What scholarly publishing can learn from indie rock?



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Last week there was an article from The Scholarly Kitchen, What Can Publishers Learn from Indie Rock?, where Michael Clarke extends his love (well, more like fondness) for vinyl to things publishers should do differently. Here’s the take away:

So how might publishers extend the life of lucrative hardcover sales and at the same time buy themselves time to foster a more competitive e-book marketplace? By taking a cue from indie record labels (I know, you didn’t see this one coming) and including a digital download with every hardcover purchase.

I’ve talked a lot about how the music industry has dealt with digital publishing for better or worse here for a while. I care as a music lover, vinyl collector, college radio DJ, and a librarian. I think Clarke makes some really good points about ways publishers could really make fans by bundling ebooks with physical books. I would like to see more in roads made with journals, but that’s trickier.

I also feel like it’s my record snob duty to point out that the vinyl LP sales figures he cites aren’t really that indie. I mean, there’s the majors, then there’s indie for the masses (which all of those acts would probably be), and then there’s small labels and bands that are just bubbling up, and then there’s the real hidden gems. That’s a whole other ball of wax though.

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