Category Archives: Book Reviews

How fast book prices plummet when I am a contributor

I doubt, I hope I am not to blame. At least I hope not…

The reality is that most books plummet in prices very quickly now after release. Actually, so do CDs …when I buy a CD as a pre-order on Amazon it is common for the price guarantee of Amazon to kick in and reduce it below the pre-order price before I even receive it. Amazon really have a good thing going in terms of enabling what is likely the vast majority of the resale market for books (well maybe eBay also).

As an indication of the change in value of books from release to buying a discounted or used version of a book I can look at my authors profile on Amazon and see the price for a new copy, a discounted copy and used copies.

As an example of the discounted books available a partial screenshot is below. The book regarding Collaborative Computational Technologies must have sold really well because there are lots of used copies for sale it seems! At just over a $3 starting price. BARGAIN…grab one for each of your family members….

Discount prices of books on my Amazon Author Profile

Discount prices of books on my Amazon Author Profile

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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Book Reviews


Name disambiguation, ORCIDs and author IDs for Science Books

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I am a fan of ORCIDs and it is great to hear that there are now over a MILLION ORCIDS issued! The sooner the better as far as I am concerned that I can start claiming all of my books and book chapters against MY ORCID and then moving that information to other platforms. My Amazon Author Page is here: and I am glad to say that despite the fact that there is a book called “I Hate Sex” with the author Antony J. Williams, exactly the spelling of my name, is NOT associated with me. Phew…

If we could start to make sure, somehow, that ORCIDs, or at least some form of AUTHOR IDs were utilized by all publishers and associated with books that are published (and listed on Amazon and Google Books) then maybe we wouldn’t have this problem listed below….

My GREAT FRIEND Gary Martin (and often times mentor in NMR) and I are editing a two volume series with David Rovnyak. Volume 1 is listed on Amazon here and Volume 2 is here. Now then…Gary is rather well known in the world of NMR….his Wikipedia page is here. On Amazon his skill set is listed as under “About the Author” as:

“Gary E. Martin graduated with a B.S. in Pharmacy in 1972 from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Kentucky in 1975, specializing in NMR spectroscopy. He was a Professor at the University of Houston from 1975 to 1989, assuming the position of Section Head responsible for US NMR spectroscopy at Burroughs Wellcome, Co. in Research Triangle Park, NC, eventually being promoted to the level of Principal Scientist. In 1996 he assumed a position at what was initially the Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, MI and held several positions there through 2006 by which time he was a Senior Fellow at what was then Pfizer, Inc. In 2006 he assumed a position as a Distinguished Fellow at Schering-Plough responsible for the creation of the Rapid Structure Characterization Laboratory. He is presently a Distinguished Fellow at Merck Research Laboratories.”

So HOW interesting to see who Google Books thinks he is! See the link here… it reads as

“Gary Martin’s career as a freelance comic book artist spans over twenty years. He’s worked for all the major companies, including Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, and Disney, and on such titles as, Spider-man, X-men, Batman, Star Wars, and Mickey Mouse. Gary is best known for his popular how-to books entitled, ‘The Art of Comic Book Inking’. Recently, Gary wrote a comic book series called ‘The Moth’, which he co-created with artist Steve Rude.”

I am not listed as an editor and for sure the information is out of date since David Rovnyak joined as an editor this year.


This is Gary Martin, the inker.

So…I am very interested in any hypotheses regarding how Google Books picked up a comic inker as an author when Amazon lists Gary as a scientist, clearly. By the way, Gary Martin, NMR spectroscopist extraordinaire is a brilliant photographer, especially of lighthouses…but manipulates light…not ink.

Imagine, if you would, the potential power of ORCIDs in keeping this clear, platform to platform, if the publisher used them, if Amazon adopted them and if Google Books used the data. With time…



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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Book Reviews, General Communications, ORCID


Who sets the price for our book and why does it vary so much?

I have written a lot of book chapters over the years, probably about 20, and have another 4 in press . I also have 3 more waiting on me to write by end of year (agh…). I have co-authored three books over the past few years (1,2,3) but other than the first book, self-published with ACD/Labs, I was not involved with setting the price. That’s probably good as it would likely be randomly changed, as would the list of authors and the number of pages!

There has been a question on this blog about whether I think the price for the most recent book is appropriate and I will discuss that when I have more time. I would say that based on the likely number of copies that will sell for this very specialized area, the size of the book and the amount of work it took us to put together (almost 2 years of work describing about 15 years of work), that this is probably a fair price…about $220 (but with price variation to be discussed below). If you consider that our single articles can be $30-35 for ONE PDF for 48 hours of access summarizing only one point in time in our research then I do think that the price is fine. Having previously “self-published” and seen how many books can be sold in that way I’d say that price is definitely appropriate considering the quality of support we have received from the publisher, RSC, and the associated costs of set-up for printing that must be taken on. Maybe self-publishing would be better nowadays  in terms of increased volume of sales, as my last experience was 10 years ago, but based on comments from people using (for chemistry books), sales volume is very low and for worldwide marketing to libraries a professional publisher IS necessary.

