Thursday, February 23, 2012

BPN 1594: Digital entertainment market in the Netherlands improves

The Dutch entertainment association (NVPI) has published figures on the entertainment industry in the Netherlands. It concludes that consumption of music, television series, movies and games was higher than ever in 2011. However, as the average price for digital products is lower than those for physical CDs and DVDs, the total turnover was lower. Expectations for 2012 are positive, but the fight against piracy is still needed.

Music. Physical music products turned over 180.2 million euro, which is 10,3 per cent less than in 2011. Downloads scored 25 million euro. Downloads and streaming make up for 15 per cent of the total turnover of the music products sector; this is low in comparison to the US with 50 per cent and worldwide 32 per cent.

Audio-visual content. The physical market for products as movies and television series slowed down with 8 per cent. The slowdown can be blamed on the price lowering. However the digital market of video-on-demand is rising fast. In 2011 the turnover is estimated on 53 million euro, a rise from 2010, when the turnover was estimated to be 35 million euro.

Games en interactieve software. The turnover of games is estimated 28 million euro, which means a drop of 24 million euro in comparison to the year before. These games are sold through networks like Xbox Live, Playstation Network and PC portals like Steam. New is the sale of games for tablets, smartphones and social networks. No concrete figures of these are available. It is observed that these games are lower in price than the console games, but their consumption is larger.

NVPI expects that the turnover of digital distribution will increase, but will not be able to compensate the sales of the physical products.

Figures for 2011

Source: Dutch language press release by the NVPI on 23 February 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

BPN 1593 Royal Dutch Library prefers e-books for deposition

The Royal Dutch Library (KB) in The Hague has indicated in a policy statement The KB future is digital, that it rather prefers e-books above printed books for the legal deposition of a book. The move will shorten the cataloguing process and save space; besides ebooks will speed up the digitisation process in the national library but will also have an effect on the national book distribution. Library space will become costly and scarce, but with ebooks warehousing space will be saved, while reading rooms can be less spacious.

While patrons of the library can now lend and take along a printed book, ebooks can be consulted only in the library for the time being. However the Royal Dutch Library and the Dutch Publishers Association (NUV) are negotiating a mode of co-operation.

The Royal Dutch Library has been charged with the legal depot of printed books since 1974. Since that time publishers in The Netherlands are obliged to deposit every new book published. In 1994 the Royal Dutch Library started an experimental electronic depot for newspapers, magazines, books and electronic products such as CD-ROM productions. Presently the e-depot has grown fast as several publishers of scientific, technical and medical journals have assigned the Royal Dutch Library as their repository.

Earlier this year there was an initiative to set up a nationwide library network for lending ebooks. The government will provide 15 million euro and the Municipalities’ Fund another 15 million euro for the project. Presently a small selection of copyright free ebooks can be found. The Royal Dutch Library project of ebook deposits can speed up the enlargement of the portfolio.

Friday, February 03, 2012

BPN 1592: Researchers taking a stand against Elsevier

Academics have called into action against the academic publisher Elsevier, part of the Reed-Elsevier company. The online petition, has been signed by more than 1.900 academics in the past week. The academics signing this petition will no longer publish in the 2000 Elsevier journals with quality publications like The Lancet and Cell. The criticism of the academics is aimed at the unpaid editing and reviewing, while the subscriptions of the titles are seen as unreasonably high. Also the fact that the copyright upon publication stays with the publisher is seen as unreasonable.

At the beginning of the century there have been actions against the business practices of Elsevier and academic publishers in general. These protest have lead to open data publications and repositories. Problem remains basically with the universities, which require their researchers to publish or perish in what they consider as academic journals, while on the other hand the librarians have to buy the publications. While this hold should worry university management, it is clear that it does not. A request to talk about this matter with university board members in the Netherlands some years ago, did not result in any session.

The main objections of the protest group The Cost of Knowledge are:
1. Elsevier charges exorbitantly high prices for their journals.
2. Elsevier sells journals in very large "bundles," so libraries must buy a large set with many unwanted journals, or none at all. Elsevier thus makes huge profits by exploiting their essential titles, at the expense of other journals.3. Elsevier supports measures such as SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act, that aim to restrict the free exchange of information.
The key to all these issues is the right of authors to achieve easily-accessible distribution of their work.
Elsevier has made a stement saying that it will respect the freedom of choice of the academics, but that the facts are not correct. ‘Access to information has never been so great, while the price per article has never been so low.’

For more information: thePolyMath journal publishing reform page and the n-category cafe