Promoting by free access

For the second month we are working with Carcanet to promote their wonderful poetry list by providing temporary free access to ten of their new books, throughout November. These are all for sale as perpetual access resources from Exact Editions, along with 60 other titles.

Exact Editions is able to provide publishers with an opportunity to make titles freely available for a limited period, because the platform provides users with access to a service. The technology is not driven by a system of file down-loads – unlike, for example, PDF files or ebook systems, where the whole book is downloaded to a user’s device before being fired up locally through a reading app. Because the whole book has to be downloaded and installed if a PDF file or a Kindle-file is to be read, it is not really practicable to promote these platforms temporarily.

That is an important advantage that many publishers will appreciate. But there are some other features which come in to their own when Exact Editions is used to provide an evaluation service:

  • Individual pages can be directly cited through their URL (see this poem Marriage by William Letford)
  • Each page looks exactly as it was printed. This matters so much for poetry.
  • The books and their lovely front covers can be tweeted or shared via social media.


Carcanet poetry in November

Ten poetry books from Carcanet are available for free reading and evaluation through the Exact Editions web site for the month of November.


The list comprises:

The Alexandra Sequence — John Redmond

Beyond the Barbed Wire: Selected Poems — Abdellatif Laabi

Dirt — William Letford

John Masefield — Muriel Spark

The Met Office Advises Caution — Rebecca Watts

Playing the Octopus — Mary O’Malley

Quennets — Philip Terry

What Must Happen — Jeffrey Wainwright

The Windows of Graceland — Martina Evans

Winter Migrants — Tom Pickard

These are beautiful books full of arresting poetry from some of our freshest voices. Each page is linkable, and here are three poems that struck me with their power and wit:

All alcoholics are charmers  ….that is if they are any good.

Jetsam / Flotsam …Grounds for debate/ by windswept committees/ of sharp-eyed gulls

MISS SYNCOPATION …so, she said,/ stripped/ and slipping into bed,/ do you have a copy/ of machiavelli’s/ the prince,/ then?



Current Publishing Release 3 New Digital Titles

Current Publishing has released three new titles – Current Archaeology, Current World Archaeology, and Military History Monthly– each with a full digital archive.

Current Archaeology is the oldest of the three titles, with its archive dating all the way back to March 1967. Although it is now the UK’s leading (and best-selling) archaeology magazine, Issue 1 of the magazine was mailed free of charge to university academics and archaeologists! Readers began to subscribe from Issue 2, and Current Archaeology now has more than 17,000 subscribers worldwide.

Current Archaeology aims to bridge the gap between amateurs and professionals in archaeology. For 40 years Current Archaeology has been visiting the digs, talking to excavators, and reviewing the literature, to keep its readers up to date with Archaeological news. Its articles are written by archaeologists, and then edited to ensure that the content is accessible to all readers.

To subscribe to Current Archaeology, please click here.

Institutions please click here.


Current World Archaeology was launched in 2003 as the sister magazine to Current Archaeology. This publication covers world archaeology from the first emergence of man, up until present day, looking at areas from around the globe, including Egypt, Mesopotamia, Classical Greece and Rome, as well as Asia and the Far East. The magazine reports on news from around the world, covering the latest digs and discoveries.

To subscribe to Current World Archaeology, please click here.

Institutions please click here.


Military History Monthly was first launched in September 2010 as Military Times, with its name changed to Military History Monthly in November 2011. The magazine aims to bring military battles to life, with action-packed narrative and historical detail. Military History Monthly tells the stories of war heroes, both celebrated and forgotten, lifting the veil on war, and cutting through historical propaganda, to get the truth of what really happened.

To subscribe to Military History Monthly, please click here.

Institutions please click here.




Institutions as a market for digital magazines


The earliest issues of the magazine Geographical

available at

Consumer magazines are a primary form of social history. For much of the 19th century, and especially the 20th century, consumer magazines became the most widespread and the most vivid form of popular culture. From the high end elite magazines Scientific American, Vogue, Punch to the merely but gloriously popular mass market Ladies Home Journal, Hello or Readers Digest, these titles — and many more — are continuing resources of great interest to scholars and students. Apart from the intrinsic importance of their content (eg Vogue for fashion, Gramophone for recorded classical music, and Scientific American for science) their historical and social value comes from the depth and continuity of publication. When produced in the form of a properly searchable and referencable archive they become resources for which universities have a strong and continuing demand. This is an area for profitable exploitation and brand development which big brand magazines should seize. There are many magazines that will have a profitable and ongoing market if they are offered to universities and corporate libraries as a properly packaged archival resource. This may be especially important for magazines that decide that their future lies in e-commerce, events or branded content. Anchoring the quality of the heritage, which we do by building a complete and accurate archive,  is important as the marketeers turn over a new leaf.

