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Re: eBooks in Libraries a Thorny Problem, Says Macmillan CEO

Usage based pricing only provides a disincentive to use if the 
price is paid by the user. Viewed from the provider side, it 
provides exactly the right incentives- you should want providers 
to make resources that users want to use. The trick, of course is 
how to control the top-line of the budget.

On Mar 29, 2010, at 6:22 PM, Heather Morrison wrote:

> The trouble with usage-based pricing with respect to knowledge is
> that it inevitably provides a disincentive to use.
> If e-books are sold to libraries on a usage basis, then one way
> for a cash-strapped university to save money is to discourage
> use, for example by not allowing walk-in users rights to access
> e-books, or limiting the number of e-books an undergraduate
> student can access.
> Usage-based pricing can be useful when we are dealing with
> resources that are of necessity limited in nature:  electricity,
> gas, photocopies in the library.  But this makes no sense, and is
> counter- productive, when applied to scholarly knowledge in
> electronic form. Here, reducing dissemination decreases the value
> of the resource.
> Selected experiments may have limited generalizability.  A
> library that would support walk-in and unlimited use with
> usage-based pricing might well be more willing to share the
> results of an experiment, than a library with significant
> budgetary problems that would feel compelled to limit usage.
> Also, the pressure to limit usage might not be seen in an
> experimental situation, but only after such a model was in
> widespread use.
> For a broader treatment of this topic, see my book chapter, "The
> implications of usage statistics as an economic factor in
> scholarly communications", available through E-LIS at:
> http://eprints.rclis.org/4889/
> Heather Morrison, MLIS
> http://pages.cmns.sfu.ca/heather-morrison/

Eric Hellman
President, Gluejar, Inc.
41 Watchung Plaza, #132
Montclair, NJ 07042