Summary of “Amazon’s control over ebook sales data should upset everyone in publishing”

Many of their authors are writing and publishing books, and finding massive audiences, without being actively tracked by the publishing industry.
According to one estimate, last year 2,500 self-published authors made at least $50,000 in book sales across self-publishing platforms, before the platforms’ cuts.
The information asymmetry between Amazon and the rest of the book industry-publishers, brick-and-mortar stores, industry analysts, aspiring writers-means that only the Seattle company has deeply detailed information, down to the page, on what people want to read. So an industry that’s never been particularly data-savvy increasingly works in the dark: Authors lose negotiating power, and publishers lose the ability to compete on pricing or even, on a basic level, to understand what’s selling.
Amazon doesn’t report its ebook sales to any of the major industry data sources, and it doesn’t give authors more than their own personal slice of data.
A spokesperson from Amazon writes by email that “Hundreds of thousands of authors self-publish their books today with Kindle Direct Publishing,” but declined to provide a number, or any sales data.
“NPD PubTrack Digital tracks ebook sales but because it is a publisher data-share model, the data does not include self-published ebooks,” writes NPD’s Allison Risbridger by email.
Bookstat extrapolates sales data from book rankings and sales history, provided by authors, and estimates sales per author and book throughout the day, with a self-reported margin of error of 5%. Bookstat estimates that in 2017, there were half a million self-published authors who sold at least one book, and a total of 240 million self-published ebook units sold.
As the founder, who still asks to remain anonymous, notes, “There’s really no way to wrap your arms around how many authors there are, including the ones who are not selling, including the ones who are out of print on the traditional publishing side.” By his estimate, self-published books in the US were worth $875 million last year, about $700 million of which was ebooks.

The orginal article.

Summary of “J.R.R. Tolkien book The Fall of Gondolin coming in August”

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, died in 1973.
Fans will get the chance to read a new book by the author this August.
HarperCollins will publish The Fall of Gondolin on Aug. 30, the publishing company announced Tuesday.
The book was edited by Tolkien’s son Christopher, 93, and illustrated by Alan Lee.
The book tells of the founding of the Elven city of Gondolin, and is considered one of Tolkien’s Lost Tales.
“We never dared to dream that we would see this published,” said Shaun Gunner, chair of the Tolkien Society, on the group’s webpage.
“The Fall of Gondolin is, to many in the Tolkien community, the Holy Grail of Tolkien texts as one of Tolkien’s three Great Tales alongside The Children of Húrin and Beren and Lúthien. This beautiful story captures the rise and fall of a great Elven kingdom, taking place millennia before the events of The Lord of the Rings. This book brings all the existing work together in one place to present the story in full.”
Tolkien is believed to have started writing the story in 1917 while recovering from trench fever he contracted during World War I. It follows another posthumously published Lost Tale, The Tale of Beren and Lúthien, which came out in 2017.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Case of Hong Kong’s Missing Booksellers”

Partway through the questioning, the older officer got up for a break, leaving Lam alone with Li. The two men sat in awkward silence until Lam, reaching for the conviviality of their last encounter, offered a joke.
Lam, he said, was trying to disrupt the Chinese system, and as part of a special investigative unit, it was his job to dismantle Hong Kong’s illicit publishing scene once and for all.
Lying awake, Lam wondered whether anyone in Hong Kong realized he was missing.
Sitting across from Lam, his interrogators produced a stack of banned books, all published by Mighty Current and shipped to China by Lam.
On a June morning, Lam arrived in Hong Kong and reported to a nearby police station, as directed.
Lam sat up all night, the glow of his phone illuminating each new twist in a case that he had lived through but never understood until now.
A few hours later, Lam was standing behind a lectern amid hundreds of reporters, photographers and news cameras at the Hong Kong Legislative Council.
At the time of Lam’s abduction, banned books were everywhere in Hong Kong, sold throughout the city at big-box retailers, specialized cafes and corner convenience stores.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The company that helped lead a revolution in board games is shutting down”

Mayfair Games has sold its remaining games catalog to Asmodee North America, a massive games publisher and distributor, the company announced.
“As of today, the management team at Mayfair Games, Inc. announces we will wind down game publishing,” the company said in a statement.
“After 36 years, this was not an easy decision or one we took lightly, but it was necessary. Once we had come to this conclusion, we knew we had to find a good home for our games which is when we reached out to Asmodee.”
In 2015, Mayfair Games refreshed Settlers of Catan with a new, fifth-edition release, simply called Catan.
Today’s announcement indicates that it will add the entire product line of Mayfair Games to Asmodee’s growing portfolio.
Asmodee simultaneously snatched up Lookout Games, makers of Uwe Rosenberg’s classic Agricola as well as his more recent title, Caverna.
Its stable now includes Fantasy Flight Games, Days of Wonder and F2Z Entertainment, which continue to publish under their own names.
The company also has a successful digital imprint that focuses on bringing tabletop games to mobile devices and Steam.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Meet the pirate queen making academic papers free online”

The server hosted Sci-Hub, a website with over 64 million academic papers available for free to anybody in the world.
Sci-Hub provided press, academics, activists, and even publishers with an excuse to talk about who owns academic research online.
The New York Times asked, “Should All Research Papers Be Free?” When Science Magazine worked with Elbakyan to map Sci-Hub’s user statistics, it discovered that a quarter of Sci-Hub downloads were from the 34 richest countries on Earth.
Elbakyan is reluctant to disclose much about how she secured access to so many papers, but she tells me that most of it came from exploiting libraries and universities’ subscriptions, saying that she “Gained access” to “Around 400 universities.”
Months before targeting Elbakyan, Elsevier helped 17 other publishers shut down the pirate academic repository Library.
Between 2012 and 2013, Elsevier and the AAP also opposed and lobbied against three bills – the Federal Research Public Access Act, Public Access to Public Science Act, and Fair Access to Science and Technology Research – all of which proposed making it mandatory that copies of papers from federally funded research be deposited in an Open Access repository after some period.
Sci-Hub is often called the Pirate Bay of science; the Pirate Bay itself was raided twice before it finally succumbed.
Though Elbakyan might be sailing in dangerous waters, what’s to stop idealistic scientists who are frustrated with the big publishers from handing over their login credentials to Sci-Hub’s pirate queen?

