- Bookselling in Chicago: Past & Present by Carlos Martinez was brought to our attention by John Riley and since many of us are traveling to the Windy City for ALA Midwinter we thought it might add a little local color. Posted on the Book Source Magazine website in July 2012, the article paints a surprising unfriendly environment “facing anyone who promotes or sells books in America’s “Second City.” According to Mr. Martinez a downtown building boom, escalating rents, less than friendly public officials, legal roadblocks and “rampant regulations” have conspired to marginalize used bookshops and secondhand book sellers. But there is hope. The ability to adapt and change has allowed a few bookstores to survive and thrive. “In place of the multi-level book emporiums of the past … one now finds small, high-turnover storefronts in well-trafficked arterial streets.” Mr. Martinez says the solution is in “making contact with the public, preferably in a creative (and sometimes unconventional) manner.” The article is fairly extensive and provides numerous examples and anecdotes.
- Springer and Macmillan Poised to Merge is a report by Marydee Ojala that has just been posted by Information Today covering a major transaction in the world of STM publishing. In it Marydee gets into the intricacies of “a proposed merger of the majority of Macmillan Science and Education with all of Springer Science+Business Media, including BioMed Central, SpringerOpen, Adis, and Apress.” She highlights the major strengths and weakness both partners bring to the table as well as “expected economies of scale” that will result from the deal allowing “for additional investments in new product development.” She also mentions that it’s not a done deal and that not everyone expects smooth sailing.
Those interested in more details should checkout David Worlock’s blog The Ultimate Question is Scale and Kent Anderson’s post on Scholarly Kitchen Macmillan + Springer: Some Lessons to Learn, Some Twists to Watch
- Do Libraries Change the World? Should They? Short Answer: Yes | Peer to Peer Review In his most recent LJ column Rick Anderson starts with a general premise we that we can all agree on: libraries can and should change the world. But then Rick goes on to place the focus on two specific ways academic libraries, in particular, can promote “concrete changes.” First he says libraries can play “an important role in educating students and in producing new scholarship” and second and more directly “by using library resources (budget, space, staff time) to take direct action in favor of initiatives and projects that we believe will make the world a better place.” Of course, it’s more complicated than that and Rick goes on to elaborate in his usual nuanced and thought provoking fashion.
- The New Interlibrary Loan is the most recent Inside Higher ED column from Barbara Fister. In it she tackles the key issue of how libraries will “continue to share in the future.” Barbara starts by noting the pitfalls of spending “a large part of our budgets on ephemeral licensed materials which, for the most part, we cannot legally share among libraries.” She admits that generally this strategy has enabled us to “get our students and faculty what they want” but argues that both the risks and cost are too high. Barbara’s prescription: “collective funding toward a system that enables more sharing than we have ever had.” Specifically, Barbara thinks that “we have to put our money into things like Knowledge Unlatched or the Open Access Network or the University of California Press’s new Luminos project, or collaborative explorations like the Lever Initiative – or new ideas that haven’t surfaced yet.”