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Information in the Publishing Value Chain and Academic Publishing


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12th-13th April - Room 5.B.14 – Edinburgh Napier University Sighthill campus

Dr. Christina Banou,
Assistant Professor in Book Policy and Publishing,
Dep. of Archives, Library Science and Museology,
Faculty of Information Science and Informatics,
Ionian University,
Ioannou Theotoki 72, Corfu 49100, Greece,
Tel: +30-26610-87416, email:

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Information in the Publishing Value Chain and Academic Publishing

  1. 1. Information in the Publishing Value Chain and Academic Publishing ESRC SCOTTISH DOCTORAL TRAINING CENTRE INFORMATION SCIENCE PATHWAY TRAINING 2016 12th-13th April - Room 5.B.14 – Edinburgh Napier University Sighthill campus Dr. Christina Banou, Assistant Professor in Book Policy and Publishing, Dep. of Archives, Library Science and Museology, Faculty of Information Science and Informatics, Ionian University, Ioannou Theotoki 72, Corfu 49100, Greece, Tel: +30-26610-87416, email:
  2. 2. WE WILL FOCUS ON THE FOLLOWING  Overview of the publishing industry nowadays: features, aims and values, current trends,  The impact of new information and communication technologies on the publishing industry,  The publishing chain as value chain  Publishing chain and academic publishing  New business models in publishing,  New publishing models,  The role of information in the publishing activity.  The publishing chain as information chain,  How information adds value  How information develops strategies and policies  Building communities of readers / researchers  Reader engagement
  3. 3. Considering the book in all its forms  Transformations of the book: co-existence of printed, digital and electronic publications.  The book is constantly developing nowadays due to information technologies, multimedia and publishing models  Reading on ebooks, tablets, smartphones…  The medium on which we read change the way we write, communicate, create and think
  4. 4. THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY NOWADAYS: CURRENT TRENDS AND ISSUES (1)  Mergers and acquisitions of publishing houses during the past decades, leading to the  Dominance of the large publishing companies and conglomerations.  The impact of information technologies that brings about  New publishing models (open access, printing on demand, self- publishing, crowdsourcing etc.)  New business models (such as pay per use models, micropayments, crowdfunding, embedded advertising…)  “New” consumer behaviour,  “New” information behaviour,  “New” reading behaviour,  “New” promotion strategies due to information technologies
  5. 5. THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY NOWADAYS: CURRENT TRENDS AND ISSUES (2)  Changes in bookselling. Chain bookstores vs traditional brick and mortar bookstores. But … problems in chain bookstores nowadays .  Electronic bookstores. New trends in marketing and promotion,  Bestselling culture,  Rise of literary agents,  User / reader engagement. User participation: Member, not customer.  Online communities of readers,  Use of social media,  Convergence of media,  Transformations of the book
  6. 6. RE-CONSIDERING PUBLISHING VALUES  Globalization,  Convergence,  Access,  Innovation,  Discoverability  Redefinition of roles?  Demand for friendly books  User / reader engagement,  Direct communication between publisher and reader  Transformations of the book,  Role of Information.,  Taste of the reading audience ,  Technology, technology…
  7. 7. Abundance of information  The abundance of information in the book publishing industry requires  A. “new” strategies for the publishers so as to further and better inform the reading audience and possible customers and thus promote their books and,  B. new mediums and tools for the readers in order to be better and fully informed according to their information needs and reading expectations.
  8. 8. “Managing the scarcity of good authors and content”  “In a world of abundance, the publishers offer a vital service in selecting authors and developing their content to meet readers’ needs. They manage the author’s brands and focus readers on the books they have selected. That service is worth paying for when time is scarce. To attempt another definition: the publishing process may be described as managing the scarcity of good authors and content to drive profitability”. [Clark, Gilles & Phillips, Angus (2014), Inside Book Publishing, Routledge, p. 21].
  9. 9. The Information Revolution begins with Gutenberg  The printed book as mass information medium brought about a  Revolution in knowledge dissemination, access to information, scholarly communication, educational process, information sharing..  The book as commodity, as commercial product, information medium, material – art object 
  10. 10. Publishing is part of the information industry  Publishing is also a creative industry  The book is considered a unique object (intangible and tangible). Even when it is not a material object, the aesthetics of the book matter.  Intellectual capital,  Economic capital,  Human capital,  Symbolic capital,
  11. 11. THE PUBLISHING CHAIN AS VALUE CHAIN. FROM THE AUTHOR TO THE READER SOURCE: THOMPSON J. B.( 2012) Merchants of Culture. Publishing business in the Twenty First Century, Polity Press.
  12. 12. The publishing chain is a value chain Publishing adds value to the text through  Editing  Proofreading  Book design – artistic identity of the book, whether printed or not  Promotion  Marketing  Distribution  Advertisement  Collaborations.  How new information technologies change this?
  13. 13. The publishing value chain (Clark & Phillips, Inside Book Publishing, 2008, 67)  V
  14. 14. New information technologies have changed the publishing activity as a whole:  Text acquisition  Publishing services  Book design  Book Production  New publishing models (such as self-publishing)  Distribution  Marketing  Promotion  Advertisement  Reading  Criticism  Communities or readers  Libraries - information services
  15. 15. Impact of new information technologies New information technologies have brought about changes in:  The publishing chain,  The nature of the book,  Reading experiences.  Scholarly communication,  Consumer culture,  Aesthetic identity of the book,  Creation,  User / reader engagement, (dynamic, emerged role of the reader)  Social media in building communities of readers (such as bookblogs)  Publishing models  Business models in publishing
