launches academic service suite – Glasstree

The leaders in affordable print-on-demand,, have just launched a book publishing service for academics. Glasstree offers the…

“tools and services needed by academic authors, and will leverage technology, such as print-on-demand, to distribute their works more cost-effectively. [aims to boost the] commercial academic publishing market, such as accelerating time to market, more transparent pricing, and reversing the revenue model to allow academics and scholars to realize 70% of the profit from sales of their work. Among Glasstree’s advertised services: support for open access, including the deposit of works in institutional repositories; Tools for bibliometric tracking, so academic authors can monitor Impact Factors, and other relevant measurements; More control over licensing options, through a partnership with Creative Commons; and access to traditional peer review.”

Note that…

“Glasstree is currently in a limited free trial period until 31st December 2016. During this time, authors can publish as many titles as desired, free of charge, receiving a range of complimentary services.”

Somehow I doubt that includes the related Glassleaf services where book production… “Packages start at as low as $2,625”. Ouch.

The Glasstree signup doesn’t port over your existing Lulu details, and thus presumably can’t port your academic book files over from Lulu either. Looks like it’s a wholly separate system.


Lump sum

It’s one thing to find an occasional questionable ‘alternative medicine’ article in a dubious journal, quite another to learn that the same flakes have set up shop on your local hospital cancer ward. The latest edition of Skeptic magazine ($, Vol 21, No.4, 2016) points out how gong-banging and aromatherapy and suchlike nonsense is being welcomed into legitimate cancer wards…

“The most disturbing trend in cancer care is the ongoing infiltration of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) into otherwise legitimate cancer hospitals. As of 2016, every cancer hospital on the top of U.S. News & World Report’s list of America’s best either has its own CAM center or openly markets CAM services. Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Bendheim Integrative Medicine Center offers aromatherapy, Qi Gong, reflexology, hypnotherapy and a slew of other fantasy treatments. At Dana-Farber’s Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, you can waste as much time and money as you like on Qi Gong, acupuncture, massage therapy, and Reiki. The UCLA Medical Center has a partnership with the Urban Zen Foundation (Reiki, essential oil therapy, and contemplative care/mindful awareness exercises). Not to be outdone, the stellar MD Anderson’s CAM center has Tai Chi, Tibetan meditation, group drumming, acupuncture, and “laughter for health.”

“This has led to some awkward advertising moments in which hospitals warn patients about the very treatments they now offer. Sloan Kettering’s Chief of Integrative Medicine Service boasts of having “studied, published, and lectured internationally” on “alternative therapies” for more than 25 years. The hospital itself advises its patients: “alternative regimens are unproved, expensive, and potentially harmful.”

“… Medical expenses are still the leading cause of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. In dire circumstances, when one is not thinking with due lucidity, the temptation to turn to cheap alternatives that are bountiful outside of mainstream medicine can be irresistible. When legitimate hospitals host CAM services — by whatever name they choose to call them — they implicitly abet a shameful industry.”

Changes at the Facebook filter F.B. Purity

Just a note on the popular third-party Facebook filter F.B. Purity. Changes are obviously afoot in how their blocklist blocks items from appearing in your personal Facebook feed. I’ve noticed a number of changes so far, and possibly there are more…

1) Under the “Photo Stories” settings, the option to block “Meme” stories is now much more sensitive that it was. It is blocking all sorts of legitimate items. Possibly it was boosted to help people cope with the U.S. elections?

2) “Selfie” blocking is now blocking things like Christmas event posters, that just happen to have a small face somewhere on them.

3) If you were also correctly blocking all stories from a news site such as Russia Today (aka RT, Putin’s propaganda arm), in your personal Text Filter blacklist, using a backslash thus…


Then note that this now also blocks all shares from any other URL ending in *

4) F.B. Purity’s word blocking in the Text Filter also auto-expands on the root word, something I don’t remember seeing happen before. For instance, if you block “stories” then you also block all posts using “histories” and blocking “ISIS” blocks all posts with “crisis”.

Cover me!

A quick survey of some of the better free Photoshop book-cover mock-ups. Mock-ups are where you drop in the hi-res cover graphic for your own book, replacing the one in the graphic. All below were being offered without weird ‘installers’, ‘premium’ download accounts, mailing-list pop-ups or other tom-foolery, and they un-zipped fine.

Hardback Book Mockup, which looks suitable for the ‘easy-reading for hipsters’ sort of books.


Hardcover Book PSD Mockup, a chunky classic manual / textbook type of book. The download has a simple five-second timer-delay but works.


Free Book Mockup .PSD. A straightforward large tome, perhaps suitable for an encyclopaedia volume.


