The market for academic journals
Library journal subscriptions are treated as a public good. A monopoly publisher sells subscriptions to both libraries and individuals. For individuals, the journal is a private good. Profit maximization can lead to high institutional prices and few individual subscribers. This outcome is reinforced by increases in publishing costs. Library serial prices fall if patrons pay access costs and/or there is congestion. Data are presented to support these conclusions. Library prices are two to ten times higher than private prices; there are as few as two to four individual subscribers in an academic journal market. Library subscription prices are directly related to the number of consumers who use the library serial.