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RE: ALPSP statement on e-publishing.

Hi, Eric--

Better check with the MIT Econ crowd on the reality of productivity
increases due to technology -- particularly as applied to information
creation and processing industries -- in the last 20 years.  Not
statistically significant.  (We just think we're more productive.)  Also,
the trend on salaries and outsource rates in the last 5-6 years (the
immediately applicable period) is not in the direction you suggest -- at
least according to the InformationWeek and ComputerWorld surveys.  The
dotcom bomb still has not driven down the prices as much as you'd think it

Change the business model?  In response to the promise of "Sounds Good
Maybe Later" technology?  I agree with you on the need to focus on cost
reduction, too bad it hasn't shown up yet from that quarter.

Market adoption of digital product is still glacial (also applies in
spades to the market for repurposed content, that other over-hyped promise
from the SGML/XML community), and for most book publishers, it still does
not represent a significant enough stream of revenue relative to the
inordinate incremental cost.  That, in turn, puts an upward pressure on
prices, as we saw with the CD debacle in the mid-90s.

Nevertheless, we will slog on.  It's still fun trying to get it right.


-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Hellman [mailto:eric@openly.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 6:38 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: RE: ALPSP statement on e-publishing.


Considering that the salary you need to pay a top-notch kick-ass
sgml-dtd-writing, P3P-overhauling, server maintaining,
desktop-publishing-converting professional human being is perhaps half of
what it was a year or two ago, I'll put McGraw-Hill down for a 15%
cost-efficiency improvement this year;-}

But more seriously, you touch on an interesting point which relates to
changing business models in the midst of technological change.  Also known
as the trying-to-turn-a-battleship-on-a-dime problem. But it seems to me
that an electronic publishing initiative that takes years to move into the
black is an electronic publishing initiative that is not focusing enough on
cost reduction.

Eric Hellman