Re: For Whom the Gate Tolls?

From: Murray Turoff <> <harnad_at_COGSCI.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 1998 06:03:24 -0400

There was a time when a person like Ben Franklin was a writer, printer,
and publisher out of one little shop. We are actually heading back to
that possiblity at a rather rapid rate.

First of all, I suspect the latest web server technology at a cost of
about $20,000 would support about 5,000 users in terms of retrieving
material like "journal articles". One person putting such a unit in
their home and interfacing to the WEB could start a publising
operation. After a capital investement of about $40,000, if he was
publishing something that his users were willing to pay $25 a year for
and he got about 4,000 subscribers he would be pulling in $100,000.
This is much better than what a lot of people risk in most standard
small retail store startups.

What is missing is the low cost transaction pricing accounting system
that will allow people to pay a quarter or a single transaction like a
paper; there is technically nothing preventing it except the current
financial fee structures that make it uneconomical. Ultimately, the
pressures of the marketplace and the availability of the technology
will overcome those difficulties.

I don't expect to see journals as a cottage industry because of the
problems already discussed with status and such. But many other types
of publishing will emerge in the near future as a cottage industry.
Go on the Web with a search and see how many artists have put their
own gallaries on the web and are bypassing the physical art

Murray Turoff
Distinguished Professor
Department of Computer and Information Science
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Received on Tue Aug 25 1998 - 19:17:43 BST

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