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And now for something completely different

In the midst of all the discussion about pricing and access rights, etc.,
I was, well, astonished to be made aware of the just announced approach of
British publisher Dorling Kindersley. Of course, these are books (and
particular kind of books as well) while our discussion focuses primarily
on journal issues; the differences are significant. Still, the orientation
and approach of this commercial publisher is unique, as far as I know.
Imagine -- a publisher who's not concerned about wholesale printing of the
online material they're offering free of charge "because the cost of
printer cartridges is extremely high." Hmmm. There's a thought. Heck,
there's also that pesky binding problem and keeping all those darn pages
together too. This approach is also interesting in what it says about the
(perceived) value of print vs. online (today).
A summary of the story that I got is attached below. I couldn't figure out
an effective link to the web site but if you want to read the whole story
just connect to http://www.ft.com <http://www.ft.com> and do a site search
on 'dorling'. You'll get it.

Dorling Kindersley, a educational book and CD-ROM publisher, says it's
planning to put all of its material online, allowing customers to view
entire books online before they decide whether to purchase. The move
signals the bookseller's attempt to replicate the experience of shopping
in a bricks-and-mortar bookstore: "People want to be able to look inside
books just as they would in a store," says Alan Buckingham, managing
director of Dorling Kindersley Online. The company hopes to have 10% of
its holdings online by January. Executive Chairman Peter Kindersley
acknowledges that customers could print out the pages they need rather
than buy the entire text, but says that risk is small in comparison to the
benefits of brand awareness: "It is highly unlikely someone will print out
a whole book because the cost of printer cartridges is extremely high."
(Financial Times 15 Sep 99)

David Carlson, Director of Libraries
Maxwell Library, Bridgewater State College
Bridgewater, MA 02325
Email: dcarlson@bridgew.edu <mailto:dcarlson@bridgew.edu> 
Voice: 508/531-1256
Fax: 508/531-1349