Monday, April 6, 2009

The Electronic Publications Initiative of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

The Oriental Institute has published a short statement about its Electronic Publications Initiative. They report that
Statistics on downloads of electronic files and sales of printed books are tracked, and sales of the printed volumes have not decreased! Indeed, after the complimentary distribution of twenty-one titles in 2008 that had for many years only been available in print, sales of these titles increased by 7% compared with the previous two years.
This strikes me as very significant indeed! If open access can now demonstrated to increase the sales of back list titles, one of the primary arguments against providing open access for back-list titles evaporates. In fact it seem to indicated that open access, if thought of as promotional, might actually increase a publisher's revenue stream. It would be nice to see the documentation for this OI data presented in detail. It will also be interesting to see how this pattern develops over time.

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