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Periodical Receipt Problems PIONESSA@ARIZRVAX.BITNET 26 Jul 1991 21:19 UTC

     Here at the University of Arizona Library in Tucson, we have
a problem that recurs at various times of the year in receipt of
popular magazines, and I would like to hear from others who may
have the same or similar problems.
     Many of our popular, glossy magazines such as Esquire,
Atlantic, Business Week, Forbes, New Republic, Macleans, Paris-
Match, and others too numerous to mention, as well as some of our
more heavily used newspapers, such as Wall Street Journal, New
York Times, USA Today, Arizona Republic, stop coming, sometimes
for several weeks or months in a row, and then we will receive
several back issues at one time.  Claiming the missing issues
does not seem to help, since many times the back issues will
arrive just before we are ready to claim, or, if we do claim
somewhat early, we will then receive duplicates of the claimed
     This problem has occurred for the past two or three years
and usually during the Christmas season and then during the
summer months, which led us to believe that it was a local
problem with our central shipping and receiving on campus, which
may be short staffed at those particular times of the year.
However, recent consultation with the campus mail departments has
shown that there is no way they could be causing a backlog of
magazines, since their turn-around time is about 24-48 hours
maximum, and they do not have the space to store such items even
if they wanted to.
     One possibility to account for our problem is the
publisher's or fulfillment house's policy of bundling together
many issues being mailed to the same geographical area (supposed
to be same zip code area?) to take advantage of Postal Service
discounts.  As you can imagine, if an issue starts out in the
wrong bundle, it may take up to a week for it to be discovered
and corrected.  However, this does not account for the fact that
we may miss several issues in a row and then get the current
issue on time, and at a later time receive all the missing issues
at once.
     Another possibility that has occurred to us is that our
vendors may be waiting until the last minute to pay renewal
invoices, thus causing lapses in subscriptions, which are later
corrected by the publishers when the invoices are finally paid.
We do not wish to blame particular vendors, but we are interested
in solving this problem which is a major headache for both
technical services and public services.  Our users find it
difficult to believe that we do not have recent issues which they
have seen on the newsstands and which they may need for research
on current topics.
     I would appreciate any information that others may like to
share on this topic, including whether or not they have the same
or similar problems, and possible solutions.  Replies may be sent
to the list or directly to me, and if there seems to be enough
interest, I will summarize for the list.  Thanks in advance.

Gerry Pionessa
Current Periodicals, Newspapers, and
University of Arizona Library
Tucson, AZ
BITNET:  pionessa@arizrvax
VOICE:  (602) 621-4876