Academic publisher tried to stop publication of paper on price-gouging in academic publishing

The editorial board of the journal Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation has threatened to resign because the academic journal's corporate owners, Taylor and Francis, have ordered them not to publish a paper critical of the academic publishing industry. The paper, Publisher, be damned! from price gouging to the open road, was written by academics from the University of Leicester's School of Management.

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Backers get gruesomely murdered in crowdfunded Elite novel


BBC presenter Kate Russell's first science fiction novel is Elite: Mostly Harmless, a novelization of the classic video game Elite, whose production was successfully kickstarted last year. One of the backer rewards was to have yourself gruesomely murdered in the pages of the book, and six lucky fans are now enjoying their deaths:

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Humble Ebook Bundle adds Lawful Interception audio and more

The latest Humble Ebook Bundle has added four new titles: Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's From Hell, the From Hell Companion (review), Too Cool to Be Forgotten (review); and my audiobook for Lawful Interception, the sequel to Little Brother and Homeland. They join a stellar lineup of other comics, novels and ebooks with work by Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin, Ed Piskor, Nate Powell, Paolo Bacigalupi, Tobias Buckell and Terry Goodkind.

Name your price for them -- all DRM free, and you can contribute to charity when you buy!

Humble Ebook Bundle

Kickstarting a Skull-a-Day book

Noah Scalin writes "At long last I'm finally publishing all 365 of my original Skull-A-Day creations in a single book! I've partnered with Chop Suey Books, an amazing local independent bookseller here in Richmond, Virginia to finally create the ultimate volume of my yearlong skull art making project. The store is even launching a new imprint, Chop Suey Books Books, just to make and distribute this beautiful hardcover volume (if I do say so myself, since I'm the one that designed it!). I'm most excited about sharing a new model for artists and local businesses to work together to create something outside of the old systems, that can benefit us both, as well as our community. To kick things off we've decided to pre-sell the book on Kickstarter with some unique thank you gifts, including some of the actual original pieces of the project! I hope you'll check it out."

$24 gets you an early-bird book. Noah is a guy who ships what he starts, too.

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Kickstarting a kids' picture book about girls and science by Zack "SMBC" Smith

Zach Weinersmith, creator of the wonderful Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and the Kickstarter-record-busting Trial of the Clone choose-your-own-adventure is unstoppable: he's kickstarting Augie and the Green Knight: A Children's Adventure Book , a girl-positive kids' picture book about science. $25 gets you the book and the ebook (I bought in!).

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Harvard Bluebook: more threats to those who would cite the law

Carl Malamud writes, "On May 16, Boing Boing brought us the story of five years of intimidation on the Uniform System of Citaiton required in the United States, a system otherwise known as The Bluebook. Based on your story, a stern keep off the grass warning was dispatched from the ever-growing Bluebook Legal Task Force at the eminent white shoe firm of Ropes & Gray."

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Kickstarting a coffee-table book of grisly, real Russian nursery-rhymes

Russian-born comedian Ben Rosenfeld is kickstarting a book of gruesome, real Russian nursery rhymes, illustrated by Dov Smiley (example: "A little boy found a machine-gun, nothing lives in the woods anymore"). $25 gets you the book and the ebook.

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Tor.com: a new short-fiction imprint from Tor


Tor Books founder Tom Doherty's speech at Book Expo America yesterday didn't just explain the company's DRM-free strategy, it also announced a new imprint based on Tor.com, publishing DRM-free novellas and novelettes as ebooks:

Each DRM-free title will be available exclusively for purchase, unlike the current fiction that is free on the site, and will have full publisher support behind it. It will have a heavy digital focus but all titles will be available via POD and audio formats. The imprint will also consider traditional print publishing for a select number of titles a year. All titles will be available worldwide.

"In the past six years we have had the great fortune to work with literally hundreds of authors and illustrators in the publication and promotion of their short fiction. Transitioning to an author-centric digital imprint which fosters and revives novella and short novel length commercial science fiction and fantasy is the next logical step in Tor.com's evolution." says Fritz Foy, Macmillan Executive Vice President and Digital Publisher.

"We're using this opportunity to re-evaluate every step of the publishing process," says Associate Publisher Irene Gallo. "We don't want to make any assumptions based on how we currently publish stories. We're really looking forward to creating something with a start-up mentality but with the rich legacy of Tor Books and Tor.com behind us," she continued

Announcing Tor.com the Imprint (via IO9)

Kickstarting an augmented reality, artificial lifeform in a kids' picture-book

Wagner James Au sez, "Created by virtual world/avatar pioneer Jeffrey Ventrella, Wiglets are self-animated, augmented reality creatures for mobile devices powered by an open source AI system, and have genomes that are stored in the cloud along with their geo-locations. 'This means they can exist in specific locations in the real world,' Jeffrey explains. The overall goal with Wiglets is to encourage kids to find/play with their creatures in the natural world."

$65 gets you the book and a virtual Wiglet.

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Humble Ebook Bundle: name-your-price comics & books with Gaiman, GRRM, Goodkind, Moore, Piskor, and more

The fourth Humble Ebooks Bundle is up and running, and it's a name-your-own-price, DRM-free, comics-heavy doozy, including our own Ed Piskor's brilliant Wizzywig (review); graphic civil rights history March; the Lovecraft's Monsters anthology (with Neil Gaiman); George RR Martin's Sword and Sorcery anthology, Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's From Hell; Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule; Paolo Bacigalupi's The Alchemist; Tobias Buckell's The Executioness; and Yahtzee Crosshaw's Jam. And there's more books coming in week two (good ones -- I've had a sneaky preview!).

Tor founder Tom Doherty on publishing without DRM


Two years ago, Tor Books, the largest sf publisher in the world (and publisher of my own books) went DRM-free; yesterday, Tor's founder and publisher Tom Doherty took to the stage to explain why he dropped DRM from his books. Doherty spent some time talking about the business outcomes of life without DRM (in short, there's no new piracy of Tor books as a result of publishing without it), but really focused his talk on the community of readers and writers, and their conversation, and the role Tor plays there. Doherty's philosophy is that books get sold by being part of a wider context in readers' lives -- being something they talk and think about and share, and that DRM just gets in the way of that.

Meanwhile, Hachette -- publishing's most ardent DRM advocate -- and Amazon continue to duke it out in a ghastly and abusive public spat in which Amazon is attempting to extort deeper discounts from Hachette by de-listing, delaying and obfuscating its titles. If Hachette books were DRM free, the company could announce an "Amazon-refugee discount" of 10% of all its ebook titles at Google Play, Ibooks, and Barnes and Noble, and offer a tool to convert your Kindle library to work on one of those other players. But because Hachette allowed -- insisted! -- that Amazon put its own DRM on Hachette books, the only company that can authorize converting Amazon Kindle titles to work with other readers is Amazon.

Good luck with that.

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Literally: portraits of booksellers


Photographer Steve Kenward's Literally is a series of portraits of booksellers in their native habitats (their bookstores). As a former member of the tribe myself, I recognize these for the fine specimens they are: magnificently nearsighted, slightly askew, and posed with the treasures they have personally assembled and arrayed for the public's delectation. Each portrait is accompanied by a list of favorite books, which is the only part of this that rings hollow -- a bookseller with only one favorite book is like a chef who only likes one dish. Impossible.

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Really Creepy Bundle: name your price for amazing, transmedia horror


Jamie from Vodo writes, "We've launched the Really Creepy Bundle, a brand new collection of terrifying, chilling and downright disturbing indie creativity that includes four highly-rated games (Oknytt, Finding Teddy, The Path and Sang Froid), award winning fiction (Nebula nominee Stranger In Olondria, and a month subscription to Nightmare magazine), four spooky short films, an 8 track compilation from LA's Not Not Fun Records, laden with doom plus the definitely disturbing and massively entertaining graphic novel (The Furry Trap) -- which Boing Boing rated one of the best damn comics of the year in 2013. Check out the whole bundle and choose your own price. 5% of earnings are going to the Electronic Frontier Foundation!"


The Really Creepy Bundle

Kickstarting a multilingual kids' picture book about humanism

The Croatian Center for Civil Courage, a "feminist and free thinking organization," is kickstarting a kids' picture book called Humanism for Children, seeking funds to translate and publish it in English and German (it's already in Bosnian and Croatian). The book consists of "Humanism is for everybody" (an introduction to humanism and scientific ideas) and "How to live a fulfilling life" -- advice on being a "a thoughtful, jovial, rational and cheerful person" without religious stricture. £20 gets you an English copy.

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MK Wren's House of the Wolf [book excerpt]

Here’s a thrilling cut from the third part of MK Wren’s science-fiction epic, available now as an ebook exclusively here at Boing Boing.

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