Talk of the Town: 8 Things that Happened in the Publishing Industry in December 2020

In December 2020, the world reflects upon a year of unprecedented upheaval, and looks apprehensively to 2021: does the vaccine bring hope for the new year?

That’s why Anthem Press has curated 8 note-worthy articles that contribute to a glimpse of the current state and future trajectory of the publishing industry. Whether data, news or commentary, we aim to keep you informed.

1. Look to the future — what to read in 2021 

As the year draws to a close, we look to the year ahead and the new titles it will bring. The FT have created a list of books to watch out for in 2021, with some great reads to look forward to.

2. Richard Charkin: ‘Chasm’ Between Academic and Trade Publishing 

In a guest post for Publishing Perspectives, Richard Charkin writes about the differences and paradoxes between academic and trade publishing. Find out more about why he believes “that academic publishing, particularly STM journal publishing, is fundamentally different from trade (“real”) publishing in almost every respect”.

3. The State of Not-for-Profit Publishing Today 

Often in periods of disruption, commercial publishers are able to use investments to strengthen their market position. But how have not-for-profit publishers fared in the past year? Find out here.

4. Publishing saw upheaval in 2020, but ‘books are resilient’ 

2020 was a year of unprecedented upheaval and consistent uncertainty, yet book sales have remained resilient. Take a look at how the industry has fared here.

5. Prestige journal publisher, Nature, slaps scientists in the face 

Open Access passes the cost to scientists – which can feel like a slap in the face, when charged £11,500 to publish in Nature. Steven Salzberg talks about the system of open access, and why it shouldn’t be this expensive, here.

6. The monster publishing merger is about Amazon 

Penguin Random House purchasing Simon & Schuster has been condemned as deplorable, many worrying about the consequences for the industry. But this merger isn’t the gravest threat to the industry – Amazon is. And that is what this merger is about. Find out more here.

7. The Future of Reading, Writing and Written Communication: Part 1: The Evolving Role of Cursive in World Culture 

This two-part article by Nancy K. Herther explores the evolving role of written communication, and whether this is truly a great time to be a writer. Is the written word under attack? Find out more here.

8. The impact of COVID-19 on academic library budgets: Fall 2020 

The Scholarly Kitchen shares the results of a deep dive into the budget situation and major US academic libraries, and the impact COVID-19 has had over the past year. Find out the figures here.