pricing of offprints in European o.p. catalogs

Birgit Kellner birgit.kellner at UNIVIE.AC.AT
Thu Nov 29 20:43:22 UTC 2007

Allen W Thrasher wrote:
> I see a lot of offprints being offered in European antiquarian book catalogs, and for what seem to me excessive prices.  Nor do I see any pattern that they are important articles from less standard journals that might be harder to find in libraries than e.g. the Journal Asiatique or JRAS or ZDMG.  The following possible explanations occur to me.
> Libraries might be less willing to allow photocopying than in the US.
> They might charge a lot more per exposure.
> Some countries seem less than generous in library funds, and buying an might would be cheaper than going to a distant city to consult the journal.
> Any comments from European colleagues or those who've worked there?
> Allen
I cannot offer any rational explanation for this phenomenon - 
photocopies are liberally allowed in all European libraries I have been 
to so far (Western, Central and Northern Europe), they are not 
particularly expensive, and interlibrary loan is available (though the 
costs here vary greatly). I'm not sure whether the number of scholars 
who would rather spend a lot of money for an offprint than use 
interlibrary loan is really so great as to produce a distinct type of 
reaction on the part of antiquarians. This may just be a historical 
relic of an established book trade practice that arose at some point in 

Then again, I also observe the phenomenon that journal publishers charge 
about 30 US$ for the PDF download of a single article ...

Maybe both phenomena are to be explained in the same way: they charge so 
much money because they can, and because selling these items in a large 
number is not important to them (they don't use up much storage space).


More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list