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Re: Serials Payments Dates

There is no battle.

Sure nobody likes paying any earlier then necessary (and I'll bet
publishers are no exception to this rule!)but when agents are dealing with
customers subscriptions the surest way of losing business is to pay
publishers late - this will only result in subscription breakdowns, claims
and access terminations. Result of this is a very unhappy customer who
changes their agent (and of course an unhappy agent and publisher). As a
result agents strive hard to avoid paying late.

Agents are the middleman Should they pay publishers before they have been
paid by the library? Very often they do pay the publisher to try and
ensure good service to both customer and publisher. This is a costly
service and should really be the exception not the rule (unless by
agreement between agent and library).

The problem of late payments starts with publishers pricing. If they price
late (after the end of August) then their prices may arrive after the
agent has billed the library, or worse delay the billing process itself
whilst prices are input into agents systems. Late prices can force agents
to invoice a substantial number of journals at last years rates or invoice
them later than desirable. Already agents are invoicing as late as they
dare to try and ensure they have prices as correct as possible. Given the
complexity of electronic journal pricing (deep discounts, size based
pricing, types of licence required etc etc) it is no surprise that
libaries need time to consider the implications. This results in later
payment from libary to agent than usual. If no payment has been received
by about this time of the year should the agent pay the publisher anyhow?
Many agents do just that something for which publishers rarely give agents
credit. But who pays for this credit line or perhaps more importnatly who
should pay? Publishers whose pricing is complex and often late, agents or

So lets not talk in terms of battles, Anthony.  This is a complex problem
that we need to work together to solve, and it starts with the complexity
of electronic journals which often forces publishers to delay prices -
sometimes because their societies have yet to agree the prices, sometimes
because the publishers need to urgently rethink their pricing or business
models for electronic journals in mid year or perhaps for other equally
important reasons. But please do not assume that agents are paying later
becasue they want to. And the easiest way of seeing what an impact agents
really make in this process would be for all agents to only pay publishers
when they themeslves have been paid - anyone want them to start doing

Rollo Turner
Secretary General
Association of Subscription Agents and Intermediaries
10 Lime Avenue
High Wycombe
Bucks HP11 1DP
Tel +44 (0)1494 534778
Email rollo.turner@onet.co.uk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Anthony Watkinson" <anthony.watkinson@btopenworld.com>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2002 11:19 PM
Subject: Re: Serials Payments Dates

> There is a difference of view among publishers about turning off access to
> e-sources at the start of a new year. In the print environment some
> publishers have always allowed grace copies i.e. they send out the first
> issue even if the subscription has not been entered for the year in
> question. Others do not - they argue that if they have not received the
> money they do not supply. The difference in approach is carried in to the
> digital environment.
> There is a battle between agents and publishers being carried on here. It
> is in the interest of the agents to pay the publishers as late in the year
> as possible for the subscriptions coming in to play in the year following.
> Many publishers are unwilling to recognise a subscription until they have
> the money in their hands.
> Anthony Watkinson