Re: Direct subscription Rollo Turner 14 Jan 2003 09:46 UTC

It is perhaps worth pointing out that the overwhelming majority of
subscriptions this year , as in every past year, will be handled by agents
at no risk to libraries. The disaster at RoweCom is not typical of the
industry, which generally has a good record for financial stability. There
are many agents who continue to provide good service at good value for their
library customers. The industry as a whole therefore is still healthy and it
is to be hoped with cooperation and goodwill on all sides the damage from
the collapse of RoweCom can at least be minimised. The ASA recognises that
the situation has put considerable strain on the trust that still exists
between libraries, agents and publishers and is in discussion with members
and others in the industry to see what we can do to ensure that business can
continue to be conducted with little or no risk to libraries and publishers
in the future.

Agents provide many different services which might be difficult and costly
for libraries to replicate. Services from agents include, for example, the
provision of MARC records; handling enquiries, claims and orders for
publishers in many different languages in almost all countries of the world;
making available details of prices, online availability and licence
restrictions; setting up electronic journal subscriptions; paying publishers
in good time (for ASA members this is essential) even though the library may
not yet be in a position to pay, minimising the costs of  exchange rate
fluctuations etc etc. All of this can be very labour intensive and the costs
are very often underestimated.

I hope libraries will not be put off using the overwhelming majority of
agents who are both financially sound and provide good service at reasonable

Rollo Turner
Secretary General
Association of Subscription Agents and Intermediaries
10 Lime Avenue
High Wycombe
Bucks HP11 1DP
Tel +44 (0)1494 534778

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jacqueline Snider" <jacqueline.snider@ACT.ORG>
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2003 4:42 PM
Subject: Direct subscription

> 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
> the request.
> 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.
> My thoughts.
> Jacqueline
> Jacqueline Snider
> ACT Information Resource Center
> 2201 N. Dodge Street
> Iowa City, IA 52243-0158
> Voice: 319-337-1165
> Fax: 319-339-3021
> Email: