Bundling electronic journals and competition among publishers
Site licensing of e-journals has been revolutionizing the way academic information is distributed. However, many librarians are concerned about the possibility that publishers might abuse site licensing by practicing bundling. In this paper, we analyze the private and social incentives for the publishers to use bundling in the context of STM electronic journal market. In the short run in which the number of journals is exogenously given, we find a strong conflict between the two incentives: each publisher finds bundling optimal and bundling increases the industry profit but reduces social welfare. However, in the long run we find that publishers might have higher incentives to introduce new journals under bundling than without bundling and, in this case, bundling can reduce the industry profit while increasing social welfare. Finally, we examine publishers’ incentive to provide links to the websites of the rival publishers under bundling and show that even asymmetric publishers have incentive to interconnect.
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