Enlightened Thinking from Academic Publisher
The Chronicle reports on 2 New Digital Models that promise profit for academic publishing. I’m a big fan of the first — make money by giving away your books:
Late last month, Bloomsbury Publishing announced that it was expanding into the scholarly realm with a new imprint, Bloomsbury Academic. Bloomsbury is J.K. Rowling’s British publisher, and its pursuit of more cerebral fare could be read as a vote of confidence in academic publishing’s prospects.
What makes Bloomsbury Academic really intriguing, though, is what the publisher calls its “radically new model.” The imprint will make all its titles immediately available online, downloadable and free of charge, using Creative Commons licenses. It will also sell them as print-on-demand books.
“What I believe—and this is what we’re putting to the test—is that as you’re putting something online free of charge, you may lose a few sales, but you’ll gain other sales because more people will know about it,” said Frances Pinter, Bloomsbury Academic’s publisher.
Ms. Pinter, the former publishing director of the Soros Foundation, approached Bloomsbury with the idea. Some research organizations have tried out similar hybrid models, she said, and found them sustainable, even profitable.
As an example she cited the publishing arm of the Human Sciences Research Council, in South Africa. “They have been doing this for a couple of years, and they have seen their sales increase by 240 percent.”