Taking Advantage of the Great Tech Infrastructure Build-Out of the Early 2000s
March 13, 2014

I was thinking the other day that in all our diligent argumentation over open access (OA) and related matters, we may have neglected to notice the multiple infrastructure layers that have emerged to form a new basis of infrastructure for scholarly publishing. From the late 1990s until now, there have been significant changes in how scholarly publishing is accomplished. These sustaining technologies have been adopted without much argument or fanfare, and their significance might be underestimated.

Lawyers Struggle to Define Fair Use in Wake of Google Books Case
March 13, 2014

When federal judge Denny Chin declared last fall that Google's decision to scan 20 million books did not violate copyright law, the ruling came as a new high water mark for "transformative use"  - the idea, loosely defined, that it's okay to use someone else's creative work if the new work is different enough from the original.

"Google's use of the copyrighted works is highly transformative," wrote Chin in a signature passage of a ruling that used the word "transformative" more than a dozen times.

Barnes & Noble, Microsoft Revise Nook Partnership
March 13, 2014

Barnes & Noble Inc. ( BKS ) and Microsoft Corp. ( MSFT ) have agreed to revise their partnership, allowing the bookseller to stop developing an app for its Nook e-reader that would work on Windows 8 devices or a Windows Phone.

Instead, the maker of the Nook will provide reading content for Microsoft's new consumer reader platform.

How Do We Compete With Amazon?
March 11, 2014

The questions over what the industry can do, or not do about Amazon's dominance, were raised yet again last week. It was first sparked first by Barnes and Noble's declining interest and funding of its Nook venture, then we had Sony shutting up it US store and handing the keys to Kobo as it battles with many greater corporate issues, then came Kobo itself filing objections to a Competition Bureau agreement impelling four of the biggest publishers operating in Canada to renegotiate their contracts with ebook retailers

What Can We Learn from Getty’s New Free, Embed Model?
March 10, 2014

Getty Images made an interesting content-usage model announcement last week. After years of playing whack-a-mole with everyone who's ever stolen one of their images, Getty decided to embrace the free model for a portion of their library. You'll find additional details on this here and here.

Book Publishing’s Big Data Future
March 4, 2014

The publishing industry is not one of the overachievers in terms of its use of big data. And since my book on big data-Big Data @ Work-is out, I thought it might be fun to speculate on what big data will do to the business of publishing books. The goal of any publisher is to get its content bought and read. In the past, publishers could know only if their books and magazines were bought, and knowing even that was problematic.

Press Release: Vook Releases Free Daily Sales Tracking for Any Author, Any Book, and All Major Retailers
March 4, 2014

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014, New York, NY: Leading ebook technology company Vook today launched Author Control, a daily market intelligence dashboard that allows authors to track the sales and unit downloads of their books in Amazon, Amazon KDP, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life, CreateSpace, Smashwords, Google, and Samsung, and display their results in a secure, easy-to-use online and mobile-accessible dashboard. Learn more about the new service at

Publishers Must Embrace Data-First Thinking
March 4, 2014

Much of the publishing industry is not in a data-first mindset asserts Tom Davenport in a recent article dubbed "Book Publishing's Big Data Future".  Although Davenport criticizes the publishing industry as a big data underachiever, he admits that's in part because publishers have traditionally worked through intermediaries to reach consumers. But that dynamic is changing.