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Is publisher-librarian agreement open for signature?

Sally Morris's message seems to imply that the publisher-librarian
agreement is presently open for signature.  The only version I see on the
creditors group site is labeled "draft," and my impression is that the
agreement is not yet finalized. If in fact the agreement is presently open
for signature, I would appreciate clarification of that.

Paul Axel-Lute
Deputy Director & Collection Development Librarian
Rutgers University Library for the Center for Law & Justice
123 Washington St.
Newark NJ  07102-3094         axellute@andromeda.rutgers.edu
(973) 353-3151                http://www-rci.rutgers.edu/~axellute/
fax (973) 353-1356


On Fri, 14 Feb 2003, Sally Morris wrote:

> As a member of the 'steering committee' which, on behalf of library and
> publisher creditors, has been trying to move things along, perhaps I can
> give a short summary of how things stand.
> As I'm sure you all know by now, divine (the parent company) announced
> before Christmas that it was unable to fund the continuing operations of
> the RoweCom subscription agency.  Two other agents made offers to take
> over all or part of the business, but one pulled out;  EBSCO have now
> signed an agreement to purchase RoweCom Europe, and look likely to do so
> for the rest of the business in the very near future.
> EBSCO are honouring all the obligations of RoweCom Europe in full, which
> means that publishers will receive all of their money (albeit slightly
> delayed) and libraries will get their journals.  However, the situation is
> not quite so clear-cut for the non-European part of the business.
> EBSCO's offer will not cover the entire deficit, which is thought to be
> between $50 and $80m.  RoweCom USA is in the process of a reconstruction
> bankruptcy (the creditors' committee was recently appointed) and some more
> money is likely to be recovered through this.  Nevertheless, the entire
> deficit is not expected to be covered, and so publishers will only receive
> a proportion of the money due to them (and likewise libraries, if they
> decide to cancel their orders and take them elsewhere).
> Most publishers have extended their normal grace period for EBSCO
> customers while the situation is resolved.  We are now very hopeful that
> the majority of publishers will sign an agreement - to be issued next week
> - to supply journals for the whole of 2003, on two conditions.  One is
> that the libraries' rights as creditors are transferred to the publishers
> who agree to go on supplying journals;  the other is that the libraries do
> all they can to continue those subscriptions into 2004.  Publishers are
> also asked to retain their existing discount rate with EBSCO for the next
> three years;  not all are happy about this, but it's a lot better than
> losing the library orders altogether.
> Libraries are also being asked to keep their business with RoweCom's
> successor, EBSCO;  the amount EBSCO are willing to pay will be reduced
> proportionately as libraries take their business elsewhere.  This means
> that there will be less money available, both to pay those publishers who
> are willing to go on supplying journals, and to refund to those librarians
> who choose to get out.  So - counter-intuitive as it may seem - not
> cancelling your RoweCom orders is actually the best thing librarians can
> do.
> A listserv has been set up at
> <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rowecomcreditors> and 'Files' in the
> left-hand menu gives signed-up list members access to all the relevant
> documents, including the agreement form mentioned above (I hope it will
> also be possible to make it available at www.alpsp.org in a few days'
> time).  I would encourage both publishers and librarians to sign and
> return it without delay.
> Thanks
> Sally Morris, Secretary-General
> Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
> South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK