I did not mean to write another installment in this series, but Oxford University Press recently published a volume on War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views, which got me really incensed.
It’s another example of a ridiculous pricing policy of another greedy publisher, even though it’s a university press. The volume looks quite interesting and is closely relevant to my research interests. But there is no way I am going to plunk down $84.65, even for an excellent book, but especially not for an edited volume. I am not sure at all that I will want to read all chapters in it, and I don’t need this “thick damned book” (582 pages) taking up space on my book shelves. There is no option to buy it as an e-book!
I learned about this volume because I discovered a link to two chapters authored by Brian Ferguson, who probably realized that very few people would buy the book. So he scanned (!) and posted his own chapters on his web page.
It’s not even a galley, which would be machine-searchable. This defeats the whole purpose of scholarly publishing. Why commit to a book that few will buy and then, instead of posting a well-typeset and searchable digital article on line, post an inferior analog text?? Is the OUP’s cachet really worth it?
For that matter, why is OUP pricing their books so ridiculously high? Don’t they want to sell more books? I thought that they were a non-profit publisher. Why are they so greedy? Another recent and egregious example is The Oxford Handbook of the State in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean which is priced at $118.49, and also doesn’t have an e-book version.
Why are they doing this?
End of rant.