I have often reflected on a passage from Jared Diamond's magisterial ”Guns, Germs, and Steel” when the question of the relative success of for-profit and not-for-profit (NFP) publishing enterprises comes up. Although there are some conspicuous exceptions, most of the big dogs in scholarly communications are commercial enterprises. What is it about the for-profit world of publishing that has enabled it to become dominant over its well-intended, hard-working fellows in the NFP camp?
Sand Hill Road
In a note to clients issued Monday, Hudson Square Research's Daniel Ernst reported on the results of a pre-holiday scouting trip he took to retail stores in New York and Connecticut over the weekend -- only a handful of shopping days before Christmas -- where he found "floor traffic up materially, but lines at checkout short."
Demand for tablet computers was strong, he wrote, with Apple's (AAPL) iPad maintaining its lead. Amazon's (AMZN) tablet sales, however, were a mystery.