Not long ago I came across a printed book that lacks many of the conventions we have come to expect from printed books:
- The title page verso lacks CIP
- There is no publisher information to be found anywhere on the book
- Sections begin wherever they fall, not just on the righthand page
Why? This was apparently self-published via CreateSpace, Amazon’s publishing venture. The authors are well known and have previously published successfully, so they are hardly without access to traditional publishers.
No, this is the sign of the revolution arriving. And why? Why not? Easy access to publishing infrastructure — trivial, really — plus the largest book marketing service in the world (Amazon) and (here’s the clincher) jaw-dropping royalty rates — 40% of list price on Amazon, and 60% from the “expanded distribution channel”. Compare this to 10-15% of traditional publishing and you have all the makings of a stampede.
In other words, libraries will need to get ready to accommodate a flood of “non-traditional” types of publications. Curious as to how we had handled this one, I looked up the record in WorldCat and the record has “CreateSpace?” listed as the publisher. This is accurate, but the cataloger was forced to put in the question mark since it was not listed on the publication itself.
Time for some new rules, folks. Either that, or we will increasingly find ourselves standing on our heads to make these things conform to our opinions of what they should be.