The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

Or even make papers available for free; some of the cosmologists I read 
(an area I'm interested in) make their work, even their technical work 
that's been peer-reviewed, available on their websites. And of course with 
things like ITunesU and the initiatives from MIT, Stanford, and a lot of 
other universities (including Pakistan), courses and lecture notes are 
often available gratis (you can download Leonard Susskind's physics/ 
cosmology courses for example). The problem with JSTOR and overly- 
expensive academic press books, is that the discourse and associated 
intellectual life, remains enclaved; for the life of me I don't understand 
why conferences don't have tiered payment systems, for example - and the 
problems are related.

- Alan

On Wed, 9 Mar 2011, Sylvie Noel wrote:

> I'm not sure that university libraries are the solution for everyone. Apart from having to live in (or close to) a town or city that has a university, and having that university generous enough to let the general public borrow its books (not something that happens at every university, I'm betting), the book you're looking for would have to be one that hasn't been reserved for a class or categorized as a reference book.
> I was reading the other day about a young girl who self-publishes through Kindle and sells her books at 99 cents or three dollars each. Wouldn't it be interesting if we researchers and academics could follow a similar path?
> Sylvie Noel
> On 2011-03-09, at 4:28 AM, Peter Timusk wrote:
>> My two cents worth or deux cent ( 200)
>> I guess part of being successful as an undergrad is being resourceful vis a
>> vie books. I still bought every course book expect professor prepared essay
>> collections when I was an undergrad. The essay collections I researched and
>> found in the library.
>> What's wrong with using a university library as our universities here allow
>> the general public some borrowing rights? Two books that Barry Wellman
>> posted titles of I found at the local U libraries. Of course, this doesn?t
>> solve the developing world access and may be the developing world should pay
>> attention less to the developed world's research agenda. And here the
>> general public has a hard time getting online journal access from the U
>> libraries.
>> One of my professors has this site on her web page for
>> buying text books which will search for the cheapest price including
>> shipping. This may put the university book stores out of business eh?
>> Going on the basis of one large multi volume set on Research Ethics I
>> borrowed a volume of from school, I would say the size was off putting. May
>> be I can not cope with large books unless they are photo coffee table books.
>> Volume of this size in my use are used for one chapter or less, or as a
>> reference like some Oxford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy where I read the
>> entry on computer ethics and put the book back on the reference shelf. I
>> don't buy these reference books generally for personal use. I also have seen
>> professors buying on amazon and they explain to me that they spend their
>> grant money buying books. So yes being in a position of money is different.
>> Now the Cambridge Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics ed Luciano
>> Floridi, I am borrowing and reading slowly and it is not a big book and
>> Charles Ess is coauthor of a chapter I have read already. The cost is about
>> 36.87$ CND for paperback on This is typical for a social sciences
>> book (IMHE) but up about 10$ from 25 years ago I would guess. I like this
>> book.
>> In my math courses the books, and these are textbooks students are expected
>> to buy in each course, run in the 80$ to 160$ range. Law books run at 25$ to
>> 45$ for criminal codes and then 60$ or so for case analysis or annotated
>> criminal code books in basic undergrad courses. I think in advanced law you
>> would be paying more.
>> Anyways thanks for reading and I hope this helps the discussion. I am going
>> back this morning to learning Gplot in SAS for my nine to five job from the
>> huge collection of published online for free SAS conference proceedings.
>> Although the cheapest SAS publishing book in Kindle Edition is about 38$.
>> Peter Timusk
>> web:
>> blogs
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:
>> [] On Behalf Of Charles Ess
>> Sent: March-09-11 1:58 AM
>> To: Nathaniel Poor
>> Cc: Air list
>> Subject: Re: [Air-L] book announcement
>> Hi Nat,
>> yeah, unhappy that - also happened with our AoIR friends and colleagues
>> Lisbeth Klastrup, Jeremy Hunsinger, and Matthew Allen, whose _International
>> Handbook of Internet Research_ now lists at $260.00 on Amazon, with a
>> discount down to 213.20.
>> Clearly, very few researchers, much less students will buy either of these
>> in the hardcover.  So far as I can tell, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, and
>> others are following what seems to be a standard practice of trying to get
>> maximum return on a first hardcover printing that mostly libraries will buy
>> up; they will then make available a softcover edition at a lower price.
>> (Interestingly, Peter Lang - including the Digital Formation series edited
>> by Steve Jones - seems to be following a different practice, at least with
>> regard to another book forthcoming, _ Trust and Virtual Worlds: Contemporary
>> Perspectives_, co-edited with May Thorseth, priced at $34.95 for the
>> paperback.  Perhaps Steve will have some helpful light to shed on these
>> matters as well?)
>> I would be the first to point out that "standard practice" does not of
>> itself equal "right" or "justified".  Rather, along with more or less every
>> other scholarly organization, we've debated the publishers vs. open source
>> approaches for years, along with the theoretical and practical matters of
>> print-based notions of copyright in a digital age, etc.  FWIW, I think both
>> have important roles and places, along with serious deficits and problems.
>> A good friend and colleague, in particular, is consistently reminding me of
>> how prices like these keep important, perhaps essential scholarship out of
>> the libraries and hands of colleagues and students in developing countries,
>> something I'm certainly unhappy about.  At the same time, of course, there
>> are also, um, enterprising workarounds, some more legal than others (imagine
>> my pleasure at discovering that one of my books has been made freely
>> available as a bitTorrent download ... smile).
>> Perhaps AoIR and AoIRists can come up with better solutions to the current
>> conundrums? I'd be happy to see that, of course.
>> In the meantime, I also hope that these critical concerns won't diminish our
>> sense of shared pleasure in the scholarly accomplishments and contributions
>> made by the contributors to the volume.
>> cheers,
>> - charles
>> Institut for Informations- og Medievidenskab Helsingforsgade 14
>> 8200 ?rhus N.
>> Denmark
>> mail: <>
>> tel: (+45) 8942 9250
>> Professor, Philosophy and Religion
>> Drury University, Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
>> Exemplary persons seek harmony, not sameness. -- Analects 13.23
>> On 3/8/11 9:40 PM, "Nathaniel Poor" <> wrote:
>>> Charles-
>>> The Amazon link you sent lists the book at $US 200 (well ok $199.95
>>> and then a discount, but $200).
>>> Is that accurate?
>>> I know that's the hardcover, but if that's the price how is anyone
>>> going to buy it?
>>> Even the Kindle edition is $150.
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> Sylvie No?l, PhD
> Chercheure scientifique | Research scientist
> Centre de recherches sur les communications Canada | Communications Research Centre Canada
> 3701, avenue Carling | 3701, Carling Ave.
> Ottawa (ON) K2H 8S2
> (613) 990-4675 | t?l?c./fa
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