[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: Changing the game


I'm responding on two points:

1. why is batch printing retained?

Demand for print editions tends to be bunched towards the
beginning of a book's life before tailing off. We still have many
standing orders for new books and we also pre-publicise books to
build up other orders; so all these are fulfilled on day one and
necessitate batch printing whichever technology is used. Then, we
like to have stock on hand to cope with the initial flow of
orders that come in over the next few weeks. Once stocks are
exhausted we switch over to print-on-demand. So batch printing
(regardless of technology used) will be with us for a while yet.
The key is to estimate the size of the first batch correctly -
which is nothing new!

2. OA stimulates print sales. Not in our experience.

We post all our books onto Google Books where they are 100%
accessible for free. We also post read-only PDF versions on our
online bookshop for free downloading. The latter service was
launched in 1998, the former in 2005. In each case we're getting
a lot of viewings. In the case of Google we're on track for 2
million book visits this year, with ~20 million pages viewed. In
the case of our read-only PDFs we're looking at 500,000 downloads
this year. In both cases the growth this year is around 100%
compared with last - so visibility and awareness of our books is
increasing fast.

What's the effect on print sales? The downward trend we've seen
over the past decade continues. Thankfully, we launched a
subscription-based e-Library (SourceOECD) combining our e-books,
few e-journals, working papers and databases in 2001. Revenues
from our e-platform, now called OECD iLibrary, will be ~65% of
all revenues this year. By contrast, sales of printed books will
be no more than 22% of our revenues this year. Like many
University Presses in the US, we're a not-for-profit
institutional publisher in the social sciences and have to stand
on our own feet financially. If we hadn't launched our e-platform
but had relied on OA to drive print sales, I reckon we'd be out
of business by now.

Toby Green

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Guedon Jean-Claude
Sent: 08 October, 2009 8:20 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: RE: Changing the game

A little belatedly - I am on the road again -, I would like to
respond to Sandy's interesting remarks.

The CDN$ 8,000 subsidy to Canadian university press does not
cover the whole cost. It was never meant to cover the whole cost,
and if my earlier reference to this programme led Sandy (and
perhaps others) to think that it did, then I must not have
expressed myself as unambiguously as I should have. The programme
allows young scholars to compete for these funds to get a book
published. They can do it in two ways: either applying directly
to the programme or, once provisionally accepted by the press,
applying together with the press. The majority of authors follow
the second path for reasons that should be fairly obvious: being
backed by a press gives added weight to the request.

The costs mentioned by Sandy are, of course, of the highest
interest. What puzzles me a little is that, in 2005, John B.
Thompson in Books in the Digital Age seemed to indicate that,
already, the cost of printing on demand was cheaper for up to 300
copies than using batch production. Four years later, these PoD
costs must be even a little lower. Why is batch retained?

The Canadian subsidies programme is not directly related to OA
although I argued (when I was VP of the Canadian Federation for
the Humanities and Social Sciences) that the use of public money
would justify placing older, out-of-print volumes in electronic
OA Prior agreements with outfits such as e-brary seem to be in
the way, or at least this is what I was told by some people
connected with some of these presses. Some of them added that
"out-of-print" was an obsolete conmcept... No comment!

In my opinion, based on what I hear from sources such as HSRC in
South Africa, ANU Press in Australia, Athbasca in Canada, etc.
books in OA in the electronic format tend to stimulate the sales
of paper. I know tht I bought my copy of Benkler's Wealth of
Networks after having browsed at length through the electronic
copy that is available on the Net. For this reason, I continue to
think that this trend will ultimately develop.

Going back to experiments like OAPEN, despite the irate comments
of a member of this list. It will be interesting to see how the
European presses involved are going to evolve new products. Some
very interesting innovations may emerge thanks to the leeway
granted to these presses by that grant. I know I will be
monitoring these very closely and with great interest.

Jean-Claude Guedon