We typically classify publishers as Old Media and New Media, but now we have companies that are part of a new paradigm, the Dat Media company. Such companies sit above both Old and New, studying patterns in usage and in the databases of information aggregated by publishers.
Although Amazon is a central player in many areas of publishing and media, it is hard to predict where it will head next. This makes it hard to plan to compete with it. On the other hand, Amazon has some typical ways that it behaves when it enters a market and strategic planners can learn from them.
Although we in scholarly publishing typically focus on the problems we face, there is a small group of highly successful journal publishers. These publishers fall into three broad categories. To a great extent, these publishers are resistant to challenge.
Professional societies are facing growing resistance to place their publications in libraries. This results in these societies seeking arrangements with the largest commercial publishers, whose sway with libraries and especially library consortia is significant. Libraries have demonstrated a clear preference to work with the larger publishers over the smaller ones. This leads to increasing concentration and market power in the academic publishing industry.
A presentation delivered to the International Coalition of Library Consortia, the thesis of which is that libraries and consortia have adopted policies that inadvertently marginalize smaller publishers, to the advantage of the largest publishers.
New research on book publishing shows that ebook usage is growing and that the academic and professional segment is maturing, while still growing at a steady pace.
A presentation to a scientific society on the current environment that STM publishers have to work in. Five issues are identified: regulatory matters, new technology, the structure of the marketplace, competition, and governance.
There is a rumor, based on no or scant evidence, that Google is preparing to launch a platform for scholarly communications, which could threaten established STM publishers. A publisher should react to this by reviewing its own internal operations and value proposition. In particular, the role in certification should be strengthened.
There is no comprehensive solutions provider for academic book publishers today. The emergence of such a vendor could transform the academic book publishing world by inviting new entrants into the marketplace.
Discourse about new ideas in publishing can be broken by the appetite to make exquisitely insightful remarks about things to do not yet exist. To work on truly new things, we have to stop performing the role of the skeptic.
The world of journals publishing is constantly changing, and one relatively new entrant is the library as publisher. There is a need to study and publish these programs in order to optimize their performance.
The Journal of Cultural Anthropology is now becoming open access. This points to one path a professional society can follow if it cannot derive significant income from library sales or if its membership is more interested in wider dissemination of material than the uses income from journals can be put to.
Some predictions about the future of scholarly publishing, which acknowledges the continuing central role of the major STM publishers.
Many CEOs of publishing companies find themselves having to manage two companies: the established company and an in-house start-up that is designed to participate in a new paradigm based on digital media. Organizationally this is a very difficult situation to be in, but it is essential if a company is going to persist in the years ahead.
The university press world is operating under circumstances that are somewhat tighter than they were even a few years ago. While most presses now publish ebooks, ebooks in themselves do not provide a strategic path to growth.