Back to the point of this blog post. Who really sets prices for a book, taking just the chemistry book I am involved with as an example? Amazon want about $220, at present, for a copy of our book. That includes a “random 7% discount” that comes from where? However, then things get interesting….

Note that the author listing order for our book is: Mikhail Elyashberg (Author), Antony Williams (Author), Kirill Blinov (Author). Now then….

Borders sell it for $424 here and change the author order to by  Antony WilliamsMikhail Elyashberg and Kirill Blinov. have the price listed in Australian dollars, add the book editor as an author, change the order of the authors and add another random discount.

PowellsBooks loses two of the authors and leaves only Mikhail Elyashberg as the sole author but keeps the price as the original Amazon price, no discount.

Barnes and Noble give a 19% discount before the book is even released, not an uncommon situation of course.

In most cases the number of pages is underestimated to be 368 pages but if you consult the RSC page you will see that it is almost 500 pages and the LIST price is 146.99 UK Pounds.

Who knows where these various online book sellers get their information and how their prices get set, but clearly there are discrepencies. While this book isn’t a mainstream novel moving the basic info out to the sites should be easy. One has to assume that the various discounts are based on either the scale of the sales operation or, it seems, more random factors. All very interesting…and no resolution from me!






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Our Book on Collaborative Computational Technologies is Shipping

It’s taken me about a month to get around to this post…our book on Collaborative Computational Technologies is shipping. The book is now available on Amazon here. The book is described in the movie posted on Slideshare here and embedded below. Sean has given the story about how the book came about on his blog.


The book is edited by Sean Ekins (a photo of a proud Sean is here), Maggie Hupcey and myself but has turned out to be a great volume because of the contributions by all of the chapter authors. You can get example chapters at the Wiley website.

The first review is already up on Amazon from @untangledhealth, Jeff Harris. His review is posted on his blog also. We’d welcome any more reviews!!!



A YouTube Overview of Our Book: Collaborative Computational Technologies for Biomedical Research

This movie provides an overview of the book “Collaborative Computational Technologies for Biomedical Research” edited by Sean Ekins, Maggie Hupcey and Antony Williams and published by Wiley and Sons. All of the authors either have extensive backgrounds in computational software for biomedical research or have done wet lab research for drug discovery. Many have worked in software companies, pharmaceutical companies or consulting companies and have the appropriate skills to produce an excellent overview of present activities in the area of Collaborative Computational Technologies for Biomedical Research.

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Posted by on November 9, 2010 in Book Reviews, General Communications


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Overview of our future book Collaborative Computational Technologies for the Life Sciences

Next year our book “Collaborative Computational Technologies for the Life Sciences” will be published by Wiley. An overview of our book is now online at Slideshare and embedded below.

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Posted by on October 19, 2010 in Book Reviews, Community Building



Future Book Collaborative Computational Technologies for Biomedical Research

For the past few months I have been working with Sean Ekins and Maggie Hupcey to edit a book entitled “Collaborative Computational Technologies for Biomedical Research” and to be published by Wiley next year. It’s been a work of passion for all three of us as we all believe that collaborative computational technologies will make a major impact on biomedical research. This book represents a point in time. We are working at a time when technologies are moving so quickly that in a couple of years parts of the future vision of the book will likely already be in place. SOme of the concepts about what could be will certainly have grown in scope and the world of open data, open science and open source will have made even more significant impacts on the Life Sciences. This was an exciting project. It represents the exciting shifts in collaboration happening every day. We hope you’ll be interested in reading it when it releases next year. The outline of the book, its chapters and its authors are listed below.


1. The Need for Collaborative Technologies in Drug Discovery
Chris L. Waller, Ramesh V. Durvasula and Nick Lynch

2. Collaborative Innovation: the Essential Foundation of Scientific Discovery
Robert Porter Lynch

3. Models for Collaborations and Computational Biology
Shawnmarie Mayrand-Chung, Gabriela Cohen-Freue, and Zsuzsanna Hollander

4. Precompetitive Collaborations in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Jackie Hunter

5. Collaborations in Chemistry
Sean Ekins, Antony J. Williams and Christina K. Pikas

6. Consistent Patterns in Large Scale Collaboration
Robin W. Spencer

7. Collaborations Between Chemists and Biologists
Victor J. Hruby

8. Ethics of Collaboration
Richard J. McGowan, Matthew K. McGowan and Garrett J. McGowan

9 Intellectual Property Aspects of Collaboration
John Wilbanks


10. Scientific Networking and Collaborations
Edward D. Zanders

11. Cancer Commons: Biomedicine in the Internet Age
Jeff Shrager, Jay M. Tenenbaum, and Michael Travers

12. Collaborative Development of Large-Scale Biomedical Ontologies
Tania Tudorache and Mark A. Musen

13. Standards for Collaborative Computational Technologies for Biomedical Research
Sean Ekins, Antony J. Williams and Maggie A.Z. Hupcey

