Book Review: Michael Bhaskar. The Content Machine: Towards a Theory of Publishing from the Printing Press to the Digital Network
peter.suber's bookmarks 2014-05-30
"Bhaskar winds down his argument with attention to likely futures and gives significant credence to open access publishing as the most plausible future for academic publishing: 'Free content is becoming the norm in academic communications; academics, at least, want information to be free. It won’t eradicate prestigious names like Harvard and Chicago. However, it’s already forcing publishers with serious overheads to re-examine their business and content models. When a host of new entrants can survive on tiny or non-existent APCs then most players with financial drag face a stark choice: either adapt to OA or become uncompetitive and unappealing to authors (ch. 6).' He encourages publishers to focus on being “amplifiers of content” rather than “makers of books,” and stresses the increasing amplificatory importance of good metadata, the strategic need for cooperation between small publishers as a “means of withstanding novel pressures,” and the exigency of smarter data collection and experimentation. All of these elements funnel into “harnessing attention” as an inexorable priority: “those who can gather and create attention are the new bankers of an attention economy” (ch. 6)....If Bhaskar is right about the future of publishing (and I think he is), his is in many ways an argument in favor of the library as the basecamp for the new scholarly publisher...."