18.517 author's rights

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 09:51:32 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 517.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 09:43:51 +0000
         From: "Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett" <bkg_at_nyu.edu>
         Subject: RE: 18.516 author's rights

>>> why are authors also being advised to reject print-on-demand methods
for their work?

I ask because I am embarking on this very option right now, for a
collection of peer-reviewed conference proceedings. We intend to
publish the proceedings at the Stoa site so that readers may freely
read online and/or print out each of the contributions, but we will
also gather them all together and offer them as a very
reasonably-priced book using the on-demand model via lulu.com. That
way authors can correctly assert that their scholarship has been
peer-reviewed, they can say they have contributed a chapter to a book,
they retain 100% of their rights, and readers have a full range of
choices, from desultory browsing to having a tangible book in their
hands on their shelf, if they so desire. I don't see the downside to
this approach, and it seems to resolve many problems.

Ross Scaife

>From Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett:

I do not know their reasoning, but would surmise that they want to
protect an author's efforts to publish in book form, publish in
paperback, and keep books in print. This is becoming much more of an
issue as publishers of academic books opt to print fewer copies (as few
as 350 is not uncommon), hardcover only, and at a high price. This
limits the printed book to library sales. It may therefore be preferable
to protect the print edition and for the publisher to invest more in its
success, which would be undermined by a print-on-demand option, at least
during the first few years of a book's life. An electronic edition is
another animal.

In the case you describe the print-on-demand option seems like a good
idea, given the specialized nature of the publication and how you
envision it being accessed.

Although the Authors Guild is thinking more of the trade market than
academic books, academics need to take heed.

Does anyone have any experience with a publication that appears in one
or more of these forms--physical book, electronic book, print-on-demand
book? What are the economic and other implications for authors?

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
Received on Sun Jan 23 2005 - 05:00:45 EST

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