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Antw: RE: pricing questions

I, too, have been a quiet observer on this list for several months. Now, I
will add some comments to the informative contribution of Guy Dresser.

I wish to remind the readers that the early phases of production (i.e,
copy editing, typesetting, and prepress) must still be executed whether
the journal goes to print or goes online. Prinitng, binding, and mailing
constitute a comparatively small portion of the overall production costs.
Publishing in both print and online (as we and many publishers do) drives
up the per unit cost of the journal by creating additional expenses on the
electronic production side.  Believe it or not, production costs increase
for the publisher. However, the costs are spread out over different areas,
namely more labor hours in editing and layout departments and less in the
shipping department.

Per unit costs increase, because we are producing 2 end products. We
cannot simply produce the e-version of a journal, because the demand for
exclusively online media has not reached that point in the market. Who
knows if it ever will? One way to try to recoup these costs is to increase
the number of subscribers using electronic distribution channels. The
potential for the dissementation of information on the Internet is a
magnitude of large proportion and cannot be ignored, even if some readers
still cling to their hard copy - which is also very important for
researchers, archivists and printing companies(!) alike.

I am excited about the future of publishing and look forward to innovative
solutions that serve those that produce, read, and store publications.

Best regards,
Sharon Mattern

Sharon Mattern, Internet Services Department
S. Karger AG
Allschwilerstrasse 10
CH-4009 Basel, Switzerland
E-mail: s.mattern@karger.ch
Website: http://www.karger.com

>>> Guy Dresser <gdresser@allenpress.com> 09/28 4:45 am >>>
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.