Re: subscription agent service fees question-online journal subscription John Lucas 30 Jun 2005 17:55 UTC

Hello all:

We are looking into buying online access for a number of journals by
one publisher for 2006.  We considered the possibility that after
negotiations, that we would order direct with the publisher.

However, should this come to pass, (and still too early to tell if we
can) we will most likely still be ordering through the subscription

In addition to the extra time and energy, problem solving, extra
institutional checks going out directly publishers which might go
astray, for us, there is also 2 other factors. (at least in my logic
which may be flawed).

 Going direct with these e only titles would eliminate any service
charge for those titles, but  could increase the service charge we would
pay on our remaining titles.

Our fiscal year begins in July, and we take advantage of any agents'
early renewal and early payment discounts. A smaller  bottom line to the
subscription agent will mean a smaller renewal and payment discount.  We
depend on this rebate to help offset unexpected price increases later.

John Lucas

Serials Librarian
University of Mississippi Medical Center
2500 North State St
Jackson, MS 39216-4505

(PH) (601) 984-1277
(FAX)  ( 601) 984-1262

>>> lohler@OU.EDU 6/29/2005 4:18:35 PM >>>
I fully agree.  This is a sticky situation for libraries.  We also use
Ebsco and are very pleased with the service we get from them.
we have chosen not to pay the service fee and instead go direct when
extensive negotiation of the license agreement and particulars of the
order are already done directly with the publisher.  But again, this
decision must be weighed against the time/energy a library wants to
commit to problem-solving when things go wrong with electronic access,
and the question of how that will play out as more and more direct
online orders are added.

I brought this issue up with Dan Tonkery, Vice President and Director
Business Development for Ebsco after his presentation at the recent
conference program: How to Assess Your Vendor's Financial Viability.
Vendors are aware this is an issue for libraries, and yes, more
needs to exist between vendors and publishers.  He encouraged
to work closely with their vendors and with publishers to encourage
discussion between all involved.

I would also be very interested to know how other libraries are
with this issue?  Are you going direct, or sticking with your vendor?

Lila Ohler
Acquisitions Librarian
University of Oklahoma
Acquisitions/Serials Dept.
401 W. Brooks St.  LL211
Norman, OK  73019-0528

-----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
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
for each title in the bundle.  Right now we most likely pay about
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
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
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
The agent provides many services which I am not equipped to handle.
Further, when an electronic journal is not working, or the publisher
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.
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
commission for that title.

But I have a question: right now, we subscribe more and more
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
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,
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