(10 November 2015) Donald Barclay writes that the print-format scholarly book, a bulwark of academia’s publish-or-perish culture, is an endangered species. The market that has sustained it over the years is collapsing.
Sales of scholarly books in print format have hit record lows. Per-copy prices are at record highs. In purely economic terms, the current situation is unsustainable.
So, what does the future look like? Will academia’s traditional devotion to print and legendary resistance to change kill off long-form scholarship? Or will academia allow itself to move from print-format scholarly books to an open-access digital model that could save, and very likely rejuvenate, long-form scholarship?
The article covers diminishing sales and rising prices; libraries losing their buying power; the changing nature of the market; open access; and distrust of digital publications.
The Conversation.com has the story.