Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This is not scholarship for the people

Another overpriced academic tome. Why do we even continue with this charade of a publishing industry?


Mickyd said...

This looks good though.


Radagast said...

Not scholarship for the people? It's a book by an academic at St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (NY), apparently addressing one of the fundamental points of contention with Oriental Orthodox churches. I'm not sure of the practical applications, but I'm sure they exist, in certain parts of the world.

Seumas Macdonald said...

Sure, but why do we keep producing books that only libraries can afford to buy? If people genuinely wanted their works to be widely read, wouldn't they refuse to deal with publishers who are going to sell their works at such ridiculously inflated prices? Behr probably won't make a cent from this volume, so it's hardly the cost of writing it. It's certainly not the cost of publishing a book that brings a $240 price tag. It's an artificial mechanism.

Radagast said...

I agree that only libraries can afford $240, and not many libraries either. But that doesn't mean OUP is profiteering: their costs are actually quite high. To get costs down, the author needs to do more of the typesetting work (e.g. by using templates). Print-on-demand (e.g. http://epress.anu.edu.au/calvin_citation.html) cuts prices too. E-books, of course, even more so.

However, universities tend to still value the higher-cost traditional publishers, which puts a degree of pressure on academics to stick with them. Much the same problem occurs with journals. Changing such preconceptions will take time.