Re: subscription agent service fees question-online journal subscription Pennington, Buddy D. 29 Jun 2005 17:35 UTC

I just wanted to voice my agreement on two points here.

First, Liz is right in that the agents have a lot of connections that
faciliate e-journal access management and troubleshooting.  And they are
developing the tools to make that more apparent to us.  I don't
necessarily agree with the per title charge for packages (it seems like
some sort of discounted service charge could be negotiated for that),
but I do believe they can and are providing services that make our jobs
easier and we should pay them something for that.  As we all know
subscription agents are finding their profit margins slim down
tremendously as they lose business (both libraries ordering direct and
libraries cutting print titles due to serials inflation and/or declining

I also agree on the final point.  We are likely to see higher service
charges (and this will be because the agents will have to raise them to
survive), if the steady stream of lost business continues.  We have all
seen this with journals that have small subscription bases.  If a bunch
of libraries cut the title, the "surviving" subscribers eat the price
increase.  Subscription agents need to convince libraries they can
manage their e-journals better than the library can on its own and this
is could be a hard sell down the road.  Something they can do is develop
ERM services.  They have the advantage of a deep understanding of
serials and publishers.

Buddy Pennington
Serial Acquisitions Librarian
UMKC - University Libraries
800 E. 51st Street
Kansas City, MO  64110
816-333-5584 (fax)

UMKC University Libraries: Connecting Learners to the World of Knowledge

-----Original Message-----
From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
[mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Elizabeth Lorbeer
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 12:07 PM
Subject: Re: [SERIALST] subscription agent service fees question-online
journal subscription

My library uses Ebsco to order our electronic journals.  Like you, I
share the dislike for the $10 per title service charge.  In 2004, we
purchased the LWW Total Collection, composed of 234 titles, and paid $10
for each title in the bundle.  Right now we most likely pay about $3,000
to $4,000 in title charges.

What's happening is that the publisher is no longer cutting a share to
the agent like before with print orders.  It's unfair to the agent who
has historically brought a steady stream of customers to the publisher.
I encourage agents and publishers to sit down and broker a deal that
allows the agent to recoup their commission.  It's too tempting for the
customer to leave the agent and buy directly from the publisher.

I strongly believe in using a subscription agent and supporting the
practices of the ASA (  Rollo
Turner wrote an excellent article two years ago on the value of using an
The agent provides many services which I am not equipped to handle.
Further, when an electronic journal is not working, or the publisher has
failed to apply payment for a renewal, all I have to do is call my
and this matter is taken care of in a matter of hours.   They have the
contacts, the power, and knowledge to keep my collection electrified.

A word to the wise: If the decision is to remove substantial amount of
business from the agent, you can expect your annual service charge to
rise on the rest of the subscriptions they order on your behalf.  Though
the per title charge may seem excessive, weight it against an increase
in annual service charge.

Liz Lorbeer

Elizabeth Lorbeer; EdM, MLS
Collection Development Manager
Rush University Medical Center
Armour Academic Facility, 5th Floor
600 South Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60612-3832
Phone: (312) 942-2282
Fax: (312) 942-3143

Date:    Tue, 28 Jun 2005 12:34:03 -0400
From:    Tian Zhang <ZHANGT@STJOHNS.EDU>
Subject: Re: subscription agent service fees question-online journal

We use Ebsco since 2002. Their service is good. Instead of the service
fee, Ebsco also charge $10 per title if the publisher does not give them
commission for that title.

But I have a question: right now, we subscribe more and more e-journals,
and usually, I have to sign the license agreement with the publisher
directly. Also I have to activate the journal by IP address and then put
the URLs to our catalog records for our library users. As online
journal, our library do not need to make claims. And most of the time, I
subscribe the journals by packages with the publisher if it is
available. And I want to subscribe these titles directly through
publisher and withdraw them from any agent by spending service fees.
What are your opinions about it?

Tian Zhang
Serials Librarian
St. John's University Library