The Kindle, which was joined by other devices like Kobo’s e-reader, the Nook from Barnes & Noble and the iPad, drew millions of book buyers to e-readers, which offered seamless, instant purchases. Publishers saw huge spikes in digital sales during and after the holidays, after people received e-readers as gifts.But those double- and triple-digit growth rates plummeted as e-reading devices fell out of fashion with consumers, replaced by smartphones and tablets. Some 12 million e-readers were sold last year, a steep drop from the nearly 20 million sold in 2011, according to Forrester Research. The portion of people who read books primarily on e-readers fell to 32 percent in the first quarter of 2015, from 50 percent in 2012, a Nielsen survey showed.Higher e-book prices may also be driving readers back to paper.As publishers renegotiated new terms with Amazon in the past year and demanded the ability to set their own e-book prices, many have started charging more. With little difference in price between a $13 e-book and a paperback, some consumers may be opting for the print version.On Amazon, the paperback editions of some popular titles, like “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt, are several dollars cheaper than their digital counterparts. Paperback sales rose by 8.4 percent in the first five months of this year, the Association of American Publishers reported.The tug of war between pixels and print almost certainly isn’t over. Industry analysts and publishing executives say it is too soon to declare the death of the digital publishing revolution. An appealing new device might come along. Already, a growing number of people are reading e-books on their cellphones. Amazon recently unveiled a new tablet for $50, which could draw a new wave of customers to e-books (the first-generation Kindle cost $400).It is also possible that a growing number of people are still buying and reading e-books, just not from traditional publishers. The declining e-book sales reported by publishers do not account for the millions of readers who have migrated to cheap and plentiful self-published e-books, which often cost less than a dollar.At Amazon, digital book sales have maintained their upward trajectory, according to Russell Grandinetti, senior vice president of Kindle. Last year, Amazon, which controls some 65 percent of the e-book market, introduced an e-book subscription service that allows readers to pay a flat monthly fee of $10 for unlimited digital reading. It offers more than a million titles, many of them from self-published authors.Some publishing executives say the world is changing too quickly to declare that the digital tide is waning.“Maybe it’s just a pause here,” said Carolyn Reidy, the president and chief executive of Simon & Schuster. “Will the next generation want to read books on their smartphones, and will we see another burst come?”

Source: The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead – The New York Times

BookwormBookworm is a simple and powerful way to visualize trends in repositories of digitized texts.

Source: Bookworm

A draft report commissioned by the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) has said £20m should be invested in digital services over the next three years to prevent libraries from becoming “soup kitchens for the written word.”The report, entitled ‘Essential Digital Infrastructure for Public Libraries in England’ and conducted by Bibliocommons, a commercial provider of library software systems, says libraries are “pushing” users away by their lack of investment in digital technology.However, library campaigners including former Waterstones boss Tim Coates has criticised the draft report as “vexacious” for portraying libraries as “no longer being predominantly about books.”The draft document outlines the possibilities of digital development for public libraries in England and is intended to help libraries identify the changes to technology needed to “provide leverage and cohesiveness” for library services, and to meet the demands of users who journey “online and off” to the institutions.The official report will be published in October.

Source: Lack of digital library investment ‘pushing’ users away | The Bookseller

Kids today with their selfies and their Snapchats and their love of literature.Millennials, like each generation that was young before them, tend to attract all kinds of ire from their elders for being superficial, self-obsessed, anti-intellectuals. But a study out today from the Pew Research Center offers some vindication for the younger set. Millennials are reading more books than the over-30 crowd, Pew found in a survey of more than 6,000 Americans.Some 88 percent of Americans younger than 30 said they read a book in the past year compared with 79 percent of those older than 30. At the same time, American readers’ relationship with public libraries is changing—with younger readers less likely to see public libraries as essential in their communities.

