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29842Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] Socialist publishing

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  • Nick Fredman
    May 23, 2006
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      Bob is referring to here a thread on marxmail, which you can follow
      backwards if you go to http://www.marxmail.org/msg11551.html where
      his msg is posted on marxmail.

      Bob writes:

      >and we can all point to
      >outrageous prices, often charged by academic publishers, for titles
      >such as Pierre Broue's book on Germany, which should be available to
      >a socialist public, properly edited with indexes, at reasonable
      >prices.

      Perhaps, but there's not much that can be done about the high cost of
      academic books (and journals) under capitalism, given both the small
      market (and books are much more expensive in Australia than the US)
      and the fact that not only writers but also research assistants,
      graphic designers, proofreaders, editors etc have often fought hard
      for a decent standard of living.

      Socialist groups can offset this to some extent by voluntary labour,
      and Bob's idea about increasing the economic viability of socialist
      publishing by socialist groups joining together cross-factionally in
      publishing ventures may have some merit (Links journal
      http://www.dsp.org.au/links/ does this to some extent, i.e. it's
      distributed by varied groups and individuals in a number of
      countries). But obviously socialist groups have to prioritise what to
      publish.

      Another small way for socialist groups to collectively get around the
      economics of capitalist publishing is to utilise the position of
      those members working at academic institutions. Generally all staff,
      not just academics, have extended library borrowing rights and full
      database access, and the latter increasingly includes whole ebooks
      (i.e. books that can be downloaded and printed off, as opposed to
      text on web pages). E.g. I printed off got some sections from Capital
      and Gramsci's Prison Notebooks from the ebooks available on my uni
      library catalogue - (a lot easier for academic referencing than the
      otherwise extremely useful Marxist Internet Archives). University
      employed comrades (and students) should be able to some extent
      collectivise their privileged access to books and journals for the
      benefit of non-university associated comrades who might be
      researching particular things.


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