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Technology Is Changing Our Reading Habits”

How is technology affecting the publishing industry?
About a decade ago, when Amazon introduced its first e-reader, publishers panicked that digital books would take over the industry, the way digital transformed the music industry.
It has definitely become a new way for readers to connect with authors and discover books, but it has probably also cut into the time that people spend reading.
Many new authors are skipping traditional publishers and use tech tools to go straight to self-publishing their own e-books or print books.
There have been a handful of massively successful self-published authors who have started their own publishing companies, and they’ve started to publish other “Self-published” authors.
In many parts of the country, Barnes & Noble is the only place people can buy books, and it’s still a beloved brand.
The store even looks like a 3-D version of the website, with book covers facing out and curated sections that reflect what’s popular with Amazon’s customers.
I’ll be curious to see how Indigo Books, the Canadian chain, will do here next year when it expands into the United States.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The web we may have lost”

The current blow to the open web that is the Net Neutrality ruling feels terrible to me.
Allowing ISPs to favour some traffic over others turns the web into a media of the elite.
Before we had the web all the information you wanted to access meant you either had to pay or you had to put a lot of effort in.
My whole career started when I got online and I taught myself to start writing code for the web.
Using the web, I could publish world-wide, 24/7 and could access information as it happened.
One great thing about an open web was that it enabled me to read several publications and compare them.
A web without Net Neutrality wouldn’t allow for that.
The web did me a lot of good, and it can do so for many others.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Wave of New Fiction From Nigeria, as Young Writers Experiment With New Genres”

A new wave of thematically and stylistically diverse fiction is emerging from the country, as writers there experiment with different genres and explore controversial subjects like violence against women, polygamy and the rise of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
Rather than selling publication rights to American publishing houses, as most foreign publishers do, Cassava Republic prints and distributes its titles to American booksellers through Consortium, a book distributor based in Minnesota.
When Ms. Bakare-Yusuf co-founded Cassava Republic in Abuja in 2006, her primary goal was to publish Nigerian writers who had gained stature in the West but weren’t being read at home.
More than a decade later, Cassava Republic has published more than 50 titles, and has expanded into romance, crime, memoir, fantasy, science fiction and children’s books.
Cassava Republic has published eight books in the United States, including children’s books, crime novels and literary fiction, a nonfiction book about the West African music scene and “Longthroat Memoirs,” a food memoir by Yemisi Aribisala, which came out this month.
The novel, which was published in Nigeria this spring, was shortlisted for Britain’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and received ecstatic reviews in The Guardian and The New York Times.
Writers and publishers in Nigeria still face significant obstacles.
The minimum wage in Nigeria hovers around $59 a month, and a new book costs around $8.Despite such hurdles, Nigeria’s publishing industry has blossomed in recent years, following the country’s return to democracy in 1999 after decades of military dictatorship.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Many Academics Are Eager to Publish in Worthless Journals”

Predatory journals have few expenses, since they do not seriously review papers that are submitted and they publish only online.
Dr. Pyne, who did a study of his colleagues’ publications, reports that faculty members at his school who got promoted last year had at least four papers in questionable journals.
There are few or no adverse consequences – in fact, the rewards for publishing in predatory journals were greater than for publishing in legitimate ones.
Recently a group of concerned professors complained that nearly a dozen colleagues have repeatedly published in at least one of the dubious journals – and have been promoted and rewarded for it.
“Just as with many colleges, faculty submit their work for publication in a variety of journals based on individual judgment,” she said in an email.
Some say the academic system bears much of the blame for the rise of predatory journals, demanding publications even from teachers at places without real resources for research and where they may have little time apart from teaching.
The lead author of the Dr. Szust sting operation, Katarzyna Pisanski, a psychologist at the University of Sussex in England, said the question of what motivates people to publish in such journals “Is a touchy subject.”
“If something gets published in one of these journals and it’s complete garbage, it can develop a life of its own,” Dr. Fox said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Fraud Scandals Sap China’s Dream of Becoming a Science Superpower”

China has, of course, made enormous strides in science, research and technology.
China has made inroads partly because of its willingness to invest in new research at a time when such spending has stagnated in countries like the United States and Japan.
The government in Beijing has poured the equivalent of billions of dollars into new projects in order to catch up with the West in producing original research, and also reverse decades of scientific brain drain by luring home top Western-trained Chinese researchers.
Scandals over faked research results have shaken many countries, including Japan, the United States and South Korea.
As in the West, career advancement can often seem to be based more on the quantity of research papers published rather than the quality.
Many Chinese universities offer hefty research grants and salary bonuses to faculty members who get published in journals with high impact factors.
In June, Sichuan Agricultural University in Ya’an awarded a group of researchers about $2 million in funding after members got a paper published in the academic journal Cell.”Everything revolves around the S.C.I.,” said Chen Li, a professor in the medical school at Fudan University in Shanghai.
According to an investigation led by the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology, Chinese researchers used such methods to manipulate the peer-review process in 101 out of the 107 retracted articles.

The orginal article.