“Why go through all the trouble of writing a book, only to give it away?
Answer: To build an audience.
As we’ve seen in case study after case study, doing business online becomes much easier and much more profitable if you have a built-in audience who loves your work.
I made the case that having a “permafree” book on Amazon is the equivalent of guest blogging on steroids. It’s one of the most highly-trafficked sites in the world, which means the potential to get tens of thousands of eyeballs on your book. You’ll never find a bigger “guest posting” opportunity.
And like a good guest post, your free book can lead people back to your site to learn more about you and opt-in for additional useful content….”
English Translation (Google): Open Access Monographs
“Es wirkt ja schon widersprüchlich, wenn eine Monographie zu Open Access zunächst geschlossen publiziert wird und erst in einem Jahr unter einer CC-BY-Lizenz freigegeben wird. Ich kenne allerdings dieses Dilemma auch aus Autorensicht und möchte mich vor diesem Hintergrund zur aktuellen Kritik am Praxishandbuch Open Access äussern.”
English Translation (Google): “It is already contradictory if a monograph on Open Access is first published in a closed version and is only released in a year under a CC-BY license. I know, however, this dilemma also from authoring and would like to express myself against this background to the current criticism of the Praxishandbuch Open Access.”
“University of Michigan Press recently did a study of our http://www.digitalculture.org/books/ imprint — started a decade ago as an OA-to-read-online, purchase print or downloadable ebook “freemium” model like MIT Press’s approach. We found that while some books lost money and others made money the overall picture was one where the “direct” costs of production could be covered by the sales of print and downloadable ebooks.
These “direct” costs are around half of the actual costs of publishing books (they don’t take account acquisitions editorial activity, for example) so the picture was not ultimately of a sustainable approach for high investment university press books, but workable for titles with a more lightweight workflow. Of course electronic reading behavior keeps changing so assuming that readers of an OA book on screen might still buy print is a risky proposition.
This is perhaps a rather convoluted reply, but I think it illustrates that the question about sustainability of “freemium” models conducted without subventions doesn’t have an easy answer. There are case studies where it may seem to work, but there are others which tell a more nuanced story….”
“OUP took some risks with this book, notably agreeing to go Open Access from day one. That is a huge leap from the traditional publishing model of publishing only the hardback for a year, then deciding when to go into paperback. Some people, particularly cash-strapped students used to reading on screen, are likely to take the OA route, but OUP hoped the buzz around open access would generate some sales, or people would start reading the pdf, and then see enough to buy a copy.
So what happened? Turns out that Open Access doesn’t harm book sales and if anything, promotes them. So far, OUP has sold 3,500 hardbacks and Oxfam has distributed a further 1,500 of a paperback edition at events, to staff etc..
Obviously, there’s no clear counterfactual as all books are different, but OUP are pretty convinced that OA has generated more of a buzz than a simple hardback ever could. It’s certainly better than I’ve had with any of my previous books.
The Open Access numbers are also really interesting (at least to me): 5,700 downloads of the full pdf, mainly from the Oxfam site; over 2,000 book views on Oxford Scholarship Online; and 115,000 page views on Google Books, with the average visitor reading 10 pages. Somewhere in between comes the £2 kindle version – just a couple of hundred so far.
So big tick on Open Access, and props to OUP for being willing to take the risk. Glad it’s paid off so far….”
“Open Access publishing has no negative effect on book sales, and increases online usage and discovery considerably.
This is one of the conclusions of OAPEN-NL, a project exploring Open Access monograph publishing in the Netherlands. OAPEN-NL’s final report, published yesterday, gives recommendations for research funders, libraries, publishers and authors….”