  16. 16. RE-DEVELOPING PUBLISHING STRATEGIES  Inevitably, the  A. information seeking behaviour,  B. consumer behaviour,  C. online communities of readers  are exploited by the publishing companies in order to develop content acquisition (list building), promotion, publicity, marketing and advertisement strategies so as to widen their reading audience.  Information as a marketing tool (market knowledge and feedback from the publisher). Social media marketing
  17. 17. The academic publishing value chain  The impact of technology (online journals, online publications),  Publishers,  Open Access,  Academic presses,  Reader engagement / participation stronger than in other publishing sectors  Online communities of researchers  Networks and their influence in the publishing chain  “Prestige” publication  Branding, symbolic capital
  18. 18. A different engagement: The reader – author – editor in the academic publishing chain The active role of the reader seems to have already been active in academic publishing where the reader may also be  author,  peer reviewer,  editor,  member of the scientific committee,  member of the editorial board,  …  Recommending also the book to students, libraries, colleagues, networks…
  19. 19. Thus, the reader is among those who  Decide,  Recommend,  Share risks,  Create,  Co-create,  Intervene, participate  Reader/user engagement different from other publishing sectors.  The role of the reader had already been upgraded
  20. 20. List building in monographs  Scholarly monographs – decline of sales.  Greater Selectivity in terms of title acquisition, as discussed by J. Thompson (2005:126), “may be an entirely sensible strategy” because  “not all academic publishers are so sure that there is a direct and reliable correlation between quality and commercial viability” (127).  It is more complex than in other sectors, difficult to implement in practice (127). “this is partly because judgements of quality are by nature controversial and there is often room for disagreement, especially in the humanities and social sciences”.  Thompson, J.B. (2005), Publishing in the Digital Age. The Transformation of Academic and Higher Education Publishing in Britain and the United States, Cambridge: Polity Press
  21. 21. Kind of texts published  Monographs,  Journals,  Textbooks,  Proceedings,  Reference works,  Anthologies  Books that have trade potential (“academic-trade” titles )
  22. 22. Specialization. Why?  Both university presses and commercial publishing companies published across a wide range of academic disciplines.  Disciplinary specialization. Why?
  23. 23. Difficulties in the market for monographs? Going back to the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution  Nicolaus Copernicus, De revolutionibus orbium caelestium libri sex, Johannes Petrius, Nuremberg 1543.  The beginning of the Scientific Revolution is marked by and begins with the publication of the work of Copernicus.  “quod mundus sit sphaericus” Questions that raise include:  Did that book sell?  Did that book changed history?  Which was the audience?  What does success mean?  Reduced audiences? Censorship?  Difficulties in distribution,  Johannes Kepler said that probably his readers would read his works in a century time”. He is writing for the reader of the future
  24. 24. Frontlist and backlist  Backlist – creating fame and prestige  New readers for the backlist  New editions
  25. 25. Re-developing the academic publishing chain  Re-developing strategies  Re-considering values  Re-discovering methods  Upgraded role of the reader  Role of technology  Networking, social media,  Universities,  Academic libraries
  26. 26. Online academic / research communities. Networking that offers to researchers:  Communication,  Access to scientific publications,  Discussion,  Collaboration,  Participation,  Sharing content,  Self-presentation, Academies go back in time. For example, in Renaissance
  27. 27. Academic networking and publishing  Chi recognizes that publishers have to expand their role so as to embrace innovation and networks of information and mentions (2014: 348) that “only 20% of scholars do not use social media professionally, while over 40% of scholars use social media to discover peers, over 45% use it to post their work, and nearly 50% use it to follow online discussions” ending to “we as publishers are beginning to better understand how users interact with these platforms, which means we can improve our products…”.  Chi, Y.S. (2014), “The E-volution of Publishing: Challenges and Opportunities in the Digital Age” Publishing Research Quarterly, 30, 344- 351.
  28. 28. Added value: what do publishers gain from online communities – social media?  Feedback from readers  Market knowledge  Promotion  Publicity  Sales, often direct  An effective tool for marketing  Discovering new authors and good books  Interactivity with other stakeholders (authors etc.)  Sharing risks  Sharing costs  Collaborations  Widening of the reading audience
  29. 29. “Uses” of information in the publishing activity  From the publisher’s point of view  From the reader’s point of view
  30. 30. Convergence of media and upgraded roles  Experimentation in the artistic identity of the book  From traditional linear models to circular models (Thompson 2005: 135)
  31. 31. Everything….implies information  Convergence implies information  Innovation implies information  Risk implies information  Discoverability implies information  Finally, success implies information
  32. 32. Information as challenge and opportunity  Among the main challenges that the publishing industry faces is the exploitation of new information technologies and the creation of creative networks.  The information networks may lead to development of the product, to successful management and marketing, to sales and success, and to better publishing and bookselling services.  The academic publishing value chain is transformed
  33. 33. Publishing in hard times  Times are always hard for publishing (R. Calasso, 2015: 13) …  And innovative,  And certainly, rewarding
  34. 34. Thank you. Erik Desmazieres, illustration to Jorge Luis Borges’ The Library of Babel (1997)