These are my thoughts on the question of direct journal subscription.
Please excuse dual postings but I would like other opinions.
After the Divine debacle, I am considering direct subscription. There was
a posting on SERIALST several weeks ago about this very topic, and I take
it that most replies to that email discouraged the practice as being too
time-consuming and expensive.
I am not convinced, however, that direct subscription is totally out of
the question. Here are my answers to some objections raised.
Too expensive as many checks will have to be cut--Using a credit card will
eliminate the number of checks.
Too time-consuming to follow-up claims--We have to call the vendor about
claims anyway. We can submit our claims requests electronically but WE are
the ones who have to keep track of the missing issues, and call.
Too time-consuming to subscribe to each journal--This is true but we
subscribe to many journals issued by the same publisher, so we could batch
Cost--Serials subscription agencies do add to the cost of the
subscription, so I suspect that with staff time now devoted to these
tasks, we may break even if we're lucky.
The Divine situation has an impact on everyone. We are not able to pay
double for a lot of our subscriptions, so we lose by not providing our
patrons with journals. The publishers lose because we will not renew. The
subscription vendors lose because trust has been evaporated, and I
personally will think hard about the next vendor, if any, I go to.
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