’ that the printed book is a dying species. Journalist Hugh Rimmington, when guest hosting The pm Project, jocularly asked the author of a new book of horror stories why on earth he took the trouble to write and promote his printed book with Kindle and e-books taking over the world.1 Digital books are already here and have been with us for some time. They have replaced print versions completely in some areas of publishing. Those parts of publishing are largely invisible to general readers, whose view of publishing is framed by the books available through retail outlets, but have contributed signiﬁcantly to the overall proﬁtability and success of the Australian publishing industry. These days the publishing industry has hived o its digital segments into separate companies as print has ceased to be the most common delivery mechanism. For example, Thomson sold o education to concentrate on its professional and news companies; and Reed Elsevier, the giant of science publishing, long ago dropped its trade companies, and it sold o its education arm to Pearson in . The downside of this is that economic synergies dissipate in specialised companies. A company focused solely on the trade market takes fewer risks when making publishing decisions. 2 Information gleaned from sales data systems such as Bookscan are pored over to discern trends and identify opportunities, bringing greater precision, but less variety, to publishing decisions. This began to happen in the general trade segment, even without e-books being yet a signiﬁcant revenue line. It has happened because of the pressure brought to bear on the general trade market as those segments of the publishing industry where digital technology has already had an impact leave the paradigm of print production. Scientiﬁc publishing has almost disappeared as printed matter, though many libraries and advertisers still prefer the paper-based product. While never highly proﬁtable in Australia, this segment has been underwritten by institutions and learned societies. The and Australasian Medical Publishing Company Ltd ( o) are long-serving exemplars. A o has been responsible for the publication of numerous learned journals and books since the ﬁrst issue of the Medical Journal of Australia ( ) in July .3 o is a subsidiary of the Australian Medical Association ( ). Its goal was to cover costs and not bleed revenue, but it did for a number of
1 The pm Project, Channel Southern Cross television, viewed February .
2 Throughout this essay I use the terms ‘trade’, ‘trade market’ and ‘general trade market’ to refer to adult ﬁction, adult nonﬁction and children’s ﬁction and nonﬁction titles. 3 http: adbonline. anu.edu.au biogs A b.htm, viewed February ; Rod Home, ‘Case Study: Scientiﬁc Publishing’, in Martyn Lyons and John Arnold (eds), A History of the Book in Australia – , , Brisbane, , p. .
4 Impact Factor was developed by Eugene Garﬁeld of Press, a company specialising in citations and cross-referencing. is now a subsidiary of Thomson Reuters. 5 Emails and conversations with Andrew Stammer, Journals Publishing Director, Publishing, February . 6 http: www.plos. org
years in the s and s until all production was outsourced. When I took my ﬁrst job as a subeditor at the in , typesetters still worked on hot-metal machines and the journal was printed in-house. Composition was computerised within six months of my arrival, and printing outsourced. Today, the is published online as well as in print, in line with most leading international scientiﬁc publications, and it covers its costs through its subscription base of members and advertising from pharmaceutical and similar companies. To survive in scientiﬁc publishing, a journal must have a signiﬁcant Impact Factor, a measure that is calculated as citations in a given year of papers published in the previous two years divided by the total number of papers published in those same two years. 4 The ranks eighteenth in terms of Impact…