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RE: pricing questions

As a printer I just lurk and listen but I'm happy to be able to contribute
something that may be instructive on this issue of production cost. All of
the factors mentioned by Becky Kennison affect the cost, but the two that
have by far the most impact are number of copies printed and page count. I
will give an example, showing the costs of copy editing, typesettting,
prepress, printing, binding, and mailing (i.e., all production costs) for
an 8 1/2 x 11 inch fairly typical journal with a small amount of color in

200 pages, 1000 copies, total cost about $17,500.
200 pages, 10,000 copies, $35,000.

400 pages, 1000 copies, $26,000.
400 pages, 10,000 copies, $56,000.

(Interesting that going from 1000 to 10,000 approximately doubles the total 
cost for this example journal, because first copy costs are high and extra 
copy costs are low. The incremental cost of extra copies between 1000 and 
10,000 is basically linear.)

Annual cost for the 200 page journal 1000 print run if monthly is $210,000 
or about $210.00 per subscriber.
Annual cost 200 pages 10,000 run is $420,000 or about $42.00 per subscriber.

Annual cost 400 pages 1000 run is $312,000 or $312.00 per.
Annual cost 400 pages 10,000 run is $672,000 or $67.00 per.

Of course there are other costs besides production. Some of these are 
subsidized for society published journals by the volunteers who do the peer 
review, editing, sometimes fulfillment, etc., although our recent 
experience at Allen Press suggests that volunteers are less willing to do 
these things than they used to be.

These numbers verify that decreases in the print run can indeed 
dramatically increase the unit cost and vice versa. Since publishers have 
to cover costs, cancellations in significant numbers naturally contribute 
to higher subscription prices, in a sort of vicious circle.

An inference is that for longer run journals switching from print to 
electronic might save as much as 60 or 70 per cent of the production cost. 
However for shorter run journals given that first copy costs are very high 
you might save only 25 or 30 per cent. This may improve if some of the 
first copy costs can be reduced or eliminated by making the peer review, 
editing and typesetting activities more electronic, like the physics guys 
have done. But then that puts all of us out of business, doesn't it?

Guy Dresser
Allen Press, Inc.

At 10:54 AM 9/25/99 -0400, you wrote:
>I feel I should point out that there are several factors that contribute
>to production costs, beyond the number of copies that are printed, which
>makes a difference as well, of course, that make comparing one journal to
>another rather like comparing apples to oranges:
>The trim size
>The number of pages per issue/volume
>The weight and type of paper stock
>The covers (number of colors, artwork, coatings, etc.)
>The number of color figures
>The number of halftones and other figures
>The number of tables
>What the per-page typesetting costs are
>What printer is being used
>How the journal is being shipped
>How many ROW subscribers there are (more expensive to ship)
>and probably several things I've not mentioned here. All of this makes it
>quite difficult to run a cost comparison between one journal and the next.
>My two-cents' worth . . .
>Best regards,
>Becky Kennison
>Becky Kennison
>Production Editor
>Blackwell Publishers
>350 Main Street
>Malden, Massachusetts 02148
>E-mail: bkenn@blackwellpub.com
>Tel.: 781-388-0433
>FAX: 781-388-0533
>Blackwell homepage: