July 15, 2011
The Future of Scholarship: Self-Published and Digital?
Steve Bainbridge is trying an interesting experiment in legal publishing. Steve has just completed a guide to the auction duty of directors under Revlon. But instead of following one of the traditional routes—publishing it as a law review article or as a book through one of the legal publishers, Steve is self-publishing. The book, Directors as Auctioneers: A Concise Guide to Revlon-Land, is available as a Kindle book from Amazon for $9.99.
Steve certainly doesn’t need to self-publish. His list of publications shames me. He’s in double figures in books and has published literally dozens of articles, many in top-20 law reviews. I’m sure he would have had no trouble finding a print outlet for this book.
In some ways, that makes this a less effective experiment than it might otherwise be. As Steve concedes, he already has a brand name, a reputation for quality. He doesn’t need an Oxford label or top-20 law review placement to attract people to his writing. The real experiment would be if someone like me tried this. But Steve's experiment is worth watching—and, since Amazon ranks e-book sales, we can all see for ourselves how successful Steve is. (After one day, he’s sitting at # 18,053.)
I’m strongly in favor of e-publishing, and I think e-publication will eventually supplant more traditional academic outlets, including law reviews. I don’t foresee a future where many of us will be able to charge for our articles, but I do foresee a future where those articles will be exclusively digital, and probably published without the intervention of student editors. A major hold-up right now is the e-reader; improvements are needed before doing all our academic reading on Kindles. I don’t like the Kindle reader interface and that may keep me from reading Steve’s new book, but I’m wishing Steve luck. I hope he succeeds.
July 15, 2011 | Permalink
As of 9:30 AM, 7/16:
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Consolidation & Merger
#8 in Books > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Consolidation & Merger
Posted by: Stefan | Jul 16, 2011 6:31:23 AM
I take your point about the reader interface. It's especially bad at handling footnotes, which is why I put citations in the text.
Posted by: Steve Bainbridge | Jul 18, 2011 3:20:07 PM
I'm a natural customer for e-books. Almost all of my reading and annotation of articles and cases is now done on my computer. I keep waiting for an e-reader that would allow me to handle books as easily, but no one has delivered yet.
Posted by: Steve Bradford | Jul 23, 2011 10:23:09 AM