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Re: Price increase reports for online resources BLACK, STEVE 15 Jan 2008 17:28 UTC

Re: the difficulty in determining market-wide price increases for online
packages, Anna Creech wrote, in part:

"often the price varies from institution to institution, and not
necessarily based on FTE or Carnegie rankings. Also, license agreements
prohibit institutions from sharing that information. One major science
journal publisher has already seen this cash cow and is switching
for their ejournals from being based on the print price to being based
some weird combination of rankings and use."

A different way to look at this has been provided by the economist Hal
R. Varian, "Differential Pricing and Efficiency", First Monday v.1,no.2,
August 1996, online at He argues that the
most efficient way to price online resources is to extract the full
willingness to pay from each customer. Since willingness to pay varies
by individual library, the economically optimal way to price resources
is to negotiate a price with each individual customer.

I'm not arguing for Varian's point of view, just pointing out a
perspective publishers may take into account. If one takes Varian to
heart, the best way to counteract price increases is to lower
institutions' willingness to pay and be tough negotiators.

Steve Black
Reference, Serials, and Instruction Librarian
Neil Hellman Library
The College of Saint Rose
392 Western Ave.
Albany, NY 12203
(518) 458-5494