Reprint Fees: Higher than You Thought


Putting together an anthology or volume of collected works? You might want to check your budget. Reprint fees can can be pretty high. An article from Kant-Studien could run you over $4500. One from Phenomenology & Philosophical Research? Almost double that, though it depends on the particular article.

William Lewis, professor of philosophy at Skidmore College, has been working on putting together an edited volume of works by the late W.A. Suchting, an Australian analytic philosopher of science from the late 20th Century.

His experience has led him to be concerned that books of this type will become rarer and rarer, owing to the high reprint fees publishers are charging.

He writes:

Our original plan was to publish about twenty of his most important articles with a new editorial introduction and in an edition of five hundred or so copies. We have very little budget and we hope to publish with an academic press whose budget is also limited. The articles in question appeared in journals like Kant-StudienScience & EducationPhilosophy and Phenomenological ResearchBJHP and the Australasian Journal of Philosophy. While some of these journals were independent at the time when his articles were published, the rights to most articles are now controlled and managed by Springer, Elsevier, De Gruyter, Blackwell, Oxford, etc.

As little as ten years ago, it was possible to write to (human) editors at most of these presses, even the big ones, and negotiate reasonable and often free republication rights. This is now impossible: such editors no longer exist and one is referred to either in-house or third-party automated systems who spit out a price—often exorbitant—for republication based on one’s inputs.

Professor Lewis shared the quoted reprinting costs for the articles planned for inclusion in the volume. The most expensive, at $8979.50, is an article from Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, published by Elsevier. Next is an article from Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, published by Wiley, for $8913.50. That’s followed by $4579.50 for an article from Kant-Studien and $1251.50 for one from Analyse & Kritik, both published by DeGruyter. Many of the others were around $600.

He continues:

What I’m wondering is the following (and I’m hoping Daily Nous readers can help). One, is there a possible way to negotiate these fees so as to make volumes like this possible? Two, if it is necessary to pay these extortionate fess, how have folks managed to do so?

Much of my philosophical education came from buying books with titles like Philosopher X, Selected Writings or The Philosopher Y Reader. Are we to lose these resources in this new rent-seeking age of academic publishers?

Your advice and comments welcome.

 

Hedgehog Review
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

14 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Matt L
1 month ago

I was recently contacted to see if I was willing to have a paper re-published in an anthology on climate change. Taylor and Francis wanted $1,530 to have the paper re-publised. That’s not as bad as some of the worst offenders above, but still super expensive, especially given that the paper was going to be translated into German, and so wouldn’t really even be competing with the original paper. I gather that the editors were able to bargain down a few places, though not T&F. My advice was otherwise going to be that I would give them access to “pre-publication” version of the paper and they could re-print that for free, though that’s not possible in the case discussed above. (Of course, that’s an especially obscene case, given that the papers are so old. If anything the re-print would be doing a favour to the journals, not the other way around.)

Brad
1 month ago

I published an epistemology textbook in 2002; it was an edited volume. I had what I thought was a large budget from the publisher. I had to go back to ask for more. In those days, authors would sometimes waive their portion of the fees – Edmund Gettier did this, as well as Elizabeth Anderson. I appreciated that greatly. Some philosophers were priced out of the volume. Further Springer had a rule then that no more than 40 % of the book content could be from their journals – so as I added more Springer articles (think Phil Studies, Synthese, Erkenntnis, etc.) I had to add articles from other publishers. You can see where that took me. Good luck with it. I was glad to have done it, but I would not do it again.

Jakub Macha
1 month ago

Last year (maybe two years ago) I was negotiating with OUP to reprint a chapter from a 2004 volume. Of course, they outsource that to a third party. But I was always able to get in touch with a human agent. The original quote was £600. After some negotiation we came down to £300. I was annoyed at the time. But given what others have reported, it was a good deal.

Michel
1 month ago

I don’t suppose any of that even goes to the author, does it?

Don Ferderick
1 month ago

I think people make a bigger deal over this than needed. A normal convention (at least when it’s your own authored book, and you are using some papers you’ve. published previously) to add a paragraph or two in the preface and say something like ‘some of this material draws from work published previously in [cite journals].. and then just change a few words from those papers so they’re not entire reprints, and then publish the dang thing. It’s not as though the journals are going to go looking around to bust you. (Example: they also say ‘don’t put pre-prints up on your website until a certain embargo period is over’) blah blah blah no one listens to that!

Michel
Reply to  Don Ferderick
1 month ago

Book publishers care a great deal about permissions. This won’t cut it, and could see you paying a lot to settle.

William Lewis
William Lewis
Reply to  Don Ferderick
1 month ago

the author whose work is being collected is no longer with us, unfortunately

Cora Diamond
Cora Diamond
Reply to  Don Ferderick
1 month ago

I wrote a slightly changed version of a paper of mine so a French philosopher could publish a translation without having to pay fees he could not afford. I think this is not likely to be challenged.

Im ded
Im ded
Reply to  Don Ferderick
1 month ago

Only works for (some) living philosophers though!

Fritz Allhoff
Fritz Allhoff
1 month ago

I think the budget for permissions on my forthcoming bioethics textbook with OUP is ~$40k. That feels higher than on some past projects, but it’s a big book. I’ve definitely been $20k+ on others (with different publishers). This isn’t to take a position on whether any of that’s good or bad, just some background numbers for context.

Patrick Lin
Reply to  Fritz Allhoff
1 month ago

That’s crazy!

Do you have any idea how much money OUP expects its anthologies to make? E.g., how many copies of a $100 book does OUP need to sell to break even, given royalty costs of $40k?

William Lewis
William Lewis
Reply to  Fritz Allhoff
1 month ago

That is about what we would have to spend to make this the volume it should be. Unfortunately, the profit potential of my volume is not enough to justify such outputs.

David Wallace
1 month ago

My suggestion, if you haven’t tried it already, is to write to the current editor of the journal. They are likely to be sympathetic and a request from them to the press might in turn be more sympathetically treated than a request directly from you.

William Lewis
William Lewis
Reply to  David Wallace
1 month ago

That is very helpful, David. Thank you