20:51:52, by admin   . Categories: Open Access Anthropology and Knowledge Sharing, books

Democratic Publishing = Web + Paper

Maximilian Forte is out with a new book on anthropology, military and imperialism. Yes, you can order it the usual way. But you can also download it as pdf file, for free!

On his blog he explains how he combined web and paper, how he set up his own publishing entity, Alert Press including print on demand by Lulu.com. The book consists of 14 papers, written by his students.

I hope more authors will choose similar ways of spreading knowledge.

Paper books lock in knowlegde - they will most likely be read by specialists only. Paper publications have to be ordered and paid for – an often lengthy and expensive process. Web publications are more democratic: They can be downloaded from every location in the world with internet access. They will be read by more people, including casual browsers. It’s obvious, so why not combining both paper and web?

When I recently heard about Keith Hart’s new book The Human Economy, I was thrilled: Finally a book with contributions of a wide range of social scientists (including many anthropologists like David Graeber and Thomas Hylland Eriksen) about one of the most important issues - our economic system. It’s obvious that the current models of economic organisation is not the best one. What alternatives are there?

But why on paper only? Shouldn’t a publication that they call “a citizen’s guide to building a human economy” be accompanied by a web version to ensure a widest possible readership and to discuss and expand the contents of the book?

But the book is new and I’m sure Keith Hart, who shares more knowlege online than most other anthropologists on his website and blog The Memory Bank, is working on this issue of dissemination. I’m looking forward to the book launch in Oslo next week and am going to blog about it.


Maximilian C. Forte

Many thanks Lorenz, much appreciated coverage of the publication here. I also rejected the possibility of monetary profit from students’ work–hence the cost of the printed book is the lowest allowed by Lulu, and of course it profits from the printing and shipping. However, since they also allow distribution of eBooks…and no such costs are involved, nor does Lulu impose any cut for itself, then it makes free possible (for now anyway, until Lulu gets desperate and/or greedy and decides it should profit from that as well).

Anyway, it was a great experience, and it fundamentally transforms a course, the student experience, and encourages students to become active producers of knowledge rather than mere reciters of received knowledge. Since that course ended, a few have felt motivated to enter journalism in addition to anthropology, and international relations as well.

2010-11-25 @ 22:53
Comment from: [Member]

Sounds great! And Lulu seems to be good choice. Free ebooks, and 10 USD for a paperback is a bargain.

2010-11-26 @ 13:47
Luisa Pessoa de Oliveira

Dear Lorenz,

I am an anthropologist from Brazil and this subject about the online and paper publication of our work it’s a big question here too.

What happens here is that most of the academics magazines are avaiable online (you can see a lot of it in http://www.scielo.br/?lang=pt ) and in paper. But books are almost only in paper.

The publication in paper is very expensive (here and anywhere, I imagine…) and my experience shows that many academics groups decide to publicate only online. Is the case of my group, who has an annual magazine about anthropology and art. We would be really happy if you could see our website and help divulgate it abroad!


Most of the content is only in portuguese, but there are some texts in english and french!

Best wishes!

2010-11-26 @ 15:18
Comment from: [Member]

Dear Luisa,

thanks for your comment. Interesting that most of the work in Brasil is available online. It seems that Open Access is especially popular in Spanish and Portuese language areas. There are lots of blogs and when I made my overview over Open Access journals, I found very many especially in Portuguese.

I’ve added Proa to the overview in the multilungual section. I might blog about one of their articles in English. You’re welcome to present the journal in a guest post as well.

2010-11-28 @ 02:25
Comment from: Rafael Reinehr [Visitor]  
Rafael Reinehr

We´re about to launch in Brazil a Publish Press Collective called Anti Editora where we´re going to translate texts and articles form english, french, italian, german an russian to portuguese and make it available in two formats - free pdf and with a low cost printing on demand solution (with a specific contract). Hopefully will be showing a great catalogue in a few months. All parts of the chain will be paid when the user decides do pay for the book (author, translator, capist, revisor and editor). We feel that to no one should be prohibited access to ideas and knowledge and if people decides that this is a good opportunity to help any initiative, if they recognize the work and effort, at some moment they will feel “necessity” of paying to thanks for the work.

2010-12-01 @ 16:44
Comment from: [Member]

Wow, interesting. Thanks for letting us know. I hope there’ll be more initiatives like this one!

2010-12-02 @ 11:48

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