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RE: Does free lead to paid?

Sandy Thatcher wrote:

I'm with you 100%. We just have to figure out a business model to 
make publishing scholarly monographs OA economically feasible. A 
number of publishers are now experimenting.


This is very welcome news, and I wish all the best to Romance 
Studies and all the other publishers with such experiments. 
>From my perspective, libraries should get involved in supporting 
these efforts.  If it makes sense for us to pool funds to 
purchase subscriptions, it will make even more sense in the long 
run to pool funds to produce books that are then available to 

Here is a thought:  local print-on-demand centres able to offer 
rapid printing and delivery or pick-up at trade-book prices.  I 
think I have heard of an experiment at a university bookstore 
along these lines, although I can't remember where it was.  This 
may not work for all books, e.g. art books, but it would for 

Trade-book pricing for print should be doable for academic works 
with ubiquitous open access distribution.  It strikes me as 
rather obvious that this would be a very great deal more 
efficient than marketing (and mailing) a couple hundred copies 
around the globe for sales. This would also be much faster 
distribution, and better for the environment than shipping books 

This system would easily lend itself to equitable pricing, as the 
actual printing and mailing, wherever you are, would be paid for 
in the local currency at local rates.  If publishers were to 
charge royalties adjusted for local GDP, this could be a truly 
equitable system.

Of course, this requires a widespread system of print-on-demand 
book printing operations.  Could existing printing outfits 
reconfigure to work in this manner?  Currently, we are printing 
books in London and shipping them to San Francisco for sale, and 
vice versa, are we not? Surely, we can do better?

As a teacher, I would be more likely to order books if I could be 
certain that the library would receive them, and at the speed 
that I am thinking of.

As a student, I love the ready availability of e-books, but make 
it easy and reasonably cheap for me to order print, and my 
personal print collection would definitely grow.

As an author, I am confident that an approach like this would be 
optimum for both dissemination of my book, well-deserved revenue 
for my publisher, and royalties for me, too.


Heather Morrison, MLIS
The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics