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Bargain hunting Sarah D. Tusa 29 Nov 2007 21:00 UTC

In response to Jaime's question, it seems to me it would depend on how
many subscriptions you are looking to switch from vendor to
direct-apply.  We have kept a handful of titles as direct-applies for
many years precisely because it is substantially cheaper to get those
particular titles directly from the publisher.  Also, if your
institution allows multiple-year purchases, you can get pretty good
deals on 3-year subscriptions for some, as you mentioned.  (At another
library where I worked many years ago, we entered a 3-year subscription
to Wall Street Journal for the Business Library because of the savings.)

For most print subscriptions, I believe it is still more economical in
the long run to use a vendor.  The Accounts Payable office on our campus
is sorely understaffed, and I hate to imagine what would happen to our
subscriptions if we sent over 800-900 invoices (even after we canceled
$70,000-worth of subscriptions) instead of 15-20 per year for our
renewals!  The fact that many of our journals are from the same handful
of major publishers would keep that number down somewhat, but it would
still be a nightmare for them and a huge headache for us in the library.

We've always been in favor of economizing where we can.  Hence, if a
journal is significantly less expensive if purchased directly from the
publisher, I say GO FOR IT!  You can probably determine where the point
of diminishing returns fairly easily, based on your total number of
subscriptions and the paperwork that is involved.

We seem to be going in the opposite direction with electronic journals.
Partially because of consortia agreements, we seem to be reverting to
paying each separate publisher for its respective bundle of e-journals
(e.g, Elsevier, Sage, etc.), but maybe there will be more time-saving
consolidation down the road.  I fear the biggest stumbling block will be
the individual license agreements, but now I'm straying from the
original topic, which means it's time for me to get back to my other
duties as assigned.

Good luck!

Sarah Tusa

Coordinator of Collection Development & Acquisitions

Mary & John Gray Library

Lamar University

Beaumont, TX


"I'm drowning here, and you're describing the water!"  -- Jack
Nicholson, in "As Good as It Gets"