"The Problem: specialist books in the Humanities and Social Sciences (including but not exclusively monographs) are under threat due to spiralling prices and reduced library funds.
Access is restricted: while academics could choose to bypass existing publishers and just post content on the Web, the general consensus within academia is that they would prefer to have their books professionally published.
Only a few hundred copies make it into the eight to twelve thousand research universities, and very few teaching universities have access to these materials. For many individuals private purchase is beyond their reach.
A Possible Solution: cover the costs of creating the first digital copy through a library consortium and make the titles open access. Publishers would continue to generate additional revenues from the sale of print, ePub and PDFs in bespoke formats."
(Frances Pinter, 2011)