Re: Waste of our subscription dollars Jennifer Friedman 10 Jun 1995 03:31 UTC

I'm glad other people are irritated by the publishers's practices!

>*My* biggest problem is with National Register Publishing, who not
>only sends us "renewal" notices for items we don't have on
>standing order, but who sends us *four* copies of each -- each of
>the four has a slightly different permutation of our library or
>college name.... (e.g., one's LRC Hearnes and one's Missouri Western
>and one's MO Western.)
>I'm noticing that any publishers who are lurking around are being
>very quiet indeed, BTW.

I work at a small library in a medical peer review organization, and I've
noticed unsavory practices like this quite often.  We will often get several
copies of an advertisement when one would do, each with a slightly different
version of our organization's name.  Or we will get two invoices for an
order, one right on top of the other, obviously with the hope that both
will get paid.  Or there is the infamous trick of making an advertisement
look identical to an invoice--even going so far as to mark it, "Product
Invoice"--when it is, in actuality, an advertisement or an invitation to
re-subscribe years after we intentionally let a subscription lapse.

A large library would, I assume, have reliable ways to check whether a
subscription is current, has been paid for, etc., but I am the first librarian
to work in our little library, and when I got here in January I was hard-
pressed even to make a list of current subscriptions.  The flood of
advertisements and invitations to subscribe, as well as the invoices, got
put away in a box until I could get more familiar with the collection.
I'm sure glad I did, because when I went through the box recently, I only found
two or three relevant letters of renewal, out of several hundred pieces of
junk mail--many duplicating themselves, or using deceitful techniques to
solicit orders.

A small library, especially one struggling to justify its new existence, cannot
afford to be duped by publishers.  Unfortunately, small, newer libraries are
the most vulnerable to this, because of communication and organization prob-
lems, staff shortages, and poor documentation of past orders.  I find deceitful
advertising practices reprehensible, and if any publishers are "lurking around"
out there, be warned that I have many times summarily tossed out advertisements
that take advantage of these techniques.  I figure that if the publisher has
to resort to such practices to gain subscribers, their publication probably
isn't worth the money...and I have seen sample issues that proved this

Sorry this is so long.  Just had to sound off.

Jennifer Friedman
Wisconsin Peer Review Organization Librarian
2909 Landmark Place
Madison, WI 53713

Jennifer Friedman          School of Library and Information Studies
415 W. Gilman #508         Helen C. White Hall, UW-Madison campus
Madison, WI 53703          Internet:
(608) 251-8917             Bitnet: jfriedmn@wiscmacc