Re: Issue arrival times (2 messages) ERCELAA@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu 02 Aug 2001 19:31 UTC

2 messages:


Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2001 11:24:37 -0400
From: Dan Tonkery <tonkery@MINDSPRING.COM>
Subject: Re: Issue arrival times (3 messages)

There has been several good comments on the arrival times and I just wanted
to add a few thoughts.  First as Susan Davis stated, the subscription
agents have nothing to do with your shipment of the popular titles.  All
agents send the orders to a fulfillment center and that organization enters
the data into the mail list system and labels are sent to the printer of
all subscribers both individual and institutional.

Now the printer is usually a contractor that prints the issues and then
sends to another contractor for mailing.  The mailing house organizes the
mail and send out the issues in batches that are arranged to get the best
postal rates.  The mailing and wrapping process can take several days with
the larger subscriber titles which can be in the millions of copies.  So if
anything your region should get the issues at about the same time depending
on your campus mailing operation.

Now all of the issues that you see at the newsstand and supermarket are
printed and distributed a week or more in advance as these are the retail
issues and they hit the street days before the subscribers.  They are sent
to the distribution centers in bulk without any labels etc.  The first 5
million copies go out to the retail channels long before the subscriber
list is printed and serviced.

The entire process can take more a week to complete.  The printing process
is a factory environment and the first copies out are sent to the retail
channels.  So you are going to see issues of popular titles on the news
stand and at your supermarket a week or more before the library gets their

The mail system to get a single issue to the home is faster than mailing to
the University Library due to the campus mailing operation.  So in summary
the newsstand is going to be a week ahead, the home two or three days
ahead, and the library almost the last place to get the issue.

Using a agent or going direct will not change the delivery cycle.  There is
no penalty for using a agent.  Agents for the most part are not in the
mailing process unless you are international and have contracted for a
freight forwarding service.  Agents do send thousands of issues to foreign
libraries where the local mail system is slow or inefficient, but in the US
market all agents sent the orders to the fulfillment center and the
publishers never see the order or the issues that are mailed.  It is all
handled outside of the publisher's office.


Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2001 14:54:16 -0400
From: Dani Lichtenberg <>
Subject: Re: Issue arrival times

Thank you all so much for your responses to my recent..."opportunity to
provide excellent customer service!"

I especially like the point that newsstands receive bulk shipments of
magazines which do not have to be labeled.  It would make sense that
these may arrive somewhat before personally labeled issues.

In addition to your responses, I did a little bit of research of my own.
I called EBSCO and got the skinny on how magazines get from the publishers
to the subscribers.  Each publisher uses a fulfillment house to distribute
its materials.  The publisher decides which house to use (the library does
not decide this, as my patron seems to believe!).  The publisher also
contracts with the US Postal Service, to guarantee what date to deliver
its materials. This is called a "late date."  If each monthly magazine had
to arrive at the subscribers doorstop on a certain date, the US Mail would
be swamped!  So there is a final date by which delivery must be made,
which differs for each publication.  Any receipt time on or before that
date is considered acceptable by the publisher.  The "late date" for my
patron's SmartMoney Magazine, I discovered, is the 3rd of the cover month.
We received the August issue on July 12, so that is well within acceptable

Hey, as a Serials Librarian I should have known all that.  So this was
quite the learning experience for me.  I also double checked some of our
receipt dates with other libraries (using the Innovative Interface
feature recently under discussion) and find that our issues are being
checked in within two or three days of many other libraries.  This would
not be of too much interest to my patron, however, since he feels that
libraries receive issues well after individual subscribers.  I don't know
how to check when individual subscribers receive their issues, besides
polling fellow staff about their personal subscriptions, and I don't know
any who subscribe to SmartMoney or Fortune!

So...a very interesting exercise.

Dani Lichtenberg
Palm Beach County Library System