Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Open book publishing

From time to time IP Finance has looked at alternative business models for the exploitation of intellectual property rights. One such model has been enthusiastically endorsed by a Cambridge academic, William St Clair, whose new book That Greece Might Still Be Free has just been published through the medium of Open Book Publishers. As William explains,

" ... the book is published in accordance with an entirely new publishing model. It can be read FREE OF CHARGE online anywhere in the world, but is also available to be bought at a reasonable price [IP Finance note: £22.95 hardback, £11.95 paperback] as a traditional - handsome - printed book. It is published under Creative Commons with the author keeping the copyright. We now have 'proof of concept' and also - a phrase I learned recently - 'lap value.'

The book can be purchased from the website or all the usual ways through
booksellers such as Amazon.

... this is a practical counter to the situation we have reached in academic publishing of 'all rights reserved', tiny print runs, and high prices, with copies being accessible in only a handful of well endowed libraries mainly in the United States".
William's involvement goes a little deeper, as he explains:
"... my book The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period [IP Finance note: this book costs £96 from Cambridge University Press] has offered a quantified evaluation of the real world effects of various historic types of copyright regimes, especially the damaging effects of monopoly on prices, access, educational levels and so on.

At OBP we have about 20 other titles at various stages of preparation, including the volume of essays on the history of intellectual property 'Privilege and Property' that derives from the Stationers' Hall conference".
IP Finance wonders whether its readers, particularly those from non-English-speaking countries, have come across any similar types of venture and, if so, how successful they have been in (i) disseminating academic content, (ii) providing an income stream and (iii) resolving any arising copyright issues. Comments, please!

1 comment:

Paul Heald said...

My friend Professor Joe Miller sells his IP textbooks under a similar interesting voluntary scheme . . . check it out: http://www.semaphorepress.com/about.html They've been quite successful and people actually pay!