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One last thing, is your Research Handbook on Insider Trading available online for free? No, it isn't. Is it on WestlawNext, Bloomberg Law, or Lexis Advance? No, it isn't. It is available in print for $240 (which is actually rather inexpensive compared to some of those securities treatises published by Wolters Kluwer). Nonetheless, some things are not on the Internet and even if they are available on the Internet then the publisher is going to charge for it.
I tend to agree with your point; however, I have a couple of things to add. 1. You mentioned "escalating journal subscription fees" - To be perfectly honest, the cost of law reviews, legal journals, and other traditional legal periodicals is not that expensive when it comes to an academic law library's budget. The real killer are treatises. Those things are shockingly expensive. 2. You do realize that academic law libraries pay for WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, Bloomberg Law, CCH Intelliconnect, HeinOnline, LegalTrac, ProQuest Congressional, LLMC, ProQuest Legislative Insight, JStor, EBSCO, et al. Some of those databases cost and upward of$38K per year. Those companies just don't give access away - they are in the business of making money. It is true that WestlawNext and Lexis Advance give a discounted rate to law school (essentially 85% of everything in their database) compared to a law firm (a law firm in California is probably not going to subscribe to the Iowa primary and secondary authority package). In any event, those subscription services charge law schools a pretty penny for those databases. 3. The print publishers also own the online databases. With more academic and firm libraries canceling print access to materials like annotated statutory codes, treatises, practice materials, and other materials then I think you will see those online databases start charging more for those services. We will start to see more a la carte pricing structures. The bottom line, you could probably reduce the library's budget but you cannot get rid of the library's budget because that stuff costs real money.
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Feb 26, 2015