What Are the Business Models for OA Book Publishing? - Amnet EnableOA >

What Are the Business Models for OA Book Publishing?

 [Approximate Reading Time : 4 mins]

Articles that are a few pages in length require revenue to cover processing and publishing costs. What do publishers do to support the publication of books, and that too with open access?

Several fields of research publicize their theories and findings in the form of monographs. These contain detailed information about specific topics with insights into the research area. As research publications, these books and monographs are also more beneficial when open.

Reliable, sustainable business models are yet to be developed. Most methods bring in direct or indirect revenue that they then divert to OA publishing. Publishers can use a single model or a mix of a few.

Business models can be based on


  1. Book processing charge (BPC): Publishers charge the author, their institution, or their funder a BPC fee that covers the cost of publishing the book with OA.
  2. Freemium: One version of the book is open, while the sales of other versions generate revenue, which could be print, high definition, special editions, or feature added functionalities. Publishers offer priced tools and services, while the book remains OA.
  3. Revenue-generating services: Some publishers provide services to other presses and institutions besides their own.
  4. Advertisements: Ads on publishers’ websites can generate considerable income for OA books.
  5. Volunteer effort: Publishers use volunteers to do the unpaid work for the OA book.
  6. Fundraising: Publishers constantly raise funds and use them to publish OA.
  7. E-commerce: Sales of third-party products generate revenue.


  1. Institutional subsidy: The institution associated with the press subsidizes OA publication.
  2. Endowment: Endowments are common in the United States, where universities receive them regularly to fund OA and traditional operations partially.
  3. Collaboration: Organizations share services and infrastructure to promote OA publishing and find standard solutions.


  1. Library membership: Membership fees and dues from libraries and institutions support OA publications.
  2. Library consortium: Libraries come together to contribute to a particular OA collection, and after receiving the necessary funds, the same is made open.

Authors, readers, and sponsors:

  1. Grant: Authors can apply and receive grants to publish OA books.
  2. Flexible price: Readers can choose to pay the amount they want or not pay to get the book.
  3. Commissioning: Sponsors choose and fund a particular project to make it OA.
  4. Crowdfunding: The community selects a potential project that the publisher pitches to cover publishing costs.
  5. Liberation: Buyers purchase the copyrights of the book and make it OA.

Partial OA:

  1. Subscribe to open: Libraries buy collections of closed-access books that help in the funding of OA books.
  2. Embargoes: Books are sold during the embargo period and later become OA.
  3. Temporary OA: Books will be OA for a certain period and then go behind a paywall.

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1. https://oabooks-toolkit.org/lifecycle/10944589-planning-funding/article/10432084-business-models-for-open-access-book-publishing
2. https://operas-eu.org/special-interest-group-living-book/special-interest-group-living-book-open-access-business-models/
3. https://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/OA_book_business_models.

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