Gale eBooks cost MORE than print versions
- I thought a message that I sent to the Electronic Book Community
might be of interest to the members of this group. It is in
response to another message on the E-Book Community of Yahoo Groups
whose archives, like those of this combined discussion group and
weblog are public.
Responding to this message:
I found the comments in this message interesting. I agree that some of
the pricing models employed by the very strong companies in the
publishing and electronic publishing field are not seemingly fair.
Much ink has been expended about this and related issues on the
Library Libcensing (LIBLICENSE-L) discussion group moderated by Ann
Okerson out of Harvard University. Reading the archives of this list
might be useful for some of the members of this list to see the
controversial issues between libraries, publishers, aggregators and
Liblicense-L List Archives
Some publishers have a reputation in the journal publishing field for
some very large prices for their periodical publications, reading the
Liblicense list should disclose some of those.
Gale is part of a much larger resource and is unlikely to get out of
the electronic publishing field. Gale had some of its reference books
like the Encyclopedia of Associations on CDRom some years before the
end of the last millenium. Indeed this publication was available in
DIALOG, a searching service created in the early nineteen-seventies
by Lockheed and sold to Knight-Ridder around 1987 and then sold a
decade latter to MAID, as early as 1991 and probably earlier.
Increasingly GALE reference tools are being made available online
full text. Gale also owns as part of its division the database
product known as Infotrak which covers journal and magazine
literature in a range of fields with full text content online.
I use the word division in the above sentence because in more recent
times there has been a major change in a newspaper publisher in
Canada, Thompson. Thompson sold all of its Canadian newspapers except
the Globe and Mail to fund expansion of its resources in the databank
and database field. Thompson already owned Westlaw. They bought Gale
and with it Infortrak. MAID was not doing well with Dialog and its
Datastar subsidiary that Knight Ridder had purchased from Radio
Suisse. Thompson bought both of those subsidiaries from MAID. They
now also own the databases of the Institute for Scientific
Information which include Science, Social Science, and Arts and
Humanities Citation Indexes online.
Dialog List of Datbase Bluesheets by Database Title
If one browses the Dialog catalog, one will find a very substantial
number of full text databases including monographic publications
including some from its sister company Gale. The King James Bible, by
the way is Dialog File 297. Given the investment that Thompson has
made in Gale and in Dialog, I strongly suspect that Gale publications
in electronic format will not be disappearing from the computer
screens of paying customers any time soon. The Netlibrary contract
allows libraries to lease the Gale reference and perhaps other Gale
publications rather than pay by use and content viewed which would be
the case in the online searching model of DIALOG.
One mitigating factor in what libraries will pay for online content
from Gale and other high priced publishers is that many libraries
belong to consortia and these consortia may negotiate more favorable
contracts for their members for the use of these tools.
Another substantial problem faced by librarians who love that
wonderful smell of paper is that demand for books in print and online
is way down compared to the use of magazines and journals online
fulltext or in print, in part because the databases that are used on
the computer with a simulated smell of paper to keep us librarians
happy focus on periodical literature that is abstract or fulltext
searchable and leads clients to a list of articles rather than books
about their topic. Futhermore the use of search engines by students
and even serious professional researches who find some or a
significant portion of their content on a variety of web pages,
reduces the attention accorded to books by those seeking
information. Electronic and print books are both facing stiff
competition from other forms of print and electronic media.
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