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pricing questions: perspective from a publisher

Since I joined this very lively list server, I have shared some of the
thought-provoking messages with my boss, the CEO of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
publishers. Mary Ann has asked me to send this message to the list.

Tom Mulak, VP, Electronic Journals Program, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

I don't know how many subscriptions there are to Brain Research, but I can
tell you that every publisher would be thrilled to have a journal like
that. Libraries will continue to take it regardless of any price hike,
which is absolutely astounding to me.  Its publisher knows very well that
they can do whatever they please in terms of pricing because although they
may lose some subscriptions, the journal's price increase will ensure more

	Pricing journals is a difficult issue and I'd love your input.  
For instance, some publishers, in pricing their on-line journals, are
making the policy that the library must take all of them.  Personally, I
would think that librarians would prefer to select them, journal by
journal.  However, if libraries seem to capitulate to "you must take all",
then it sends us a strong message that we should follow suit.

	  What do you think?

	  Recently, by the way, I was perusing Marcel Dekker's website and
I was astonished at the library subscription rates.  Obviously libraries
must be paying these prices, even though they are staggering.

	Societies have this tremendous advantage of a not-for-profit tax
status which provides significant savings.  They then use their money for
all sorts of other perks like magnificent headquarters (you probably know
about the New England Journal of Medicine move and the recent resignation
of their editor in chief).  Because of all of their tax advantages and the
strong subsidy that comes from membership dues, societies can price
journals attractively.

	Highly specialized journals often make an important contribution
to the field as well as the literature, but because they have a small but
critical readership, they do tend to be more expensive.  Still I believe
publishers have responsibility to price them so that they recover costs,
make some profit, but do not gouge the librarian.  I hope we are doing
just that.

	Look forward to your comments. 
	  Mary Ann Liebert, president,
	Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (www.liebertpub.com)