Sunday, January 25, 2009

MediaWeek (Vol 2, No 3): Elsevier, Music, Ebsco, Google

That National Association of Home Builders say that more home owners want libraries in their homes (Sun Sentinel):
We may think folks are reading less, but 63 percent of homeowners surveyed said they have a library or want one in their homes. That's a 9 percent increase from 2002. Even mass-market home builders are including libraries. Many offer old-fashioned touches such as rolling ladders and circular stairs.
(Unfortunately, I couldn't find any more on the subject or the report but we'll take what we can get). Elsevier announced that they are broadening the distribution of 600 professional titles so that they are available on Science Direct. (Press release)

Elsevier, announced today that over 600 Medical, Veterinary Medicine, and Health Professions book titles will be launched in Health Science eBook Collections in April 2009 on ScienceDirect, its online scientific research platform.

Elsevier's health science books are published under the imprints W.B. Saunders, Mosby, Churchill Livingstone, and Hanley & Belfus, publishers with a rich medical and health science publishing heritage dating back to 1688. The inclusion of these books on ScienceDirect will allow more researchers across the world to access these valuable content resources.

To date, Elsevier's medical and health science book titles have only been available through MD Consult ( for clinical practitioners and medical education, Evolve eBooks ( for health professions education, and Veterinary Consult ( for veterinary medicine education. The thousands of authors represented in the Elsevier medical and health science collections on ScienceDirect will now enjoy greater market visibility, increasing the potential for research collaboration and recognition.

Ebsco which has hosted Salem Press content for many years did the honorable thing and purchased the entire company this week. Since they have been paying Salem press a revenue share this one will have been a no-brainer. (I remain convinced this would have been a very nice acquisition for Bowker). (Library Journal)
Salem Press was founded by Frank N. Magill in 1949 as a one-book publishing company, releasing its staple product: Masterplots. It has since developed into an independent library reference book publisher known for such reference series as “Great Lives from History,” “The Decades in America,” and Critical Surveys of Literature.”
The religious moronity is stepping up its attempts to re-define scientific 'theory' in Texas and in the process push the teaching of science back into the 1400's. (NYTimes)

The debate here has far-reaching consequences; Texas is one of the nation’s biggest buyers of textbooks, and publishers are reluctant to produce different versions of the same material.

Many biologists and teachers said they feared that the board would force textbook publishers to include what skeptics see as weaknesses in Darwin’s theory to sow doubt about science and support the Biblical version of creation.

“These weaknesses that they bring forward are decades old, and they have been refuted many, many times over,” Kevin Fisher, a past president of the Science Teachers Association of Texas, said after testifying. “It’s an attempt to bring false weaknesses into the classroom in an attempt to get students to reject evolution.”
To be filed under 'why did it take you so long', Music publishers have begun to realize the value of lyrics and the art-work that goes along with a CD or Album. (Billboard)
But a few years ago many discovered a value that was sitting under their nose: the lyrics right. “And it doesn’t even need the master rights,” Channon added. Since putting lyrics onto mugs, clothing, toys, greeting cards and other merchandise, EMI has had to grow into becoming a manufacturer and distributor, Channon said. But its definetely a volume business as EMI said 3 million units of one lyric-licensed merchandise piece for a department store chain in Australia realized about 30,000 pounds profit.
As the article notes, however there are already hundreds of lyrics sites that the record companies have failed to police and it is going to be difficult for them to get this back under control.
When the words “Mr. Blue Sky” and lyrics are entered into a search, it returns thousands of separate sites offering those lyrics, and publishers “don’t get one red cent,” one panelist said. But Metro Lyrics CEO and co-founder Alan Juristovski said that publishers shouldn’t shut down pirate sites—rather, they should convert them to legitimate sites by trying to get them to license the lyrics, something which he claimed his site does.
"Mr Blue Sky" would that be an ELO fan? I've mentioned lyrics before here. Robert Darton in The New York Review of Books had a very interesting and (almost) poetic discussion of the potential impact of the Google/AAP agreement on the publishing industry. Well worth reading. (NYReview)
After lengthy negotiations, the plaintiffs and Google agreed on a settlement, which will have a profound effect on the way books reach readers for the foreseeable future. What will that future be?

No one knows, because the settlement is so complex that it is difficult to perceive the legal and economic contours in the new lay of the land. But those of us who are responsible for research libraries have a clear view of a common goal: we want to open up our collections and make them available to readers everywhere. How to get there? The only workable tactic may be vigilance: see as far ahead as you can; and while you keep your eye on the road, remember to look in the rearview mirror.

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