on demand textbook publishing [was Re: [FoRK] Sony's 2nd gen ebook reader site]

Luis Villa luis.villa
Sun Jan 8 14:54:24 PST 2006


On 1/6/06, Ken Meltsner <meltsner at alum.mit.edu> wrote:
> On 1/6/06, Luis Villa <luis.villa at gmail.com> wrote:
> ...
> > Just as a data point, when I saw R. Preston McAfee had published his
> > intro to econ textbook (352 pages) under a CC license I suggested he
> > publish it at lulu.com. It was available the next day for $11.60 plus
> > shipping, which he said was less than he'd been paying to get it
> > printed at the local copy shop. So the economics of book publishing
> > (particularly low print run textbooks) are soon going to be upended
> > anyway, I think.
>
>
> See, that's the point -- you can print, on demand, a full textbook for
> $11.60 including the printer's profit.  That's an approximation of the
> *maximum* that a publisher can "save" by moving a book from paper to
> bits.

My point was that you don't need a publisher anymore. They are
dinosaurs (*particularly* academic publishers even more than the
rest); the savings or non-savings e-books bring them is irrelevant.

> Just as Linux is "considered" to be the big threat to Windows,
> projects like MIT"s OCW will be viewed as threats to traditional
> textbook publishing.  And the more desperate publishers become to
> protect their turf. the more professors will choose OCW-like texts
> instead of proprietary ones....

Yup. As I've said before, the best thing that could happen for open
content of all sorts is for the traditional content creation industry
to get *exactly* what it wants. If they got "perfect" DRM today with
all the restrictions they want, people would start using open content
first thing tomorrow morning.

Luis



More information about the FoRK mailing list