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Rick, your arithmetic only works if the cost of the personal and library
subscription are the same, and if the cost of the personal subscription
were sufficient to actually pay for more than the true costs. If, as is
more likely to be the case, the library price in your example were $700,
the publisher would have to sell 10 more to make the same revenue, and
would also have to pay for producing 10 more copies. Why the publisher
does need the personal subscriptions, as I thought we all knew, is the
associated advertising revenue.  But the high priced library subscriptions
is where the profit comes from. The art is in balancing these sources of
income. There's no universal formula, and we've seen that a variety of
approaches are acceptable. But not all.

Rick Anderson wrote:
> > Libraries "giving it [NEJM] away for free" does not necessarily equate to
> > less subscriptions for NEJM or any other journal.
> It doesn't necessarily in theory, but in practice it almost certainly
> does. An active life scientist without easy access to a librray copy of
> Nature would, I'd imagine, be more likely to shell out $70 for an
> individual subscription than one who does have such access.  Again, the
> arithmetic is simple: If my institution has 11 Nature subscriptions on
> campus, 10 held by individual researchers and one held by the library, and
> the library cancels its subscription, the publisher breaks even if only
> one additional researcher subscribes on his own.  If two or more subscribe
> on their own due to the library's cancellation, the publisher comes out
> ahead.  (This becomes a less likely scenario as the journal gets more
> expensive, of course.)
> I'm not presenting this as a desirable arrangement.  I'm just pointing out
> that a publisher acts rationally when it encourages individual
> subscriptions rather than shared subscriptions.  It seems to me that this
> is self-evident, but then, this list is nothing if not a forum for the
> fierce denial of that which is self-evident.
> -------------
> Rick Anderson
> Director of Resource Acquisition
> The University Libraries
> University of Nevada, Ren