That’s the title of an article in Publishers Weekly by Peter Brantley.  Here’s a bit of it:

RH’s pricing is a very blunt instrument, insensitive to true demand over time as well as the library’s ability to pay. And there is the greater tragedy: publishers are obviously bent on reducing a social good to a economic commodity. As Barbara Fister notes in Inside Higher Ed, “Culture and knowledge, in this new publishing regime, are not common goods, they are intellectual property best controlled by corporations.”

n a digital environment where profit can be more readily quantified, and market subsidies supporting access restricted or eliminated, the ability of libraries to subsidize higher origination costs is reduced in proportion to their fixed or declining budget appropriations. Further, increasingly digital content is not available at all, at any price. This historical transformation has the obvious result of eroding the local community’s ability to foster the larger social goal of equal access, and the possibility of individual advancement and learning. In other words, the increasing corporate control of access to culture tears at our social fabric, weakening the ability of our communities to support individuals against the harshness of our economic system.

Inflating the revenue of a book’s artistry not only serves to impoverish readers, but our social values as well. As our books get more expensive, we perversely impoverish our communities.

Thanks to Michael von Glahn for the link.


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