannon Bury <rcbury at rogers.com> wrote:

> The one issue I haven't seen raised in this interesting discussion is
> library
> budgets. With cutbacks to postsecondary funding happening in many
> countries, why
> would we think that university libraries can afford these high prices for a
> single hardcover book?  If they are purchasing at this price, that means
> that
> other books will not be purchased, ie maybe yours or mine. This business
> model
> of publishers is in danger of self destructing sooner rather than later.
> In terms of open access, AU Press at our university is a leader. I haven't
> explored this option myself  (Peter Lang gets first right of refusal on my
> next
> book as per my contract for Cyberspaces of Their Own) but here is the link
> to
> their website:
> http://www.aupress.ca/
> best
> Rhiannon
> Rhiannon Bury, PhD
> Associate Professor,
> Women's and Gender Studies
> Athabasca University
> Canada's Open University
> ________________________________
> From: "Jonathan Sterne, Dr." <jonathan.sterne at mcgill.ca>
> To: "air-l at listserv.aoir.org" <air-l at listserv.aoir.org>
> Sent: Wed, March 9, 2011 11:57:12 AM
> Subject: Re: [Air-L] book prices
> Hi Everyone,
> I've been reading this discussion with interest.  The future of publishing
> is an
> ongoing discussion in many fields.  Lots of people are coming up with new
> models
> and alternative publishing arrangements.  AoIR ought to consider at least
> officially endorsing some of the better electronic journals related to
> Internet
> Studies so that assistant profs can use that endorsement in their tenure
> dossiers.  But ultimately, it will be organized people who change things.
> Publishers add value through paying for labor, and the main problem with
> open
> access for now is precisely that.  Someone has to copyedit, lay out and
> proof
> materials as well as maintain the site.  Once people figure out robust  and
> sustainable funding models, this will be even more viable than it already
> is.
> Of course, for nonprofit university presses, income from journal publishing
> subsidizes book publishing, which in most cases is a big financial loss for
> the
> press.  So those of you in book fields should be a little circumspect about
> celebrating the death of the journal.
> But Wiley and Blackwell are for-profit publishers.  Their handbooks (and
> Oxford's) follow a business model.  Publishers approach authors whom they
> believe to be leaders in a field (or who want to be and are up and coming)
> to
> edit the handbook.  The editors are told that the handbook will be a way to
> bring a field forward, collect the latest and greatest scholarship and help
> define the field.  Then, the editors generate lots of value for the press
> by
> bringing in friends and colleagues with the opportunity to be part of a
> field-defining conversation (or in some cases calling in favors).  The
> collection is made, published, authors are paid a nominal fee and asked to
> sign
> away their rights with an incredibly restrictive author's agreement, and
> then
> the book is published.  These publishers hope to sell to libraries first
> and
> then piece them out in electronic form for a period of years, which is
> probably
> one of the reasons for the ridiculous agreements contributors are asked to
> sig
> n.  This all works great for the publisher, but as of yet, the "field
> defining"
> part hasn't happened in a lot of places.  the books need to be read to have
> their effect, and the fact that they are only available in DRMed online
> versions
> or in libraries means even in bookish fields, they appear to be having less
> impact than was promised.
> How do I know?  I've been asked by publishers more than once to edit a
> collection like this (I declined) and have contributed to a few so I've
> seen
> both sides of it.  Now, I'm not innocent here -- this discussion led me to
> go
> looking and I see Amazon is listing the hardback version of my forthcoming
> Sound
> Studies Reader at $125, but at least the softcover will be cheaper.  And
> I'm
> actively working to change how I deal with this in new ventures (I wasn't
> as
> attentive to these things when Routledge and I negotiated several years
> ago--and
> I will raise the issue with them).
> I've written a lot about authors' rights on my blog -- see
> http://superbon.net/?p=1681 for example (and read Ted's article that I've
> linked
> to!) and would encourage people who care about these things to educate
> themselves, and make things like the contributor's contract a political
> issue --
> which it already is.  Obviously, those of us with tenure have to be the
> ones to
> do some of the heavy lifting.
> Best,
> --Jonathan
> --
> http://sterneworks.org
> http://mcgill.ca/ahcs
> http://media.mcgill.ca
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