Usually discussion of open access has a utopian cast. It begins with the benefits to researchers and rapidly moves on from there-because it is a foundational premise that what is good for the research community is good for everybody. Expanded access will serve to cure horrible diseases, the science behind new technologies will cool a warming planet, and insights into people and power will make a veritable Woodstock out of the Middle East. Resistance, as the Borg say, is futile, but also immoral: Who, after all, wants to stand between a parent and an afflicted child?
HarperCollins Publishers today announced HarperCollins Presents, a new, global podcast network that brings listeners conversation and inspiration from authors, editors and creators, and promises new perspectives on the world of books, culture and arts. Each week the HarperCollins Presents podcast series will feature an exchange of ideas from leading authors and creatives – from home-grown heroes to global stars. It will take listeners behind the scenes, explaining the mysteries of the creative process and inspiring fans to think differently.
British education and media group Pearson (PSON.L) posted flat underlying revenue for the nine months to end-September, a result it said showed the company was performing competitively in difficult markets. Analysts at Citi were expecting underlying revenue to fall by about 1 percent. It also said its chief financial officer, Robin Freestone, would step down by the end of next year after 10 years with the company in order to explore other interests.
Yglesias's piece is mostly a rehash of familiar arguments that often come from people who occupy a similar position to Yglesias's: They are, broadly speaking, outsiders to the publishing world and more closely associated with the broader fields of business, economics, and technology. They appear to believe their outsider status allows them to see more clearly how broken publishing is; they're not captive minds. The insiders tend to respond that the outsiders could stand to be less ignorant of the industry they're criticizing. This fight tends to devolve quickly.
The New Republic has a dramatic cover story out this week by Frank Foer with the simple title "Amazon Must Be Stopped." The specific argument of the piece stretches together a few threads including a curious nostalgia for the traditional book publishing industry, a critique of the consumer-focused trend in post-1980 antitrust jurisprudence, and a swipe at Peter Thiel's techno-utopianism. But at its core is a very simple but fundamentally mistaken contention about Amazon, namely that "the company has achieved a level of dominance that merits the application of a very old label: monopoly."
Bertelsmann, owner of 53 percent of the New York-based business, plans to buy part or all of the 47 percent held by Pearson Plc (PSON), the people said, asking not to be named discussing private deliberations. While Bertelsmann and Pearson aren't in talks, Pearson is willing to sell and can do so starting October 2015 under a shareholder agreement, the people said. Penguin Random House, the world's largest book publisher, could be valued at 2.3 billion euros ($2.9 billion), based on a median multiple of 6.3 times paid for book publishers in the past three years and the target's 2013 earnings.
Publishing platform Slicebooks has announced a new white label agreement with Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, one of the leading independent publishers in the United States. Slicebooks will develop a white label version of its online retail platform Slicebooks Store for Rowman & Littlefield's journal division.
The Slicebooks publishing platform helps publishers repurpose content and sell direct to both institutions and individual consumers. It features four segments: the Slicebooks Content Management System (CMS); the iTunes-style Slicebooks Store; the newly launched and embeddable Mobile Store App; and a new white label program.
The fight between book publishers and Amazon over e-book pricing has often seemed almost laughably one-sided: With its dominant position in the market, the giant e-tailer can starve a publisher that won't accept its terms-Hachette Book Group, for instance-by delaying shipment of its print titles or discounting rival titles. The months-long battle has encouraged publishers to come up with ways to sell books without Amazon. In July, HarperCollins launched a redesign of its website that allowed it to sell print and audio titles and e-books directly to consumers.
Peerless Media, the leading business-to-business publishing company in the supply chain, logistics and materials handling industries, announced yesterday that it has acquired Desktop Engineering, the premier brand in the product design engineering market, from Level 5 Communications Inc. in Cleveland, OH.
Just in time for Educause, Pearson on Monday announced its new REVEL platform, which it says replaces the traditional textbook and provides online learning tools for general studies courses. The platform aims to counter the "passive, laborious" materials of the past by engaging students with an interwoven combination of text, interactive exercises, infographics, social features, and videos, additionally allowing educators to track how much time students spend on the material.