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RE: ALPSP statement on e-publishing.

Moore's law applies to computers, and empirical evidence seems to be
bearing it out.

I have heard of, however, no corollary nor seen any evidence that it also
applies to such supply factors as writing code and Document Type
Definitions (or editing and refining them when processes, content, special
fonts, and style require it), converting from desktop publishing output to
SGML or XML (NB: it may be different for most journal publishers, but the
vast majority of scholarly book publishers and authors do not start with
SGML and do not work in editing packages such as Framemaker), upgrading to
new applications to run Web publishing servers, adding new search
capabilities, adding new software to facilitate remote-user access,
overhauling Web sites to cope with imposed standards such as P3P, and
maintaining servers and software. (I won't insult anyone by adding "etc.,"
but I will admit to being lazy in not providing a comprehensive list.)

Electronic publishing initiatives take years to move into the black, and
while they are making that trek, the print analog is still required by
users. Unfortunately, Moore's law does not apply to the capacity of those
human beings and facilities tasked with continuing to deliver and house
that print.  Also, I suspect that the print analog to electronic
publishing will remain in demand for at least a few more generations, and
in general, professional and scholarly book publishers are still looking
for the magic blend of doing both, remaining profitable, and growing
sufficiently to attract the investment to keep at it.

There is a bit "more" to the economics of professional and scholarly
publishing, and I hope the ALPSP will elaborate on it in this thread.

Robert Bolick
Vice President, New Business Development
McGraw-Hill Professional
2 Penn Plaza, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10121
T.(212) 904-5934  F.5569  M. 646-431-8121

Chairman, AAP Copyright Committee
Treasurer, International DOI Foundation

-----Original Message-----
From: David Goodman [mailto:dgoodman@Princeton.EDU]
Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2002 9:09 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: ALPSP statement on e-publishing.

Chuck's comments are even more applicable when one realizes the decreasing
cost of computers and their accessories.  This is of course just Moore's
law, and it applies to all computer hardware, though storage is the most
dramatic example. This naturally is most dramatically shown in the
decreasing cost of storage. The one thing about cost that any publisher can
predict, is that the cost for storage of the material, and the computers
that host them, will decrease in the future. This is probably not true for
any other element of cost in their business.  Therefore, to the extent that
electronic publication replaces print, it will decrease publishers costs. To
the extent it supplements print, the extra expense will continually decrease

And it should be remembered that about 80 to 90% of the cost of a journal
occurs independently of the printing or distributions since the conversion
into reproducible format is now generally done in common for both means of
distribution. This is the cost of reviewing, editing, and conversion into
reproducible format, all important and necessary functions. It also covers
the costs of sales, advertising, promotion, executive and support salaries,
and so forth, which are of a somewhat lesser degree of importance.

Therefore, electronic publication does not affect at least 80% of the cost,
and decreases the other 20%.

What is expensive is the reliance upon outside consultants and vendors of
computer services; this becomes particularly expensive when the provider
fails to supply adequate service and must be replaced. This is an indication
that the publisher has not made competent plans; that it has invested in
obsolete rather the current equipment, and trained staff knowledgeable in
obsolete rather than current techniques. (I would say the same of any
library that outsourced basic computer functions.)

It is therefore particularly disappointing to read the arguments that Chuck
mentioned, which have been proven false quite a few years ago.

There are real problems in the publication industry. There are many areas
where libraries and publishers need to understand each other better. There
is potential for cooperation, and most of us are eager to do so. But when I
read a statement like this, I wonder whether it really is possible. If this
is representative, either the publishers have not yet learned enough to
understand, or they take us to be fools.

David Goodman
Princeton University