Society CD-ROM Options
A second anecdote comes from discussions last year with a member of the staff of the American Institute of Physics. At least one of their affiliated member societies decided to offer members an option to receive their member subscriptions on CD-ROM rather than on paper, at the same price (i.e., the amount allocated from their member dues). The numbers I recall are that more than 1,500 members of the society took the option, finding the CD-ROM a more attractive alternative. I suspect that had they tried to sell the CD-ROM on top of the cost of the basic subscription, there would have been few takers. However, in this case, if you ignore the initial investment to develop the CD, the CD option saved the society money because it was cheaper on the incremental cost basis to make and ship the CDs rather than print and mail the paper version. In this case, the economics favored everyone.