Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Insight Into a Failing Business Model

If you want some sense of the absurdity of the current pricing model of scholarly journals you need look no further than a recent email I received from Taylor and Francis after I inquired about buying an issue of one of their journals:

The single issue price for 'Soccer and Society,' Issue Numbers 1-2 is:

Institutional Rate: $200

Personal Rate:$60

Yes, you read that correctly. For one issue (and yes, it appears to be a "double issue," but seriously now) of a journal of which you have probably never heard (and that I was only vaguely aware existed) they want to charge an individual $60. I can live with higher institutional rates, though journals have skyrocketed those costs as well, passing the expense on to rich institutions, yes, but also pricing less rich institutions -- which is to say, the vast majority of institutions -- out of the market.

And I guess this pricing model is an ingenious idea because Routledge has actually turned the double issue into a book. And is selling it for $125. Because apparently they want no one reading their journals and books. Cunning.

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