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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.
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    Monday, July 02, 2007

    Publishing, e-publishing, social publishing, self-publishing...

    On the heels of a conference about publishing which explored what publishers and libraries each feel about publishing in an electronic/digital/virtual/open environment - and with my last post, Is e-publishing THE solution? in mind - we come to piece in Guardian Unlimited by Beth Webb. Print is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age post, Books? Who needs books? Some writers just like to write…, quotes Webb:
    “the world is already stuffed with books that no one will read.” But Webb’s not being pessimistic. What she’s saying is that playing the publishing game has little if anything to do with art or self-expression. It shouldn’t be just about physical objects sitting inert on shelves. Instead, she encourages authors to use the Internet to spread their work...
    And for those of us who heard Geoffrey Bilder talk about social publishing and Web 2.0, or understood the possibilities of open access journals and institutional repositories, or have investigated Internet self-publishing-print-on-demand companies like Lulu, Webb suggests:
    Why bother to go through all the heartache and hassle of fighting to get your precious memories or thoughts into mainstream publication?...

    Getting published by a mainstream company is great, but in all honesty, how many of us can really afford to give up the day job, even when we've signed that contract? Such a long, heartbreaking haul for what? The joy of writing should be just that - the writing.

    Define your audience and publish yourself. Get your books and anthologies into the hands of people who really want to hear from you - whether it's one copy, or a couple of dozen through print on demand.

    Scholarly publishing, this isn't - but it is an example of an electronic alternative to the traditional route.

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