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Re: Monopolies in publishing

> "Joseph J. Esposito" <espositoj@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
> Oh, Chuck, I'm sorry, but you are wrong here.  The savings are
> substantial. They show up in Elsevier's outsized profit.  There is little
> incentive for Elsevier to pass these savings onto customers.  By and large
> the use of electronic processes is irrelevant to the cost issues.  The
> real costs for publishing companies is in staff and the space to house
> them.  Consolidation results in layoffs and higher profits.  I am not
> defending the practice, merely explaining it.

Are Elsevier's large profits the result of their raising the price every
year in an effort to squeeze out every penny they can? Bleeding out the
profit before they are forced to discontinue the journals? That's a theory
I've heard before, and it makes some sense to me.

I have had discussions with some people who think that Elsevier believes
the print business model is going to be dead very soon (say within a
decade), and that they need to build up their revenue base in order to
expand in other directions (like their Science Direct system).  Again, on
the surface this seems like a reasonable theory to me.

I've read some very interesting announcements, I think they were from from
University of Wisconsin librarians, about how Elsevier forces bundles of
journals with mostly marginal content, and only a few gems.  I recall
reading announcements that large bundles of content were being dropped
because the libraries thought the price vs. value ratio was outragous, and
was unacceptable to their budget.

Finally, I'm curious about the statement that economy of scale works
with the items I had discussed in my previous email.  I know how it
works w/re to mass production in industry, or w/re to automation of
electronic publishing systems, but I don't know how it would work w/re to
the QA process, to FedExing documents all over the world, etc. Are there
publically available hard numbers you've referenced or have written up?