on demand textbook publishing [was Re: [FoRK] Sony's 2nd gen ebook reader site]

Luis Villa luis.villa
Fri Jan 6 14:37:02 PST 2006


On 1/6/06, Ken Meltsner <meltsner at alum.mit.edu> wrote:
> The big issue will be price.  It always is.  Publishers will insist on
> receiving nearly the same revenue from the electronic version even
> though they can add "features" like expiration of content (no more
> competition from used book sales!).  Some of the accounting figures
> I've seen indicate that creating and dealing with "real" books is not
> that big a deal -- printing and binding might be a few dollars per
> copy for a textbook retailing for $50 unless the press run is
> ridiculously small.

Just as a data point, when I saw R. Preston McAfee had published his
intro to econ textbook (352 pages) under a CC license I suggested he
publish it at lulu.com. It was available the next day for $11.60 plus
shipping, which he said was less than he'd been paying to get it
printed at the local copy shop. So the economics of book publishing
(particularly low print run textbooks) are soon going to be upended
anyway, I think.

Luis



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