The mathematician Gowers recently wrote in his much-noticed blog post "Elsevier - my part in its downfall" about the absurd situation in academic publishing:
A possible explanation is that to do something about the situation requires coordinated action. Even if one library refuses to subscribe to Elsevier journals, plenty of others will feel that they can’t refuse, and Elsevier won’t mind too much. But if all libraries were prepared to club together and negotiate jointly, doing a kind of reverse bundling — accept this deal or none of us will subscribe to any of your journals — then Elsevier’s profits (which are huge, by the way) would be genuinely threatened. However, it seems unlikely that any such massive coordination between libraries will ever take place.
Can anyone explain why such massive coordination between libraries is so unlikely? Given the fact that the problem with serials prices is well known since many years and it affects almost all academic libraries (including Harvard) it's really surprising that the library community seems unable to take jointly a stand against the big publishers.