Exact Editions has been developing this revenue stream in conjunction with our publishing partners and it may be useful to summarise some of the key factors that generate demand and value. In the last 6 months we have launched complete archives with:

Geographical  944 issues since May 1935

Opera 804 issues since Feb 1950

and Crafts 254 issues since March 1973

In the case of all these projects, we established at an early stage, with the publisher, that their consumer magazines are of deep interest to university and public libraries. The publishers already knew this as the current subscription lists were well populated with institutional subscribers. What the publishers did not already know was that these subscribers would in some cases value a digital version much more highly. Big libraries will have substantial back runs, in some cases complete archives of many popular magazines in print form. The universities and public libraries bought these magazines and carry on subscribing to them because they are great information sources for the fields they cover. For example, nearly 1700 libraries of the OCLC library consortium have subscriptions or back issues of Geographical on their shelves. So establishing that there really will be a demand for a digital archive is an important step before investing perhaps $10,000-50,000 in developing the full product.

The second point to note is that these print issues, and especially print back-runs with fraying paper and perhaps some gaps in coverage (issues get mislaid even in the best run library) are almost useless in today’s research environment. Libraries are looking to replace their print repositories with digital assets. A big magazine archive with 1000-10,000 back issues has to be searchable if it is to be useful. And it has to be searchable and usable across campus by as many researchers of students who have need of it. Magazine publishers are used to the idea of selling digital access to individuals (eg with a password and a user name), but this highly rationed form of access is practically useless for the library networks. Digital consumer magazines have to be sold on a site-license basis if they are to be bought by modern research universities. There is a compensating advantage: librarians are thoroughly used to the idea that a resource for 25,000+ end users is going to cost more than one licensed for use by one individual subscriber. A digital magazine with its archive sold on a site license basis to a large university can easily command a annual price 40 or 50 times the cost of an individual subscription. And it will be good value if it is relevant.

A third requirement which may not be obvious to the publisher of a consumer magazine, is that everything in the magazine counts for the scholarly researcher. For some titles the advertisements are even more important than the editorial contents! One of the key requirements for resources which are to be used in teaching or research is that all the content should be easily and consistently citable. It is also essential that students who may be working with diverse devices (computer, tablet, mobile phone) can be sure that they are ‘seeing the same thing’, exactly as it was published, and it is essential that their teachers be able to point them to exactly the right thing. Teaching, referencing and citations become very murky if there is no way of checking or confirming that users are working from the same content. This is perhaps an obvious requirement, but it is surprising how poorly many digital magazines formats fail at this hurdle. A Flash implementation is certainly no good (many devices not supporting Flash) even responsive designs or re-flowable magazine apps fail on this test. Libraries will also be very reluctant to subscribe to content packages which miss out key elements of the publication. Many magazines have built web sites that capture all the articles that have appeared in the magazine over a period of time, but these web solutions are usually non-standard, give no reliable guidance as to the exact place of the original article (date, name, byline, page, context etc) and worst of all these home-grown databases usually omit the original advertisements that were in the print magazine. For many research purposes, the advertisements that appear in magazines over the years are of fundamental interest.

These are some of the key requirements that we have noticed at Exact Editions as we sell magazine subscriptions to universities and research libraries, but it is also important that the publisher or the aggregator with which the publisher collaborates, makes sure that the delivered service meets the demands of the library market: off-campus access, user statistics, meta-data, support and above all reliable delivery to all the IP addresses on the campus network. The library market has strong expectations of its suppliers, and the most brilliant content will be ignored if it fails to meet these demands.


Front covers for Crafts magazine

New poetry from Carcanet


Several Deer — Adam Crothers

Ten of Carcanet’s new poetry titles are available for free reading, enjoyment and evaluation for the month of October. As digital editions, here they are:

Several Deer – Adam Crothers:

Measures of Expatriation – Vahni Capildeo:

Serengeti Songs – Chris McCully:

Skies – Alison Brackenbury:

Understand the Weapon, Understand the Wound – John Cornford:

Through – David Herd:

To Fold the Evening Star – Ian McMillan:

Herne the Hunter – Peter McDonald:

The Homeric Hymns – McDonald:

Holy Toledo – John Clegg:



This is a new use of the Exact Editions platform to provide short-term but full access for new books, or books about to be published. Because the Exact Editions platform is not a file download system (unlike PDF or ePub or Kindle books) it is straightforward to provide open access for a limited period. Any university, college, school or public libraries that wish to purchase these or any other titles on the Exact Editions platform, should review the offering and contact

Publishers of richly-illustrated and well-designed books who currently have very limited avenues for offering digital access to their books on a temporary basis are welcome to contact Exact Editions [] and we will be pleased to outline and demonstrate our service for promoting books with full open access on a time-limited basis through Evaluation Windows.

These Carcanet books are delightful and fascinating. Read them via the links on this blog and tell your poetry-loving friends about them.