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RE: Question about open access and print

Like National Academies Press we're doing fine as well. We sold
18% more printed books last year and our online books library
delivered 20% more downloads to subscribing institutions. Like
NAP we also make our books available for free, but also like NAP
the free service has restrictions. (In our case we don't allow
copying or printing; NAP only allows page-by-page viewing. In
both cases if you want to download the complete,
fully-functional, e-book you have to pay).

I should also point out that last year we had a good crop of new
books, thanks to a lot of editorial effort during 2003-2004. The
best results and most gains came from the books that emerged from
this work. I wonder if the same is true for NAP? We also made a
lot of sales thanks to special marketing efforts to the networks
that work closely with our authors.

On the other hand, I know of other not-for-profits (mainly in the
United Nations family) that have allowed open-access for their
e-books (i.e. users can take-away a fully functional e-book) only
to see their revenues fall catastrophically.

It seems that free online browsing/restricted access (as also
offered by Google Books and Amazon) can help keep books alive,
but good editorial work is fundamental. Full open access seems to
cause problems.

Toby Green
Head of Dissemination and Marketing
OECD Publishing
Public Affairs and Communications Directorate
http://www.SourceOECD.org  - our award-winning e-library
http://www.oecd.org/OECDdirect  - our new title alerting service
+33 1 45 24 94 15 (phone)/ 53 (fax)
2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16, France

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of John McDonald
Sent: 05 March, 2006 9:57 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: RE: Question about open access and print

National Academies Press' has claimed since 2001 that providing=20
free online versions of their books has had a positive impact on=20
print sales. As far as I know there haven't been any definitive=20
economic impact studies on the issue though.



-----Original Message-----
[owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Joseph J. Esposito
Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2006 3:39 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: Question about open access and print

David's reply is from the point of view of the librarian.  The=20
publisher's perspective is different, but the outcome is not=20
necessarily at odds with the librarian's.

For a publisher (or the vendor of any product or service) the=20
term of art is "channel conflict."  This conflict occurs when the=20
sale of something in one form or venue undermines its sale in=20
another. Sometimes multiple channels and forms can be mutually=20
supportive, sometimes not.  The classic case of this is the fear=20
of yesteryear on the part of book publishers, who believed that=20
feature films would undercut the sale of a book; of course we now=20
know the opposite to be true for these particular channels and=20
forms.  On the other hand, tickets for theatrical releases now=20
appear to be declining because of the widespread availability of=20
DVDs and wide-screen TVs.  So there is an art to determining when=20
channel conflict will occur, and vendors don't always get this=20
right.  Some publishers continue to license journals to=20
aggregators like EBSCO and Gale, but there have been some=20
high-profile defections recently, which were likely driven by=20
channel conflict.

This can indeed have large implications for Open Access.  To the=20
originating publisher (that is, the organization that financed=20
the creation of the intellectual property--the Elseviers, the=20
Wileys of the world) OA is simply another channel.  It can in=20
some instances enhance the sale of toll-based publications (which=20
is probably mostly the case today in the STM journals world), and=20
it can in some instances cannibalize those sales (in my view the=20
inevitable outcome of OA, for which reason no publisher with=20
financial responsibility should support OA in any form or to any=20
degree, as its cumulative effect is pernicious).  But, again,=20
this is an art, and not everyone will share Richard Feinman's=20
publisher's judgment.

Some will criticize Richard Feinman's publisher for being
short-sighted and mercenary, but, romantic that I am, I prefer to
think of this publisher as visionary and mercenary.  Like the
individual who declines to purchase an SUV to safeguard future
generations from global warming, this publisher is working to
ensure the capital base for scholarly communications.

Joe Esposito