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Re: Future of the "subscription model?"
- To: email@example.com
- Subject: Re: Future of the "subscription model?"
- From: Joseph Esposito <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2011 18:52:53 EST
- Reply-to: email@example.com
- Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick, I agree and disagree. You are absolutely correct that libraries cannot continue to put up with price increases. (I note that you call them "extortionate.") No argument with this at all. But you are talking as though publishers were a single entity. They are not. There are thousands of them (and the numbers keep growing). Furthermore, they do not compete with libraries. They compete with each other. It is true that if all publishers raised their prices, libraries could not pay the freight. But an individual publisher can raise a price and get away with it, provided that that publisher has materials that are central to a library's collection. To fund that purchase, a library will cancel another publisher's journal (we agree on that). But it's no skin off the nose of the publisher whose materials you continue to purchase. Heck, it's a win for that publisher because the publisher who lost out may exit the market. I am not defending or attacking this situation. I am simply trying to explain it. I have written about this before at the Scholarly Kitchen: http://j.mp/eEwmzo. The cries of librarians are unheeded because they don't affect the economics of the winning publisher. Of course, for a publisher to be a winner, whether with or without high prices, it takes an absolutely outstanding editorial program. This also raises the question of what libraries can do that would be effective, but it is clear in any event that complaining about the situation does not work, however warranted those complaints might be. Joe Esposito On Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 4:09 PM, Rick Anderson <email@example.com> wrote: >>If publishers detect a pattern in which subscriptions are >>cancelled and single-article sales are substituted for them, >>then the price of single articles will rise. > > Well, exactly. I fully expect publishers to do whatever they can > to continue realizing constantly-increasing revenues from their > library customers. It's only reasonable that they should do so, > especially given that they've been able to secure increasing > revenues every year for the past few decades. The problem is that > they're going to fail, because throughout those past decades, the > curves of library budgets (which have tended to increase annually > at low-single-digit rates) and journal prices (which have tended > to increase at rates of 9-10% per year) have been headed for an > inevitable and permanent divergence. Libraries have been warning > publishers about this since as long ago as the 1970s; the > standard response has been "Yeah, you keep saying there's a > pricing crisis, but then you renew all your subscriptions." Now > the divergence has come. Most of us can no longer redirect money > from other budget areas to cover extortionate subscription price > increases, so now we're cancelling, and some of us are doing so > in great chunks. Publishers (in the aggregate) aren't going to be > able to continue realizing annually-increasing revenues from > libraries anymore for the same reason that you can't realize > blood from a rock. Charging more for articles isn't going to help > publishers at all, because the money they want simply isn't there > to be had. > > --- > Rick Anderson > Assoc. Dean for Scholarly Resources & Collections > J. Willard Marriott Library > University of Utah > firstname.lastname@example.org >