International Rights at the London Book Fair

Global events requiring international travel and the congregation of thousands of visitors in exhibition halls are one of the heaviest casualties of the COVID-19 economic and social crisis. The Barcelona Mobile World Conference was one of the first cancellations. The 2020 Olympics may or may not take place in 2021. The UN Climate Change Conference scheduled for Glasgow in November is postponed. The major annual book fairs are a case in point, it will be very hard to plan a show for London in March 2021 if there is no certainty that American and Asian publishers will be able to…

Silverio, Hugo, Oriella

Silverio Venturi [2.2.1953–5.3.2020]

We bought our house in the appennino bolognese in 2010 and it came with more terrain than we could manage. Fortunately most of the land was let to Andrea a friendly farmer who was happy to renew the letting, but there was still the challenge of a big garden and an acre of forest to be managed. After seeing me struggle with a strimmer and making a bad job of pruning a tree, Franco our immediate neighbour, called out to me that I should get in touch with his friend Silverio who was very skilful with trees…

Silverio Hugo Oriella

Silverio Venturi [2.2.1953–5.3.2020]

Abbiamo comprato la nostra casa nell’Appennino Bolognese nel 2010 ed aveva più terreno di quello che potevamo gestire. Fortunatamente la maggior parte della terra fu coltivata da Andrea, un contadino vicino, che era contento di rinnovare l’affitto, ma c’era comunque la sfida di un grande giardino e ettari di boschi da gestire. Dopo avermi visto lottare con un decespugliatore e aver fatto un brutto lavoro di potatura di un albero, Franco, il nostro vicino immediato, mi ha detto che avevo bisogno del suo amico Silverio, che era molto abile con gli alberi. Scrisse il numero su un…

Plan S and see its 10 principles

STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical) publishing has been an extraordinarily profitable area for the big academic publishers in the last 30 years. But this last Autumn it was dealt a potentially fatal blow. Robert-Jan Smits from the European Commission and Marc Schiltz representing Europe’s largest research founders announced Plan S, a radical initiative designed to ensure that by 2020 all research papers arising from funding provided by 11 European funders are made open access immediately on publication. The rather far reaching and comprehensive nature of the Plan S programme — and its relatively short timetable — suggests that in the…

When magazines become digital their relationship to time is profoundly altered. Paradoxically their relationship with time and our experience of time changes because the magazines themselves, even with a complete archive, are relatively unchanged; they change much less than other forms of digital media in the transition to digital. Magazines in print, with their issue by issue publication pattern, are good at trapping time and when they are transformed into digital databases they store our culture in ways that make the past very accessible and reusable. In the 19th and 20th century, magazines, with their regular new issues, were ways…

Luciano Floridi, an Italian Professor at Oxford, is one of the leading philosophers of information. He is also interested in libraries and archives and has recently proposed a valuable use for the concept of “semantic capital” in relation to archives. His explanation was given as a lecture to the National Archives at Kew, and is available from their site.

I propose to summarise and simplify his explanation of “semantic capital” and apply it to the topic of digital magazine archives (very close to our heart at Exact Editions). For our purposes semantic capital is:

  • a stock of content growing and…

Montagu Norman on the front cover of Time in 1929

Marc Benioff’s purchase of the magazine Time for $190 million seems to be part of a trend: billionaires buying prestigious magazines and newspapers. The trend includes Michael Bloomberg buying Businessweek, Laurene Powell Jobs investing in the Atlantic and Jeff Bezos buying and investing in the Washington Post. So why are these software billionaires buying such challenged assets at prices that are at least respectable in comparison to the valuations that might have been offered by traditional media investors? Billionaires are not buying prestigious book publishers or TV channels. What is so special about magazines?

It is suggested that one reason…

This question occurred to me when I saw a suggestion that the mooted, not yet launched, Apple magazine aggregating service will include newspaper content:

Earlier this year, Apple got into the magazine business by buying a digital magazine distributor. Now it wants to add daily news to the mix. Peter Kafka at Recode

Well, this is only a rumour and Apple’s new magazine-inspired service has not been launched, but it is surely unthinkable that the big newspapers (New York Times, WSJ, FAZ etc) will allow all their content to be bundled into an Apple service in which they have no…

I follow a publishing mailing list that has this week been having a big gripe about ebooks. The main sub-gripes seem to be:

(1) The market has stalled (no sales growth except in the self-published field) and the big publishers have lost interest.

(2) Amazon dominates the space and it owns the audience. There is scant retail competition.

(3) The format and the licensing terms are very limited (print books are nice to look at and much better to collect. Does anybody collect ebooks?)

Aside from these gripes it is widely acknowledged that:

(4) Audio books are a growing market…

Painting from the Chauvet cave shaping the Paleolithic memory (and now ours). via Wikimedia commons

I have borrowed the title for this blog from the sub-title of a great book When We Are No More by Abby Smith Rumsey. And the subtitle is the critical part of her book’s message. Because we are entering an age of digital culture and digital society, the digital archives and memories that we are now creating will be crucial sign-posts and tent-pegs for our digital future. We often think about archives as guides to the past, but Rumsey’s claim is that they are even more pointers to our future. …

adamhodgkin

Publisher and then web publisher

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