SPARC Urges Department of Justice to Block Merger Between Cengage and McGraw-Hill – SPARC

“Today, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) submitted a detailed filing to the U.S. Department of Justice urging federal antitrust enforcers to block the proposed merger between college textbook publishing giants Cengage and McGraw-Hill Education. The merger would create the largest publisher of college course materials in the United States and the world’s second largest education publisher overall….”

UVA Library Joins Open Textbook Network | UVA Library News and Announcements

“The University of Virginia Library is joining the Open Textbook Network (OTN), an international alliance of colleges and universities dedicated to enhancing students’ access to free, openly licensed course content.

As an OTN member, the University of Virginia Library will begin working this fall with faculty to promote awareness of a rapidly growing body of open educational resources (OER), developed by colleges and universities in this country and abroad, and to help them use this material in their courses. Future plans for the implementation of an OER program at UVA include supporting new content created by faculty, with the possibility of publication through Aperio, the Library’s new publishing service.

The UVA library has been working closely for the past year with fellow Virginia institutions on OER initiatives through the Virginia Academic Library Consortium(VIVA). Membership in these groups signals our commitment to open education as a way to promote innovations in teaching and learning while also addressing growing concerns about coursework affordability….”

Scholarly E-Books and University Presses – Part Two – The Scholarly Kitchen

“What happens to print when digital is available first and for free? Does print get cannibalized by free, open digital. Or does free, open digital lead to more print activity?

LB [Lisa Bayer]: Rather than a complement, which might imply subsidiary, I see e-books and aggregated digital content as equally important to print for scholarly books. For complex and diverse reasons, monographs are much less likely to be purchased in print editions by research libraries, especially given the enhanced accessibility, portability, and discoverability that digitally delivered content affords. When we send our content to aggregators, we join a huge network of scholarly publishers reaching thousands of institutions worldwide: that is mission-critical. At one of the last O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conferences I heard a smart person say, “The page is no longer primary.” For most of our customers, print books are still primary. But university presses operate in a file-based ecosystem, increasingly so with Open Access pilots and platforms such as Manifold, PubPub, Fulcrum, Humanities Open Book, and the Sustainable History Monograph Program….”

Where to Download the Millions of Free eBooks that Secretly Entered the Public Domain

“Everyone is paying for books when they don’t have to. There’s so many ways to read almost anything ever published, for free, that it borders on the obscene. Libraries: They’re good! Sure, if you want the latest release from your favorite author you either have to pay or wait for a copy from the library, but for millions of older books, you can get a digital version, legally, for free. One secret of the publishing industry is that most American books published before 1964 never extended their copyright, meaning they’re in the public domain today….”

Where to Download the Millions of Free eBooks that Secretly Entered the Public Domain

“Everyone is paying for books when they don’t have to. There’s so many ways to read almost anything ever published, for free, that it borders on the obscene. Libraries: They’re good! Sure, if you want the latest release from your favorite author you either have to pay or wait for a copy from the library, but for millions of older books, you can get a digital version, legally, for free. One secret of the publishing industry is that most American books published before 1964 never extended their copyright, meaning they’re in the public domain today….”

Digital Textbooks Are Forcing a Radical Shift in Higher Ed | WIRED

“Just as traditional software has a thriving open source community, textbooks have Open Educational Resources, complete textbooks that typically come free of charge digitally, or for a small fee—enough to cover the printing—in hard copy. And while it’s not an entirely new concept, OER has gained momentum in recent years, particularly as support has picked up at an institutional level, rather than on a course by course basis. According to a 2018 Babson College survey, faculty awareness of OER jumped from 34 percent to 46 percent since 2015.

One of OER’s leading proponents is OpenStax, a nonprofit based out of Rice University that offers a few dozen free textbooks, covering everything from AP Biology to Principles of Accounting. In the 2019–2020 academic year, 2.7 million students across 6,600 institutions used an OpenStax product instead of a for-profit equivalent….”

Q&A: Cengage/McGraw-Hill Merger – SPARC

“Over the past year, one of SPARC’s top priorities has been tracking the evolution of the academic publishing industry and its implications for the future of research and education. The urgency of the issues outlined in our Landscape Analysis was put into sharp relief in May, when Cengage and McGraw-Hill—the second and third largest college textbook publishers—announced plans to merge. If approved by federal regulators, the merger would reshape the U.S. higher education course material market as a duopoly—with potentially dire consequences in terms of price, access, and control of student data….

Libraries are fighting to preserve your right to borrow e-books (opinion) – CNN

“Librarians to publishers: Please take our money. Publishers to librarians: Drop dead.

That’s the upshot of Macmillan publishing’s recent decision which represents yet another insult to libraries. For the first two months after a Macmillan book is published, a library can only buy one copy, at a discount. After eight weeks, they can purchase “expiring” e-book copies which need to be re-purchased after two years or 52 lends. As publishers struggle with the continuing shake-up of their business models, and work to find practical approaches to managing digital content in a marketplace overwhelmingly dominated by Amazon, libraries are being portrayed as a problem, not a solution. Libraries agree there’s a problem — but we know it’s not us….”

 

Digital Content vs. Digital Access | Digital Tweed

“All good, it would seem.  These strategies suggest lower cost, “fresher” (or constantly improving) curricular content along with better options for Day One access.   After all, textbook prices are the low-hanging fruit (and publishers the villains) in one component of the continuing public anger and angst about college costs.  So strategies that promise to reduce costs and enhance Day One access are good things.

And yet, going digital or digital first strategies may actually disadvantage large numbers of low-income, full- and part-time undergraduates, primarily enrolled in community colleges or public four-year comprehensives, who are the intended beneficiaries of these initiatives.  As shown below, there is consistent and significant concern from faculty, from provosts/Chief Academic Officers, and from CIOs, about digital access as a key issue in the process of going digital….”

Data-mining reveals that 80% of books published 1924-63 never had their copyrights renewed and are now in the public domain / Boing Boing

“But there’s another source of public domain works: until the 1976 Copyright Act, US works were not copyrighted unless they were registered, and then they quickly became public domain unless that registration was renewed. The problem has been to figure out which of these works were in the public domain, because the US Copyright Office’s records were not organized in a way that made it possible to easily cross-check a work with its registration and renewal.

For many years, the Internet Archive has hosted an archive of registration records, which were partially machine-readable.

Enter the New York Public Library, which employed a group of people to encode all these records in XML, making them amenable to automated data-mining.

Now, Leonard Richardson (previously) has done the magic data-mining work to affirmatively determine which of the 1924-63 books are in the public domain, which turns out to be 80% of those books; what’s more, many of these books have already been scanned by the Hathi Trust (which uses a limitation in copyright to scan university library holdings for use by educational institutions, regardless of copyright status)….”