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RE: ALPSP statement on e-publishing.


Do you have data showing that top notch kick ass (etc.etc.)IT professional
has got cheaper?  A survey done a couple of years ago by Claire Greenhalgh
in this dept at Loughborough University, for the UK government's
Department of Trade and Industry, showed that supply of appropriately
multiskilled staff at reasonable wages was one of the most important
constraints on growth of the electronic publishing industry.

While the collapse of dot.coms and the economic aftermath of 11 September
may have put a few of these paragons back on to the labour market, they
can still command salaries well in excess of those paid by publishers in
pre-electronic days (it's not a high-wage sector of the economy
traditionally).  Recent surveys of the impact of electronic publishing on
both publishers and librariues show that it increases the need for senior,
high-skill professionals and replaces lower-skill, lower wage clerical
labour used in the days of print (a survey that I did for the Association
of Subscription Agents in Nov-Dec 2001 showed this).

So I am inclined to agree with Bob.

Fytton Rowland.

Quoting "Bolick, Bob" <Bob_Bolick@mcgraw-hill.com>:

> 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 would.
> 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.
> BobB