[INDOLOGY] Fwd: New publication

Antonio Ferreira-Jardim antonio.jardim at gmail.com
Fri Apr 15 21:30:19 EDT 2016

Dear all,

I'm not certain of the situation elsewhere but here in Australia
increasingly it is the preference for university libraries to purchase
books in its electronic form - with many of the older physical books being
liquidated or placed into storage. Many Humanities librarians are directed
by university policy to purchase the electronic rather than the physical

This purchasing policy direction seems irreversible and seems to weaken the
notion of a beautifully produced physical book that will last 100 years on
a library shelf somewhere. This purchasing model also makes inter-library
loan much more difficult as the library's purchase of that particular book
is bound only to registered users of that particular book.

It's no surprise to me either that often the electronic copy is as
expensive as the physical copy. We also shouldn't forget that University
libraries are having their budgets cut (especially in the Humanities) at
precisely the same time as some publishers like Brill are increasing their

Academics don't exist in an ethical bubble. If academic authors choose
publishers that are simply unaffordable to individuals and libraries then
they participate in a system that is putting valuable research in the hands
of fewer and fewer people - at a time when the Humanities are under
unprecedented threat from politicians and university administrators.

I don't see how this can remain tolerable.

Kind regards,
On 16 Apr 2016 7:56 am, "Dominik Wujastyk" <wujastyk at gmail.com> wrote:

> I have a lot of sympathy for all the views expressed here about the high
> prices of Brill books.  I'm ambivalent myself, about being an editor of a
> series published by Brill.  When I founded the series (with Paul Unschuld
> and Larry Conrad) we argued strongly about keeping prices down.  And at
> first that seemed to work, sort of.  But now prices are extremely high, and
> we're in a problem situation. €299 for Zysk's book is very much, although
> one does get two volumes, and there is a huge amount of work in the
> volumes, both Zysk's scholarly labours and multiple refereeing,
> proof-reading, good paper, typesetting, binding, marketing and
> distribution.  It's a very nice physical object, it has to be said.  And it
> will be on the shelves in a century, when many books less-well produced may
> no longer be useable.  That sort of thing has to be paid for.  Nevertheless.
> I have advocated Open Access publishing for journals.  I'm less sure about
> books.  It's worth discussing.  Books are very different animals
> (usually).  I'm not sure the OA model translates to books, although I am
> sure it's very good for journals.  I especially advocate authors keeping
> their copyright.  The idea of Open Source, mentioned by Antonio, doesn't
> apply to academic writing, although I also like the concept.
> Antonio also mentioned that Brill hasn't endowed a professorship in
> Indology.  It would be interesting to know what they do fund,
> academically.  I know one colleague personally who edits a series for
> Brill, and whose university receives an annual payment of several thousand
> dollars from Brill that buys him out of some teaching because of his
> editorial duties.  Perhaps Brill pays for more that we're not aware of?  It
> would be worth asking them.
> It's always been clear that Brill's business plan is to market to academic
> libraries, and only incidentally to individuals.  With modern inter-library
> loan, it's normally not too difficult to get hold of a volume one wants to
> read.
> Best,
> Dominik
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