Source: Millennials Are Out-Reading Older Generations – The Atlantic

The creator of Popcorn Time, software which lets people watch movies illegally online, has chosen to reveal his identity and speak out about his experiences developing the site.TorrentFreak reports that 29-year-old designer Federico Abad from Argentina revealed his identity in an interview with Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.Abad explained that he was inspired to create Popcorn Time because internet speeds in Argentina are so bad and because major movies often reach Argentinian cinemas months after they are released in the US.Developer Abad said that he recruited other people around the world using Twitter and Facebook. They worked overnight to create Popcorn Time and eventually “had concentration problems at work because of the project.” Abad said that he worked so hard on the project that his girlfriend left him.Popcorn Time let users illegally stream movies online for free. But it was shut down by Abad in 2014 after authorities put pressure on the site. Since then, other similar sites have launched that that use the same software. There’s even a Popcorn Time app.Popcorn TimeAbad said that he decided to shut down the project when he noticed that a lawyer working for Warner Brothers had viewed LinkedIn profiles belonging to developers working on Popcorn Time.“We do not know how, but he had managed to track us down. We were quite put out. We thought it was a scare tactic,” he said. “And we were frightened. None of us were anonymous anymore. They knew where we worked and where we lived.”

Source: The creator of piracy service ‘Popcorn Time’ has revealed his identity | Business Insider

So I’d been asked to write a book about whatever I wanted, and this editor didn’t even know whether I’d written anything before. It didn’t matter. It would sell its 300 copies regardless. Not to people with an interest in reading the book, but to librarians who would put it on a shelf and then, a few years later, probably bury it in a storeroom.Most academics get these requests. A colleague was recently courted by an editor who, after confessing they only published expensive hardbacks (at around £200), explained that this was an opportunity for my colleague to enhance his academic record. He was told he could give them pretty much anything, like an old report, or some old articles.“I can’t believe anyone would write a book that would be too expensive for anyone to buy,” the colleague told me over the phone. “Just to add a line to your cv.”Another colleague, on discovering his published book was getting widespread attention but was too expensive to buy, tried to get the publishers to rush out a cheaper paperback version. They ignored his request.These may sound like stories of concern to academics alone. But the problem is this: much of the time that goes into writing these books is made possible through taxpayers’ money. And who buys these books? Well, university libraries – and they, too, are paid for by taxpayers. Meanwhile, the books are not available for taxpayers to read – unless they have a university library card.In the US, taxpayers are said to be spending $139bn a year on research, and in the UK, £4.7bn. Too much of that money is disappearing into big pockets.So what are the alternatives? We could stop publishing these books altogether – which may be advisable in a time of hysterical mass publication . Or we publish only with decent publishers, who believe that books are meant to be read and not simply profited from. And if it’s only a matter of making research available, then of course there’s open source publishing, which most academics are aware of by now.So why don’t academics simply stay away from the greedy publishers? The only answer I can think of is vanity.

Source: Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

These are heady days for supporters of open access (OA), who argue that the results of publicly-funded research should be made freely available to all, not just those who can afford subscriptions to the scientific journals in which they are published.Earlier this year, the World Bank announced that it would adopt an open access policy for all its research outputs and “knowledge products”, which will be entered into a central repository to be made freely accessible on the internet.Last month, the British government said that, in future, it will require all the research it funds in British universities to be made openly accessible, with authors paying publishers a fee (funded out of research grants) to make this possible – a position already adopted by the influential Wellcome Trust. The move was rapidly followed by an announcement from the European commission that the same rule will apply to all commission-funded research.The UK’s Department of International Development recently announced all its research will be made freely available. And publishers such as BioMed Central are pioneering open access journals in developing regions such as Africa.

Source: Developing world gains open access to science research, but hurdles remain | Global development | The Guardian

But an article published in March by the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology found it was starting to occur, albeit slowly.“Various text-sharing platforms distribute tens of millions of documents online for free,” the study found. “However, these are still unknown to most of academia. Only a handful of articles acknowledge their existence in short passages, and no systematic study of the available collections has been undertaken until now.”

Source: Australian academics seek to challenge ‘web of avarice’ in scientific publishing | Science | The Guardian

visegradinsightPirate e-book libraries enable historically unprecedented access to the best scholarly knowledge, which CEE countries are definitely taking advantage of. Who is using these libraries and for what reasons?
Unique data on pirate library use helps answer these questions.
7_Vise_Bodo Balazs (2)

“I think the idea of intellectual property will naturally have to be modified to accommodate the way people exchange ideas and music and information. “The old copyright model has expired. It can no longer exclusively control music.”

Source: Steve Albini: The music industry is a parasite… and copyright is dead – Music Business Worldwide

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