COLLECTION SALES: GOOD OR BAD FOR JOURNALS?

Authors

  • MARK ARMSTRONG

    1. Armstrong: Professor, Department of Economics, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK. E-mail mark.armstrong@ucl.ac.uk.
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      I am grateful to Ted Bergstrom, Carli Coetzee, Richard Gedye, Victor Ginsburgh, Martin Green, Jim Hosek, Jean-Charles Rochet, Chris Wallace, and two referees for many helpful comments. All remaining errors and views are my own responsibility. The support of the Economic and Social Research Council (United Kingdom) is gratefully acknowledged.


Abstract

This article discusses the impact of collection sales (i.e., the bundling of several journals for sale by publishers to libraries) on journals. The advent of electronic journal distribution implies that bundling is an efficient sales strategy and can act to extend the reach of a journal. Current arrangements are discussed and shown to lead to tensions between commercial publishers and nonprofit journals. The article argues that nonprofit journals should not necessarily abandon collection sales programs. Rather, nonprofit journals may benefit from withdrawing from commercial publishers which distribute their own for-profit journals, and joining together to be distributed by less commercial publishers who set relatively low prices for their collections. (JEL D82, L31, L42, L82)

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