Archive for the 'eBooks' Category

Academic and Professional Publishing – book review

My review of Academic & Professional Publishing, edited by Robert Campbell, Ed Pentz and Ian Borthwick has now been published in Learned Publishing where it is (currently) freely available . I liked it, a lot:

The fact that book publishing deadlines (especially multi-contributor works) sometimes means that the rapid pace of events can overtake some details has not prevented the authors from including concrete examples (notably in the excellent chapter on publishing and communication strategies) and it is all the better for it. Indeed, the book’s pace and scope compared to the daily torrent of information provides exactly the space for perspective and critical thought that we need.

If you’d like a second opinion, Judy Luther has also reviewed it for Scholarly Kitchen:

Reviewing this book had the feel of attending a productive meeting with a mix of interesting facts, worthwhile references, and different perspectives on important topics providing food for thought. Much like looking in a three way mirror, we recognize the familiar and realize that there are dimensions that we hadn’t seen before.


Recession is the Mother of Invention (ASA Conference)

I was pleased to have been invited to talk at the Association of Subscription Agents Annual Conference this week, because otherwise I would most likely not have gone and this would have meant missing an interesting meeting.

Nearly all the talks were informative and engaging, and even if not one then usually the other. For me it was particularly interesting to get updates on the state of PDA (patron-driven acquisition), the Chinese market and new developments in data-linked and semantic publishing (though it would be nice to see an actual prototype  from Jan Velterop rather than just his ever-more-ingenious Keynote slides), while sobering to hear about the likely state of UK university finances over the near (and indeed, medium) term. (To summarise, in the notorious words of the outgoing Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne: “I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left.”) Unashamedly at the engaging end of the informative–engaging spectrum (he was not being overly disingenuous when he described it as “fact free”), Mark Carden’s talk was nonetheless thought-provoking (and is available on YouTube).

The conference programme is listed on their website and I understand the speaker slides will be made available at some point. In the meantime my own slides (not terribly informative without the accompanying talk, I’m afraid) are available on Slideshare here.

The Twitterstream can be found here, for what it’s worth. I got the impression that there was rather less in the “back-channel” than at some previous conferences, with the bulk of twittering coming from just two tweeps.

eBooks: Elsevier/ScienceDirect trial

From the press release:

Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical (STM) information, has announced that more than 900 leading research libraries and corporations from all over the world are participating in the trial of eBooks on ScienceDirect. The trial will provide participating institutes with preliminary access to 500 of the 4,000 scientific and technical books that will be launched on ScienceDirect in the third quarter of 2007.

The eBooks program represents a major expansion to the reference works, handbooks and book series already available on ScienceDirect. At launch, the program will comprise high-quality selected titles published from 1995 to the present day. The books will cover a wide range of scientific disciplines, including those published under the renowned Pergamon and Academic Press imprints. Following the launch, approximately 50 newly published titles will be added to the eBooks list on ScienceDirect each month, offering researchers unparalleled integration and linking between the latest online book and journal information.

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Ovid Partners with Springer to Distribute E-Books

Ovid Partners with Global STM Publisher Springer Science+Business Media to Expand E-Book Offerings

From the press release:

More than 800 Titles Spanning Core Medical Specialties Will Be Available on Books@Ovid for Purchase or Subscription

Ovid will offer more than 800 medical and health sciences titles to medical organizations globally, including hospitals and hospital consortia, medical schools, and medical departments or entities within a higher education institution, government organization, or corporation. The books will be available via an annual renewable subscription or as a one-time purchase, which provides the institution the right to own the book in perpetuity. Key titles coming to Books@Ovid include AJCC Cancer Staging Atlas, Medical Informatics, and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, widely considered must-have, “core” resources in their respective disciplines. Content is expected to become available on the Books@Ovid platform beginning in the third quarter.

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Elsevier update

Elsevier posted a trading update today. Key points:

  • The Elsevier, LexisNexis and Reed Business divisions are performing strongly in generally favourable market conditions. These businesses, which account for over 85% of Reed Elsevier’s adjusted operating profits, are continuing to show encouraging revenue momentum and good underlying margin improvement.
  • Harcourt Education division has however been impacted by underperformance in the Assessment business and a weak textbook market.
  • Elsevier is performing well in both the Science and Health markets. Subscription renewals have been strong, the second half book publishing programme is going well, and there is continued good growth in online product sales. Underlying operating margins are improving with good revenue growth and further cost efficiency.

The market marked Elsevier’s share price down ~4% in response to the Harcourt news:

“Shares in Reed Elsevier, the publishing group, fell on Thursday after it warned that revenues would be ”broadly flat“ at its US-based Harcourt Education subsidiary. The Anglo-Dutch company said in a trading statement that Harcourt had been hit by weaker textbook markets and an underperformance in its assessment division, which tests schoolchildren. Not only had there been cost overruns on some contracts but there had generally been fewer contracts to win. In addition, the business has had to pay penalties for some mistakes in its testing contracts. Margins at Harcourt are now likely to fall to 14 per cent from 18 per cent in 2005.” []

Billionth ScienceDirect article downloaded yesterday

“In its first year, just over 300,000 full text articles were requested from the site by about 60 customer organisations. Now, in 2006 a record usage of more than 300 million articles has been achieved, downloaded by nearly 11 million users in 134 countries. The one billionth article download has also been counted by industry-standard measurements as Elsevier is fully COUNTER compliant”

Elsevier to expand eBooks programme
IWR reported a couple of days ago that

“Elsevier plans to launch 4,000 scientific and technical books online next year, a major expansion to the resources already available on STM database ScienceDirect .

”The expanded programme will include ebook titles published since 1995, with approximately 50 titles added to the ebooks list on ScienceDirect each month. Currently over 2,000 journals published by Elsevier are available.“

On the subject of ebooks, I blogged a note about Springer’s expanding ebook programme last week. Springer currently has 13,000 ebooks in its collection, far more than Elsevier.

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Springer signs deals with various institutions for eBooks adoption

From Knowledgespeak:

STM publisher Springer Science+Business Media, Germany, has announced that its Springer eBooks Collection has witnessed substantial success, with several universities and companies opting for it. It has recently signed agreements with academic institutions including the Great Western Library Alliance consortium (US), the University of Chicago (US), the University of Manchester (UK), the University of Oslo (Norway), the University of Jordan, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology/ETH, the Akademintorg / Russian Foundation for Basic research consortium, several members of the KESLI consortium (Korea) and several institutes in India. In addition, several companies have also purchased Springer eBooks.

All students and researchers at individual universities and companies will have electronic access to the Springer eBooks they have purchased, with immediate effect. Currently nearly 13,000 e-books are available on

The Springer eBook Collection was launched at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans earlier this year. The company has introduced a special offer, wherein customers who purchase the 2007 eBook Collection before the end of 2006 get the electronic versions of all Springer books published in 2005 and 2006 as well.


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