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RE: Wellcome Trust report

A colleague of mine has spent the last two years setting up a medical
library in Nepal.  Her Internet access was unreliable enough that
electronic only is simply not a viable option -- she HAS to have print
until the third world telecommunications infrastructure has stabilized.

One of my Associate Directors has been serving as an advisor to a library
in Ghana -- same situation.  When he was there he could possibly email me
once a week, depending on whether or not the satellite phone was working.

I'm typing this on my laptop, sitting on my couch, connected via my
in-home, high-speed, wireless network.  It's easy to forget that much of
the world still does not have the kind of access that we tend to take for
granted. If a publisher is trying to serve a global market, it will be
required to supply print for customers in many parts of the world for some
years to come.  The problem is not that these folks ain't got religion;
they ain't got infrastructure. (Pardon my Alabamese...)

As the other posters on this thread have pointed out, as long as a
publisher has to provide SOME print, it can't reduce the fixed costs.
However, I wonder, for those of you who have access to the figures --
suppose you quit supplying print to customers in western Europe and North
America -- while that wouldn't eliminate your fixed costs, surely it would
reduce the marginal costs a great deal?  While the cost of each individual
additional copy is negligible, isn't there a point, in the aggregate,
where it starts to turn into real money?

T. Scott Plutchak
Director, Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham

-----Original Message-----
From: Joseph J. Esposito [mailto:espositoj@worldnet.att.net] 
Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 2004 7:37 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: Wellcome Trust report

There are literally thousands of publishers of various stripes that would
give their right arms to drop print, but their customers won't let them.
Believe me, print is a pain in the neck; it's almost as much trouble as
negotiating with 25-year-old tattooed and body-pierced developers.  The
problem with eliminating print is, as Sally says, that it's a binary game:
all or nothing.  The fixed costs of print don't get reduced one penny when
one customer opts for electronics.  And think of the relatively poor
success of the electronic-only journals (compared to journals that also
have the print option, that is).  This is not a case of publishers ramming
something down the throat of librarians but of a marketplace that has not
yet got religion.

Yrs in spirit.

Joe Esposito