Direct Subscriptions (2 messages) Marcia Tuttle 14 Jan 2003 14:19 UTC

Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 08:14:52 +1000
From: Jean Dartnall <>
Subject: Re: Direct subscription

Dear Searialists

I am still not sure what my opinion is on this issue broadly but here are a
couple of other points to consider that don't seem to have been raised yet.

Do publishers want us to order direct?  They would then have all the same
hassles mentioned from a library viewpoint of dealing with many more individual
orders, cheques, etc.  This year I have removed a small batch of orders from a
publisher and placed them with an agent because the publisher concerned just
did not seem to be able to cope with overseas payments and we were missing
issues and losing money.

On the other hand, getting electronic subscriptions in place seems sometimes to
be something that has to be done directly with the publisher even if the sub is
through an agent.  In these cases keeping the agent informed about what is
going on is just another chore.

I suppose what we really want is a completely efficient, reliable, pleasant to
deal with subscription agent operating effectively in all countries!  (Oh look
there's another pig overhead)


Jean Dartnall
Serials Librarian

(07) 4781 4492 (tel)
(07) 4781 5886 (fax)

James Cook University
Queensland 4811

Subject: issue of direct subscriptions
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 18:48:16 -0500
From: "Oberg, Steve" <STOBERG@TAYLORU.EDU>

I've followed the dialogue about choosing a subscription vendor vs. a "go it alone"
or direct to publisher approach with some interest.  My $.02 is that even for a
small library such as the one in which I currently work (with only about 700 print
subscriptions), a direct subscription model would be completely unwise and
unmanageable.  This is especially true given the extra workload involved with
managing the ever-increasing array of e-resources.  E.g. in our small college
library, we provide access to ten times more journals in online full-text form than
we have in print.  For us, that ratio is only likely to increase.  We'll take any
way we can to save labor in managing our decreasing print subscriptions in order to
free up time to manage access to increasing (and heavily used) online content.

May I suggest that especially smaller institutions consider regional subscription
agents?  An example of this kind of agent that we use at Taylor is Popular
Subscription Service (, based in Terre Haute, Indiana.  As far as
I can tell, agents like these are off the radar screen of most libraries (I'd never
heard of them before coming to Taylor), but maybe they're worth a try.  This isn't
the place for plugging a particular vendor or product so I won't go into more detail
than that.

In sum, my main points are that having a subscription vendor is a good thing, even
for a small library; and that there are other, smaller alternatives to the "biggie"
vendors that some libraries may find will fit their needs.


Steve Oberg -- Electronic Resources Librarian
Taylor University -- Zondervan Library