Would you buy a book from this man?


My book, The Digital Scholar, has finally come out. When I was looking round for a publisher year ago, it was an absolute requirement that they do open access (at least one chapter of the book is a rant against academic publishing models). Bloomsbury Academic offered this and are also a reputable publisher and handled the process very well. In a rare demonstration of putting my money where my mouth is, going for an open access publisher means the royalty is much reduced from previous publishers, so it's not a path to riches, but I accepted long ago that writing academic books was somewhere on a par with flying kites in terms of being a route to money.

The paperback and hardback came out a few days before the Kindle version. The paperback is officially £17.99 but discounted on Amazon – [the Kindle version is a whopping £42! I've asked if this can be lowered because it is self-defeating. I'm not sure if this is an Amazon or a Bloomsbury thing. I've written before that what you want to encourage on Kindle is an iTunes type behaviour – impulse buying and a 'might as well have a look' attitude. A £42 price mark rules this out.]

UPDATE -the Kindle price has since fallen to a more reasonable £11.42. See next post

The open access version is released under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license. Apparently it has to go through a different QA process so hasn't been released yet. I am assured it will be available by the end of the month. In many ways it is the OA version that I see as the real release. It also marks another reason why the Kindle pricing won't work – at £5-£10 you may opt for the Kindle version for convenience, rather than converting the HTML to ebook format. At £42 it's worth doing the conversion.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see whether open access increases sales and/or citations compared with previous books I've written. My hunch is it won't make much difference to the former (that's life in the long tail for you), but it will see a reasonable increase in the latter. And, if one accepts citations as a metric of scholarly impact (which is not entirely without contention), then as an academic that is surely what counts.


  1. you could publish it in .mobi format and make it available on other sites. It’s hot hard to get books pushed up onto a kindle!
    See small blog post at http://www.toolsandtaxonomy.com or from the project Gutenberg site.
    Hope sales go well.
    BTW I note that the recient ecxperiment at stanford on delivering a FREE class on AI now has > 200,000 enrolments, the students however are recomended to buy the course book. See http://www.ai-class.com/ for more information

  2. I’m waiting for the kite version 😉
    Congrats Martin for seeing it through and staying the OA course. I’m hoping Darwin takes care of the DoDo pricing models.
    I’ll probably pony up for the cheaper dead tree version.

  3. Congratulations Martin.
    Lets hope you get loads of sales and citations then. Do you have preferred kinds of citations?
    Linking to Amazon seems to be the de facto for books but I’m a little uneasy about that…

  4. US prices are $24.26 for paperback and $57.20 for kindle. THIS MAKES NO F*****ING SENSE AT ALL- WHAT KIND OF DIGITAL WORLD IS THIS?
    Worse, the paperback is not even out til Dec 6.
    Publishers are crap hounds. I’ll wait for the OA version.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *