Open Access, the book: It looks great

Yesterday, I received an advance copy of Open Access: What You Need to Know Now.

In case you haven’t ordered it yet for your library (and maybe for some of your librarians), you really should–certainly for every public library and every special library that serves researchers, and I think most public libraries should also be aware of these things.

ISBN 978-0-8389-1106-8. $45 ($40.50 for ALA members).

I pretty much knew how it was going to look–after all, the “galleys” were in the form of a PDF, lacking only the (very good six-page) index and cover. I had a pretty good idea what the cover would look like, since this is an ALA Editions Special Report, with a uniform cover design differing only in primary color. It looks great, actually–set in Palatino Linotype with headings and quoted material in Avenir.

It’s 76 pages long, 8.5×11″–and the more I think about it, the more I think that has its advantages, particularly for a book like this one. Namely, it looks short and easy to read–in some ways, even shorter than it actually is. (It’s 30,000 words. If I reformat the text as a 6×9 paperback, it would be almost exactly the same thickness as First Have Something to Say–around 130 pages with index.)

I’d like to think it is easy to read (I certainly tried to write clearly), but there’s also quite a bit of meat here, including lots of ways to find out more about open access.

The back cover has wonderful blurbs from three people I regard as important for open access–the same three people who reviewed the draft version and gave me considerable help in making the final version better. They know how much improvement there was…

Here’s what they have to say:

Charles W. Bailey, Jr.:

Open Access: What You Need to Know Now is an insightful, concise overview of the open access movement by one of librarianship’s best authors. Highly recommended.”

Dorothea Salo:

“Walt calmly and lucidly lays out the complexities and perplexities of the open-access movement in this evenhanded guide. Recommended for all librarians interested in serials, scholarly communication, or the future of research and research libraries.”

Peter Suber:

“Walt Crawford has done something difficult and useful. He’s written a short, accurate, independent introduction to open access. I recommend it to researchers and libraries everywhere, and hope it corrects misunderstandings that have held back this good idea for years.”

I am, of course, extremely grateful for these kind words, particularly coming from people who’ve done more than I have to move OA forward.

I do believe this is both the right length and the right time.

In some ways, this may be the most important book I’ve ever written. It deserves wide reading, within the library field and among researchers and funders.

Update: I’m informed that there is also a Kindle edition available right this very minute, for those who prefer ebooks–and it’s only $36.


On a side note, this is my first non-self-published book in eight years. It was a pleasure to work with ALA Editions. And for those who think professional publishers always take forever to get anything done, I would note that it took no more than four months from the time I sent ALA Editions the manuscript to the time the book emerged in print. That’s part of the Special Reports idea, and it works.

Oh, and I don’t believe it will be eight more years before my next book from a “real” publisher (as opposed to surreal publishers like Cites & Insights Books). More on that when something happens.

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