14. Collaborative Systems Biology: Open Source, Open Data, and Cloud Computing Brian Pratt

15. Eight Years Using GRIDS for Life Sciences
Vincent Breton, Lydia Maigne, David Sarramia and David Hill

16. Enabling Precompetitive Translational Research – A Case Study
Sándor Szalma

17. Collaboration in the Cancer Research Community: The cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG)
George A. Komatsoulis

18. Leveraging Information Technology for Collaboration in Clinical Trials
O.K. Baek


19. The Evolution of Electronic Laboratory Notebooks
Keith T. Taylor

20. Collaborative Tools to Accelerate Neglected Disease Research: the Open Source Drug Discovery Model
Anshu Bhardwaj, Vinod Scaria, Zakir Thomas, Santosh Adayikkoth, Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) Consortium and Samir K. Brahmachari

21. Pioneering Use of the Cloud for Development of the Collaborative Drug Discovery (CDD) Database
Sean Ekins, Moses M. Hohman and Barry A. Bunin

22. Chemspider: a Platform for Crowdsourced Collaboration to Curate Data Derived From Public Compound Databases
Antony J. Williams

23. Collaborative Based Bioinformatics Applications
Brian D. Halligan

24. Collaborative Cheminformatics Applications
Rajarshi Guha, Ola Spjuth and Egon Willighagen


25. Collaboration Using Open Notebook Science in Academia
Jean-Claude Bradley, Andrew S.I.D. Lang, Steve Koch and Cameron Neylon

26. Collaboration and the Semantic Web
Christine Chichester and Barend Mons

27. A Collaborative Visual Analytics Environment for Imaging Genetics
Zhiyu He, Kevin Ponto and Falko Kuester

28. Current and Future Challenges for Collaborative Computational Technologies for the Life Sciences
Antony J. Williams, Renée J.G. Arnold, Cameron Neylon, Robin Spencer, Stephan Schürer and Sean Ekins

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Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Book Reviews, General Communications


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Copy of Beautiful Data Chapter Now Available Online

I’ve previously blogged about the book chapter I co-authored for a book about Beautiful Data. The book chapter is now available online at Scribd after being uploaded by Jean-Claude Bradley. Feel free to go take a gander.

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Posted by on July 28, 2009 in Book Reviews


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Beautifying Data in the Real World: Beautiful Data and O’Reilly

I was recently privileged to co-author a book chapter entitled “Beautifying Data in the Real World” in a book called Beautiful Data, available shortly from O’Reilly. The list of authors is likely known to readers interested in Open Data and Open Notebook Science: Jean-Claude Bradley, Rajarshi Guha, Andrew Lang, Pierre Lindenbaum, Cameron Neylon, Egon Willighagen and myself.

This was a great example of “distant collaboration”. We didn’t get on the phone to talk about the manuscript. We didn’t connect via a conferencing system. Cameron brought us together as a group of interested individuals, interested in contributing to a chapter regarding the work we’d done together on crowdsourced solubility measurements and handling of the data. We collaborated via a wiki with a few emails here and there. I believe the result speaks for itself. It’s an excellent article regarding “Beautifying Data in the Real World”.

The book can be pre-ordered here. I’ve browsed through some of the articles already and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by the contents of the book. The content is diverse “Join 39 contributors as they explain how they developed simple and elegant solutions on projects ranging from the Mars lander to a Radiohead video.”.

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Posted by on June 14, 2009 in Book Reviews


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Chemical Information Mining Book – A Moment of Pride

As I recall last Christmas I was finishing up a chapter in a book that is now on the market and called Chemical Information Mining. What’s amazing is that I just found that the first 21 pages are ALREADY on Google Books. I could’ve seen the cover there before waiting to receive a copy…hell I could’ve read UP to my Chapter…that’s where it stops.

The product description on Amazon is: “This book focuses on information extraction issues, highlights available solutions, and underscores the value of these solutions to academic and commercial scientists. After introducing the drivers behind chemical text mining, it discusses chemical semantics. The contributors describe the tools that identify and convert chemical names and images to structure-searchable information. They also explain natural language processing, name entity recognition concepts, and semantic web technologies. Following a section on current trends in the field, the book looks at where information mining approaches fit into the research needs within the life sciences.”

I’m rather proud of the contribution Andrey Yerin and I made to the book. I worked with Andrey while I was at ACD/Labs and learned all about nomenclature from him. He’s one of the nicest, most competent and focused specialists in the domain of systematic nomenclature in the world. The book chapter contents are listed below. Makes for good Xmas reading if you care about that type of thing…

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Posted by on December 18, 2008 in Book Reviews, Consulting


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