Publishing (was Marlow books (was Childhood favourites))

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at
Tue Feb 18 05:55:38 EST 2003

Jacob wrote:
> >it's one of those issues that makes me despise publishers.  And a
> >motivation to want to show them up because they are so poorly run.

Margaret wrote:
> There was an extremely funny column in Locus about 10 years back, 
> purporting to be a report on the American publishing industry by an 
> alien life form from another world who'd been sent to spy on them. At 
> the end of the column the spy was dragged out and executed because it 
> was obvious to his interlocutors that he had to be making the whole 
> thing up, NOBODY would do business that way!

Ooh, publishers make my palms itch. Academic journal publishers have profits
that trade publishers would kill for. They have the dream business model...
they don't pay their authors (because academics need to publish), they often
don't pay the journal editors (because it's an honour to edit a journal),
they get copyright of valuable information, and best of all, the customers
can't decide not to buy their product (if we stopped taking Nature because
it's obscenely expensive, 1500 academics would complain because they have to
keep up with the literature.) They have been putting prices up by 10-20
percent a year for the last 20 years. Library budgets have *not* been going
up to match, funnily enough, in fact most of us have had cuts ranging from
moderate to slashing. So we take stick from the end users for cancelling
journals because we can't afford all the subscriptions we used to take, let
alone get all the wonderful new journals that start up every year. And then
the publishers say "well, we *have* to put up prices, with all these
cancellations we aren't making enough money..."
And to put the funny hat on it, half of them have "customer service" that
make banks look user-friendly. Ptooie!
(Sorry, the button got pressed and the rant came out. Would you like to know
what I think of electronic journal licencing practices? <g> )
My opinions do not reflect the official opinions of Imperial College. I in
no way suggest that many librarians share my views, or that if you whisper
the name of a large  publisher to a sleeping librarian they will wake with a
terrible scream.
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