Welcome to the eigth edition of fullstopp FLASH. With a busy week just closing, we hope you all had a good fair. We had loads of meetings and conversations – below, you’ll find a glimpse of our impressions. Let us know about your LBF impressions or whether something left you unsettled!
Your fullstopp team
Sven Fund: The New Logic of Technology Investments
The number of publishing technology providers exhibiting at London Book Fair seems to be growing every year. I spent quite some time this year – again – trying to not only learn about new suppliers, but primarily about new approaches to solve business challenges publishers face. It seems to me that the focus on the best technological solution is still very much the focus, while vendors more often than not lack an understanding of what keeps publishers up at night. Margins are under pressure, and nice to have-technology investments are a phenomenon of the past. Vendors need to embrace this – or they will fail.
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Felix Evert: Making Words Go Further
The London Book Fair panel discussion on open access for monographs was a great opportunity to browse different views on the state of open access for books. One comment from Matthew Day of Cambridge University Press struck me in particular. Asking Matthew about the recent challenges he encounters implementing the open access for monographs processes, his surprising response didn’t include the usual challenges such as overcoming hesitation or lack of funding. Rather, Matthew sees his works in the broader context of dynamic and transformative business environments: “There is so much change everywhere in the publishing ecosystem.” Hence, the challenge is to align open access activities with other ongoing changes.
As a long-term proponent of open access to scholarly information, you might be disappointed by the still small share of open access monographs in the market. Matt’s day to day experience however provides reason to be optimistic. It means that leading publishing houses like Cambridge University Press moved beyond experimentation, now putting open access on the agenda together with all the other stuff that needs attention and resources for completion. From now on, the success of open access for scholarly monographs is just a matter of smart change management. In order to make open access for scholarly monographs happen, let’s talk about effective change management. We’ll start next Sunday in your inbox.
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Marcel Knöchelmann: Let’s Get Specific
Concepts are big issues in publishing. Normally, whenever there is change, people start talking in concepts and soon arrive at specific issues. In publishing, though, discussions seem to get stuck in the concepts. Take for instance digital disruption, open access, or the buzz around start-ups. You may say, these are just generalisations to get conversations going. After years of conversations, though, this has become a false argument. Time is ripe to move from generalising concepts to specific issues. Especially at occasions of public speaking.
At book fairs, publishing conferences, and even often enough in the established media, concepts replace specific issues. It’s as if the content creators or panel hosts don’t want to get too specific as it would then become a niche issue. I’d welcome more specific debates, moving away from the larger concepts. Even if that’d mean getting further into niche topics: If the content is getting niche – adjust the format to niche as well. Why are there no bar camps or open stages at book fairs and conferences? Do panels always have to stay at the surface only to appeal to the broad audience?
Read the full article on this issue on LePublikateur: http://www.lepublikateur.de/2017/03/19/talk-town-get-specific/
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