Propped Up 6 x 9 Paperback. The levitation effect looks a little odd, but could suit a title on the future of technology or similar.


9 x 7 Landscape Paperback Book Mockup. Could work nicely for a small Blurb print-on-demand photobook.


Photorealistic Book Mockup. Could suit a small volume of translation or poetry, although getting print-on-demand binding that looks as finely tooled as that might be a problem. 15 second download timer-delay, but it does download.


5 x 8 Mass Market Paperback, but with a little scaling on the background (to make it look larger) it might also be used for the cheap paperback of your 800-page academic brain-crusher.


Digital Monograph Costing Tool

A new Digital Monograph Costing Tool from American University Presses.

My digital monograph costing tool:—

Research and write the thing: mostly free, just buy a few print books.
Microsoft Word, already have it: free.
Proofreading, can DIY: free., for distributing print-on-demand print copies: free.
HTML editor, for making an e-book from the Word file: free.
Amazon Kindle Store, for distributing an e-book: free.

Telegraph paywall re-built, content now mostly free

Good news, London’s venerable newspaper The Daily Telegraph has dropped its easily-sidetepped metered paywall, and is now going for a hybrid approach. Previously a reader had 20 free articles a month, then the paywall descended. With the new system there’s a 20% premium / 80% free split, with premium articles going behind a “hard” paywall. This paid-for premium content is described as the “most unique, in-depth and insightful journalism” and “interviews, opinion pieces, features and some of your favourite Telegraph writers”.

It’s difficult to get at what the new subscription tiers offer, as they’re hidden behind a “30-days free” offer page that demands your details first. But NiemanLab reports that the lowest level of £2 (about $2.80 US) per week will get plain Web browser access to premium stories, with more expensive options offering scanned ‘paper newspaper’ facsimiles and swoosh-y interactive tablet editions. So about $10-$12 a month for basic premium access. No details about payment options — can British users pay via PayPal and in dollars, or is it ‘Credit Cards Only’? I get paid in $s these days, via PayPal. So dollars are my cheapest and most convenient option, even though I’m in the UK.

I suspect that there will be some bonuses flying back to a journalist whose article gets snaffled by a sub-editor for the ‘premium’ category, but the “hard” paywall content — presumably only very minimally exposed to the open Web — should help to prevent any rush-to-clickbait tendencies among the paper’s journalists. That’s an interesting way around the click-bait problem at newspapers, if it works. The Telegraph is apparently profitable to the tune of £50m a year, so it can afford to take a few risks and try things out.

Personally I’d be inclined to pay a premium Web subscription if I could bin the tablet-tastic thin-column layout, and instead get a layout that actually fits a widescreen desktop monitor. This is what the Business section looks like to me in Firefox…


Iris AI 2.0

A ‘science search’ tool has just launched in a new 2.0 version. Iris AI certainly has a nice and fast visual interface, which I read is new with version 2.0. The concept-grouping demo seems to use the UK’s CORE repository database (I couldn’t find any other links) and offers some 30m papers. As such Iris AI 2.0 appears to demo a “pilot” commercial in-house product that is being pitched at high-end business firms. Firms who need a good-looking “science assistant” option alongside traditional keyword search. I guess it would also be a user-friendly way for marketing / recruitment / competitor-research / horizon-scouting teams to garner useful keywords and phrases in highly technical subject areas. Perhaps also to access a firm’s own knowledge repository in a split-screen manner (trade press and relevant journals on one side, in-house repository on the other = then play ‘spot the difference’). I can’t comment on Iris AI’s apparent ‘neural net’, ‘machine learning’ and ‘AI’ aspects, but these days one has to assume that such things may not just be marketing buzzwords.



Instapaper premium is now free, but ominous ‘changes’ are coming

I just had a PayPal refund from Pinterest for my August Instapaper subscription of $3. On looking at Google News I see that the new owners, Pinterest, have decided to make Instapaper’s premium service level a free service. Nice.

But slightly worrying is that… “Pinterest has planned a strategy to be more than just a place to collect articles with visual content [and] Pinterest has a lot more to offer in the future”. Oh dear, which means some flash-harry Web designer will get his mitts on it and mess around with the layout. I like it just fine as it is, that’s why I was willing to pay for it. I don’t need an all-singing all-dancing ‘Pinter-paper’.

Eastman Museum new online collections hub

The Eastman Museum of photography has a newly expanded collections hub with 250,000 records, many with pictures. Some of the scans are quite large, such as this 2380px scan of a Minor White picture…

catskeleton1953“Cat skeleton”, Minor White, 1953. Eastman Museum.

To get big pictures suitable for lecture or dissertation use, you need to use the Firefox trick and a Firefox add-on like RighttoClick.