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Volume 19, No. 1: Economics of PublishingCurrent Issue – Summer 2016

When I was new to managing publishing enterprises, more years ago than I will list at this point, I was quick to task my staff with earnest managerial questions like “so how much is this costing us?” and of course the inevitable corollary “and how do we make it cheaper?” They were quick to respond with equally earnest and appropriate questions and comments of their own such as: “what counts as a cost?” and “for what quality of work?” and, of course, “it depends.” We counted hours, we counted materials, we juggled numbers for in-house and out-sourced production and pondered whether to include the cost of office space bandwidth provided by our parent institution. As I barely scraped through my undergraduate economics class, even more years earlier, I had heartily embraced the characterization of economics as the dismal science. As a publishing professional acutely concerned with financial accounting, and reckoning, I concluded publishing economics was the gloomiest science of all.

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Determining the Financial Cost of Scholarly Book Publishing

Scott Smart, Charles Watkinson, Gary Dunham, and Nicholas Fitzgerald

Establishing a framework to catalog and understand costs with monograph publication.

Developing a granular methodology to account for the true costs of monograph publication.

Would a shift to an author subvention model alleviate the free rider problem?

This short book is required reading for those working in scholarship, libraries, university presses, or digital publishing.

From the Archives: Economics of Publishing

In addition to the new articles featured in Vol. 19.1, below we are highlighting past contributions to understanding the economics of publishing, including an entire issue published in 1998.

What might new business models for culture and creativity look like? From Volume 17, Issue 1 (2014).

What happens to books sales when digital versions are given away? From Volume 13, Issue 1 (2010).

Cost savings for journal article production. From Volume 11, Issue 2 (2008).

Do we publishers exaggerate when we say it is becoming too expensive to publish monographs? From Volume 4, Issue 1 (1998).

1998 special issue featuring original articles and reprints on digital publishing costs, advertising, e-journals, websites, newspapers, and more.