Look around everywhere you turn is heartache
It’s everywhere that you go (look around)
You try everything you can to escape
The pain of life that you know (life that you know)
Legal Publishing is vogueing again and Madonna’s lyrics must have been written for the legal publishing industry!
Here at Law Librarians News publishing legal books is a development that has come back into play in a big way in the last 12 weeks or so.
Management at various publishers may well raise their eyebrows at our comments if and when they read this. But it really does feel as though the old fashioned legal title has suddenly come back into fashion.
It feels as though years have passed without the majority of legal publishers bothering to shout from the rooftops about newly published titles. But suddenly, in these autumnal days of 2013, we can’t negotiate our inbox due to one press release after another about this or that new legal book produced either in print format or as an online book.
The major exception to this drought-till-now rule being Kluwer, who carried on with a fairly healthy publishing programme after the 2008 financial disaster. Although, in our eyes, they didn’t really push and market their titles as much as they should have due to a desire to make their client base aware they were up with the times ( and their competitors) with lots of talk about furious digitizing and the creation of new online legal products just to keep up with the Joneses.
So why the sudden desire to talk about and publish subject specific based titles after years of database building, workflow management software and the endless other “magic bullet” legal business and management software solutions?
Here at LLN we think there may be a number of reasons for a return to the old ways as we move towards the middle of the second decade of our brave new century
This year the never ending attack on “editorial” may have finally reached its nadir. Even back in 2000-2002 there was a noticeable distrust by management of well paid editors. They were supposedly surplus to requirements and initially law students were hired to supplement and even replace editors in order to save costs.
Then, we presume, law students became too expensive and so the vogue of outsourcing to “editorial” companies with no knowledge of legal content raised its head as the next best cost saving option. “Cost saving” has now run its course as all involved realise that it’s actually much cheaper to have a few well-educated and -trained editors rather than lots of poorly paid individuals with few skills and lots of turnover.
So . . . are we seeing the resurgence of the well-researched, -written and -edited old fashioned legal title as the best back up to all the new legal legislation and developments happening around the world at the moment?
We aren’t getting too excited in case it is all a flash in the pan, but we do hope that once again people are seeing value in titles written and edited by people whose knowledge and skill base lies in the legal industry .
Maybe we will even see , as in the past, certain new titles go to a new edition on annual basis. For example, Chitty on Contracts is now in its 31st edition. Publishers should, as a matter of course, be able to develop new titles with this length of shelf life as a way of giving readers continuity; and as publishers knew in the past, this is one of the better ways to guarantee future annual revenues from clients. As long as they actually provide proper new editions everybody will be happy.