As Andrew Albanese of Publishers Weekly reports, Lulu Press, an online print-on-demand, self-publishing and distribution platform, announced this week the launch of Glasstree, an online publishing platform dedicated to academic and scholarly authors.

When I first read the news I thought Lulu was offering academics a blogging platform. Not the case.

Per Lulu:

Glasstree will provide a suite of online tools and services needed by academic authors, and will leverage technology, such as print-on-demand, to distribute their works more cost-effectively.

No question Glasstree offers any number advantages over the status quo. Glasstree will accelerate time to market, enable immediate updates, reverse the revenue model allowing academics to realize 70% of the profit from sales of their work, enable the deposit of works in institutional repositories and support open access.

There’s a big difference between a book and a blog post — or even a blog. Text books still drive college and graduate school curriculums. But aren’t we moving towards the day where publishing a blog will be more important than publishing a book for academics and scholars?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not be critical of Lulu and Glasstree. I just see innovation in academic publishing as putting the printing press in the hands of the authors. And in a way that knowledge is advanced faster than via books or even journals.

We’re already moving beyond law journals and law reviews to law blogs for law professors. Law blogs are routinely cited by the courts. Professors are building a name for themselves via blogging, enough so to gain tenure.

By blogging on a regular basis, it would seem an academic would run laps around another academic publishing a book when it comes to building a name for themselves. Blogging would also drive greater learning and networking for an academic or scholar.

Blog posts published by anyone could be curated into networks in any way that an academic or school sought fit. Couldn’t such a curated presentation of custom content be presented to students and other academics on a mobile device at pennies on the dollar as compared to published books or ebooks?

Rather than, or at least in addition to, a self publishing platform, shouldn’t we provide academics and scholars a managed blogging platform with accompanying services?

I get the peer reviewed, we need to hold onto traditional publishing and blogging will never be used as basis for tenure. But isn’t time to really look to the future?

Maybe I am getting ahead of myself thinking digital open publishing indexed on Google and curated for further use is the future. What an I missing?

  • It’s easier to fill your your shelf with books than blog posts.