Abstract: While open access publishing for journals is well established, open access monograph publishing is taking longer to gain momentum. This is in large part due to the financial challenges involved in publishing monographs. Publishers are concerned that the availability of a free open access edition will cannibalise print sales and therefore the publisher’s ability to recoup the costs involved in producing a book i.e. peer review, editing, typesetting, technological infrastructure, sales, marketing and staff. But is that really the case? Or does the availability of the open access version mean wider access to the book, all round the world and to new audiences, and in some cases increased print sales as a result of the greater visibility? This article will look at some statistics from the OAPEN-UK / Jisc project that has been investigating open access monograph publishing during the last five years. As part of its research, the project ran a pilot comparing open access monograph download figures with print sales of comparable books to assess what the effect on print sales actually is. It will also review the Knowledge Unlatched pilot, which made 28 books by a range of publishers available as open access, with some interesting results. The outcome of these pilots will be compared with UCL Press’s own experience since launching as the UK’s first fully open access university press in June 2015, along with some examples from other open access publishers.
“After a month of intense conversations and negotiations, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) will bring the ‘Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act’ up for mark-up on Wednesday, July 29th. The language that will be considered is an amended version of FASTR, officially known as the ‘Johnson-Carper Substitute Amendment,’ which was officially filed by the HSGAC leadership late on Friday afternoon, per committee rules. There are two major changes from the original bill language to be particularly aware of. Specifically, the amendment Replaces the six month embargo period with ‘no later than 12 months, but preferably sooner’ as anticipated; and Provides a mechanism for stakeholders to petition federal agencies to ‘adjust’ the embargo period if the12 months does not serve ‘the public, industries, and the scientific community.’ We understand that these modifications were made in order accomplish a number of things: Satisfy the requirement of a number of Members of HSGAC that the language more closely track that of the OSTP Directive; Meet the preference of the major U.S. higher education associations for a maximum 12 month embargo; Ensure that, for the first time, a number of scientific societies will drop their opposition for the bill; and Ensure that any petition process an agency may enable is focused on serving the interests of the public and the scientific community …”
“Impact is multi-dimensional, the routes by which impact occur are different across disciplines and sectors, and impact changes over time. Jane Tinkler argues that if institutions like HEFCE specify a narrow set of impact metrics, more harm than good would come to universities forced to limit their understanding of how research is making a difference. But qualitative and quantitative indicators continue to be an incredible source of learning for how impact works in each of our disciplines, locations or sectors.”
“Open access for monographs and book chapters is a relatively new area of publishing, and there are many ways of approaching it. With this in mind, a recent publication from the Wellcome Trust aims to provide some guidance for publishers to consider when developing policies and processes for open access books. The Wellcome Trust recognises that implementation around publishing monographs and book chapters open access is in flux, and invites publishers to email Cecy Marden at email@example.com with any suggestions for further guidance that would be useful to include in this document. ‘Open Access Monographs and Book Chapters: A practical guide for publishers’ is available to download as a pdf from the Wellcome Trust website.”
“The purpose of this post is to shed some light on a specific issue in the transition to open access that particularly affects small and low-cost publishers and to suggest one strategy to address this issue. In the words of one Resource Requirements interviewee: ‘So the other set of members that we used to have about forty library members , but when we went to open access online, we lost the whole bunch of libraries. Yeah, so basically we sent everybody ,you know, a letter saying we are going to open access online, the annual membership is only $30, we hope you will continue to support us even though there are no longer print journals, and then a whole flu of cancellations came in from a whole bunch of libraries, which we had kind of thought might happen but given how cheap we are, I have to say I was really disappointed when it indeed did happen especially from whole bunch of [deleted] libraries [for which our journal is extremely relevant]. I was going, seriously $30?’ Comments: for a university library, a society membership fee, when not required for journal subscriptions, may be difficult to justify from an accounting perspective. $30 is a small cost; however, for a university the administrative work of tracking such memberships and cutting a check every year likely exceeds the $30 cost. With 40 library members at a cost of $30, the total revenue for this journal from this source was $1,200. A university or university library could sponsor this amount at less than the cost of many an article processing charge. The university and library where the faculty member is located have a support program for open access journals; clearly the will, and some funding, is there. One of the challenges is transitioning subscription dollars to support for open access, as I address in my 2013 First Monday article. Following is one suggestion for libraries, or for faculty to suggest to their libraries: why not engage your faculty who are independent or society publishers to gain support for cancellations or tough negotiations and lower prices for the big deals of large, highly profitable commercial publishers that I argue are critical to redirect funding to our own publishing activities? Here is one scenario that may help to explain the potential …”