Currently, Google Books has already scanned about 20 million books towards its goal to include 100+ million books. This past Friday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan (a three-judge panel) made its decision that Google Books has not violated copyright law of “fair use” in offering “Snippet View” (less than 16% of content) of books. In general, Google Books offers “Full View” for books in public domain, “Limited Preview” for books approved by the copyright holder, “No Preview Available” for books not yet scanned, and “Snippet View” for the rest.
I have to say that as an editor I have sometimes found Google Books very helpful in checking the accuracy of quotations. I can’t check everything, but it has come in handy numerous times. I don’t read whole books or chapters on line. But I have been able to view books to see if they are something I am interested in buying. So I am upbeat about the project. One thing I would find helpful is if as part of “Snippet View” they would offer a complete table of contents. But however this proceeds, Friday’s court decision represents another chapter in the ongoing changes in the publishing industry. Stay tuned!
So I did an impromptu interview the other day in our office about my work as an editor. I wasn’t at all dressed or shaved for the occasion, but it was fun and it gave our media guy a chance to play around with his new toys and editing software. Here’s a piece he put together:
Oh, and there was this as well…
Yesterday Peter Enns wrote a helpful post about “writing gooder and even more gooder books.” The post was about what he did to find a literary agent. The takeaway, however, was the list of books he recommended. The post is worth reading. But I wonder how many folks ought to be searching for a literary agent. Very few of the books we publish come our way via an agent. This may be because of the sorts of books we publish and the nature of our publishing model. I still wonder whether there are larger forces at work in the book publishing world. I’m reminded of the post by Berrett-Koehler publisher Steve Piersant, now a few years old. Piersant lists and expands on 10 awful truths about book publishing. The list without expansion is as follows:
- The number of books being published every year has exploded.
- Book industry sales are declining, despite the explosion of books published.
- Despite skyrocketing e-book sales, overall book sales are still shrinking.
- Average book sales are shockingly small, and falling fast.
- A book has less than a 1% chance of being stocked in an average bookstore.
- It is getting harder and harder every year to sell books.
- Most books today are selling only to the authors’ and publishers’ communities.
- Most book marketing today is done by authors, not by publishers.
- No other industry has so many new product introductions.
- The book publishing world is in a never-ending state of turmoil.
You can see the list with expansion, as well as a list of 10 wonderful truths about book publishing, here.
It’s meant for journalists, but you academics can make the necessary adjustments. Click to see full size. (HT: Vox)
I leave on a redeye to Baltimore on Monday night, arriving around 9:30 Tuesday morning. I will hit the ground running since the exhibit hall for ETS opens on Tuesday at 2 and we will be setting up the booth until then. So if you see me on Tuesday bleary-eyed and grumpy, it’s probably because I didn’t sleep well on the plane.
I’ve got today and tomorrow to tie up loose ends in the office, so you’ll have to forgive me for not blogging anything substantive, informative, or humorous.
If you are an author looking for a publishing home, I still have blocks of free time in my schedules for ETS and AAR/SBL. Contact me soon if you’d like to meet. Or drop by our booths (206 at ETS and 928 & 929 at AAR/SBL).
This post is set to go public about the same time I will be sitting in the San Francisco airport waiting on a plane for Chicago in order to attend the North Park Symposium on the Theological Interpretation of Scripture. I will have already flown from Eugene to San Francisco on a plane that departed at 5:17am. And I will be scheduled to arrive in Chicago a little before 3. The first session of the symposium is later that evening.
Given the early departure time I may very well sleep on the planes. But if I don’t sleep, I will be able to look over papers to be presented at the symposium from M. Daniel Carroll R., Paul Trebilco, Amy Laura Hall, and others on the topic of Urban Ministry.
Ultimately, you too will be able to read these papers in a more polished form when the annual journal Ex Auditu comes out next Spring. (By the way, you can get a free copy of the very first volume of Ex Auditu here.) In the meantime, you should check out some of the recent back issues. Volume 28 on Family is just a few months old and features the papers and responses from last year’s North Park symposium.
Grammar Girl has a nice little write-up and podcast about the benefits of the Chicago Manual of Style. We here at Wipf and Stock Publishers use a modified form of Chicago, so the following bit was particularly pertinent given the number of times I’ve been asked why we use the style we do (bold added):
Style guides also have different uses. For example, the Associated Press Stylebook is primarily for writers who work at newspapers or news magazines; the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is obviously for writers of research papers, and it’s used most commonly in the liberal arts and humanities. Writers of research papers in the sciences, on the other hand, may be more likely to use the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association or American Medical Association Manual of Style. If I had to peg down The Chicago Manual of Style, I’d say that its primary audience is book authors…
As an editor, I run across a large number of insightful quotes. One of my favorites regarding language and writing is from Mark Twain. A drawing of Twain with this quotation hangs on my office wall, which my wife framed for me:
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” —Letter to George Bainton, Oct. 15, 1888 for inclusion in Bainton’s The Art of Authorship: Literary Reminiscences, Methods of Work, and Advice to Young Beginners (1890) 87–88