There have been a lot of new edited volumes in paleoanthropology and Paleolithic archaeology during the last several years. I can get only a fraction of these from my local university library, which is a seriously big research library. The library will order many things I request, and of course I can get books or chapters on interlibrary loan. I often ask authors directly for preprints.
Just imagine the impact on people who do not have a research library, and do not feel they can presume to request from the authors directly!
As it stands, these books have a negative impact on the work published in them. If I can’t get them easily, they’re not influencing the way I work. If I can’t get them easily, I’m not directing other peoples’ attention to them, I’m not giving them to students to read, and I’m not blogging about them. There are some things I would dearly like to have right now, that I have to wait several weeks to get. I, who am not shy about bothering anyone, still don’t request preprints for everything that I might like to read.
I will gladly buy complete edited volumes that are of use to me, but I cannot buy them at $100 or more.
This has been a rant. Now back to our regular programming.