Book Review: Chris Mackenzie Jones, Behind the Book: Eleven Authors on Their Path to Publication

Aside from hints in the acknowledgments, the process of how a book comes to be often remains hidden from readers. Behind the Book (2018), a new title in the Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing series, seeks to pull back the curtain. Chris Mackenzie Jones of the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis interviewed eleven first-time trade authors, using their stories to provide advice for aspiring writers.

“Let’s start a journal!”: The Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Journal as Educational Opportunity

The University of Lethbridge is a medium-sized, primarily undergraduate, comprehensive research university on the Canadian Prairies in Alberta. It has a small but growing graduate school, within which most students are studying at the masters level. For many years, the graduate student elected representative body, the Graduate Students Association (GSA), has sponsored an annual refereed conference, Meeting of the Minds. In 2015 the GSA decided to supplement this conference with an accompanying journal, also called Meeting of the Minds. This article discusses the lessons learned in establishing this journal and overseeing its first two years of operations (and first year of publication). The article concentrates on two sets of problems: 1) philosophical, economic, and sociological issues that arose at the conceptual level while establishing a multidisciplinary, institution-focused graduate journal; and 2) technical, bibliographic, organizational, and economic issues encountered in attempting to address these conceptual concerns and ensure the long-term viability of the research accepted and published. Although the journal was not able to solve all the problems that arose during the first two years of operation, several solutions on the organizational, technological, economic, and bibliographic levels were developed that might be used by others establishing similar scholar- or student-led journals.

The Secret

We may have entered the wrong carriage on the train from Cambridge to London; we are sure at least that the people having this conversation did not know that we overheard them. We did not take notes, but this is what we think they said:

An Editorial Farewell

Almost three years ago, in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of The Journal of Electronic Publishing, I sat down to reflect on the history of the journal and my relationship to it. I’ll quote here at length from my editorial note for that anniversary issue. I began by recalling my first encounters with JEP, circa 1997 when I was finding my way out of library school and on to the Web. As I said in 2015:

Practicing What You Preach: Evaluating Access of Open Access Research

The open access (OA) movement seeks to encourage all researchers to make their works openly available and free of paywalls so more people can access their knowledge. Yet some researchers who study OA continue to publish their work in paywalled journals and fail to make it open. This project set out to study 1) how many published research articles about OA fall into this category, 2) how many are being made open (whether by being published in a gold OA or hybrid journal or through open deposit), and 3) how library and information science authors compare to researchers from other disciplines who research OA. A sample from Web of Science (WOS) of articles published since 2010 shows that although a majority of research articles about OA are open in some form, a little more than a quarter are not. A smaller rate of library science researchers made their work open compared to non-library science researchers. In articles published in hybrid and open journals, authors who printed in an open journal were more likely to retain copyright ownership than authors who published in hybrid journals. Articles were more likely to be published with a Creative Commons license if published in an open journal compared to those published in hybrid journals.

Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers

A JSTOR Labs ReportJune 2017Scholarly books are increasingly available in digital form, but the online interfaces for using these books often allow only for the browsing of portable document format (PDF) files. JSTOR Labs, an experimental product development group within the not-for-profit digital library JSTOR, undertook an ideation and design process to develop new and different ways of showing scholarly books online, with the goal that this new viewing interface be relatively simple and inexpensive to implement for any scholarly book that is already available in PDF form. This paper documents that design process, including the recommendations of a working group of scholars, publishers, and librarians convened by JSTOR Labs and the Columbia University Libraries in October 2016. The prototype monograph viewer developed through this process—called “Topicgraph”—is described herein and is freely available online at

Why Book Processing Charges (BPCs) Vary So Much

Observers of monograph publishing often complain of a lack of transparency around publishing “costs”. There is the sense that BPCs are arbitrary and do not relate to real costs. In a landscape study covering eight European countries (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and UK) my colleagues and I came across BPCs ranging from €500 to €18,500 ($585 – $21,640). Here I aim to explain why by looking at what services are offered for a BPC and also explain why coming up with precise and comparable costs is problematic. The figures are taken mainly from UK and global English-language publishing, however, the basic considerations do not differ greatly from those found elsewhere. A glossary of accounting terms is provided at the end of this article. One purpose of this article has been to indicate that BPCs and APCs are not the same and to show how greater transparency can lead to getting to reasonable BPCs with less acrimony than has been the case with journal APCs.

Public Libraries as Publishers: Critical Opportunity

Libraries have a long and distinguished history of publishing, since their earliest days. Traditionally libraries published to expose their collections through bibliographies, facsimiles, and catalogs. While the Internet has made discovery and dissemination of library holdings easier than ever before, digital publishing technologies have also unlocked compelling new purposes for library publishing, including through Open Access publishing initiatives. The self-publishing explosion and availability of self-publishing tools and services geared to libraries have heralded new opportunities for libraries, especially public libraries, to engage their communities in new ways. By supporting self-publishing initiative in their communities, public libraries can promote standards of quality in self-publishing, provide unique opportunities to engage underserved populations, and become true archives of their communities.
Keywords: library publishing, self-publishing, public libraries

Rhyme or Reason?: Patterns in Book Pricing by Format

This study illuminates the differentials in book pricing by format, which can appear arbitrary and unpredictable. Using the paperback list price as the base, the research uses a sample of 500 titles selected for purchase by a small, private liberal arts college library during a defined time period. I have recorded the prices of paperback, hardcover, single and multiple-user e-books from Ebrary, EBSCO, and Amazon Kindle. The mean pricing differential is calculated for each version across all titles in the sample, as well as for the top five publishers represented in the sample, in order to identify patterns in pricing decisions.