Monday, November 19, 2007

More Publication?

Chuck Jones of the Blegen Library at the American School in Athens left a comment to my post on publication trends. He usefully points to some encouraging developments in terms of institutions taking responsibility for digital publication of their own content.

I spoke of trends pointing in the wrong direction. With Chuck's comment in mind, I'll now rephrase and say we're probably closer to a tipping point than I implied. Here's more evidence of that. David Brown Books quoted me USD 200.00 for Catherine Abadie-Reynal's recent volume on the ceramics of Argos. That's a ridiculous amount and I look to basic economic self-interest on the part of libraries to be part of the solution to these high prices.

[As an aside, if you don't want to be tempted to spend such sums, don't read Chuck's posts about new acquisitions in Athens.]

To put it another way, what will lead to more scholarly impact? Continuing to publish at ever higher prices? Or using technology to cut out the cost of distribution. See this pot from Aphrodisias for an example of the latter. [HT: Gabriel Bodard]

1 comment:

Charles Ellwood Jones said...

Some weeks ago in Lexington, Sebastian and I had a conversation about how seldom reviewers mention the price of a book, especially when it makes the book essentially unaffordable. I alway find it ironic when a book costing nearly EUR 1000, and therefore out of range for purchase by almost every individual and institution, is said to be the most important work on a subject. That kind of pricing forces an uncomfortable irrelevance. Can we recruit reviewers to denounce publishers for price gouging?