Marcia Clemmitt (The Scientist, Jan. 6, 1992, page 1) comments on hard times faced by book publishers. Currently, technical books from major publishers run from about 20 cents per page to more than 40 cents per page. Few are the books that cost less than $50. With reduced funding available for research, we can afford only the most essential monographs.

In France, scientific publishers market most books as paperbacks. They are as durable as hardcover books. They can be produced more quickly and more cheaply. This is true in the United States, also. For example, Johns Hopkins University Press sells the same book for $65 in the hardcover version and $24.95 in paperback, or another one for $40 hardcover and $19.95 paperback. The technical content of the hardcover and paperback versions is identical.

Scientists are not only readers, but also authors. Writing is hard, time-consuming work, and we have an...

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