Re: subscription agent service fees question-online journal subscription Christopher Allen Waldrop 30 Jun 2005 21:25 UTC

I'd also like to add my agreement. When we began changing journals
to online-only I thought going through an agent was pointless
because there was no need for claiming. Then I realized the agents
were doing a lot more for us than just claiming.

I haven't heard anyone else mention it, but invoicing has been one
of my main reasons for going with an agent. For one thing we can
get all our titles listed on an invoice that's delivered and paid
electronically, which means less time entering invoices. Publishers
sometimes forget to send renewal notices for direct subscriptions.
I've never understood this since it's in their interest to keep as
many subscriptions as possible, but it happens. And agents are
better at dealing with publishers' accounts receivable departments,
which is especially important with publishers who will turn off
access for non-payment in a heartbeat.

We've never done any kind of serious cost analysis, but I'd bet
that the added charges are less than the cost of dealing with
publishers directly.

--On Wednesday, June 29, 2005 4:18 PM -0500 "Ohler, Lila A."
<lohler@OU.EDU> wrote:

> 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.  However, 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 of Business Development for Ebsco after his presentation
> at the recent ALA conference program: How to Assess Your Vendor's
> Financial Viability. Vendors are aware this is an issue for
> libraries, and yes, more dialogue needs to exist between vendors
> and publishers.  He encouraged libraries to work closely with
> their vendors and with publishers to encourage more discussion
> between all involved.
> I would also be very interested to know how other libraries are
> dealing with this issue?  Are you going direct, or sticking with
> your vendor?
> Sincerely,
> Lila Ohler
> Acquisitions Librarian
> University of Oklahoma
> Acquisitions/Serials Dept.
> 401 W. Brooks St.  LL211
> Norman, OK  73019-0528
> 405-325-2141
> -----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 agent.
> 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 agent,
> 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.
> Sincerely,
> 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
> Email:
> Date:    Tue, 28 Jun 2005 12:34:03 -0400
> From:    Tian Zhang <ZHANGT@STJOHNS.EDU>
> Subject: Re: subscription agent service fees question-online
> journal subscription
> 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

Christopher Allen Waldrop
Serials Coordinator
Order Services Department
Vanderbilt University Library
Ph: 615-343-3831
Fax: 615-343-8834