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Journals Inflation (Albert Henderson) Marcia Tuttle 30 Jan 1996 15:17 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: 30 Jan 96 09:48:21 EST
From: Albert Henderson <>
Subject: Journals Inflation

Kathleen Thorne <KATHLEEN@SJSUVM1.BITNET> wrote:

> To take the same equation and turn it around the other way: does that mean
> if a publisher has a journal costing $1000, with a subscription list of 25
> libraries, and suddenly 25 MORE libraries subscribe, will that bring the
> price down to $500?  That seems only fair, if fewer subscriptions means a
> raise in price to cover costs... or will we still see a $1000 price, with
> the publisher simply making a lovely lot of lolly??

All else being equal, most publishers that I know (including the late
Robert Maxwell) would not hesitate to employ a price incentive to attract
more subscribers and to compete effectively. When a research specialty is
so hot that circulation doubles in a single year -- whether it's
computers, AIDS or organometallics -- a well-edited research journal will
also attract more papers, produce more pages, publish more frequently and
increase its price to accomodate increased production and administrative
costs. It's relatively easy to check this out by reviewing some backfiles.
A number of studies comparing price to production and inflation have been
published in the library literature indicate considerable consistency.