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Re: Preferred pricing model for journals

I have to chip in my $0.02 of support to David Summers' note of cynicism.
In recent conversations with publisher reps, when I have had the
"audacity" to question their pricing, I have run into an impenetrable wall
of non-sympathetic non-understanding which finally brought me to point out
to one rep that they were a profit-making organization with a profit
margin of >30% while I was a representative of a not-for-profit
institution with a devolving budget for serials, and that at a certain
point, my institution would have to question, in real terms, the
possibility that we could not *afford* to support some departments at the
expense of jepoardizing the entirety of the library's core offerings. The
rep responded with a sort of "that's your problem" reply, and I'm not sure
that the rep understood that in the longer run it would really be *his*
problem as the subscription base shrinks and prices are driven even higher
in order to maintain profit margins. But none of this is new to
librarians: I wonder if it will be new to publishers as they begin to feel
effects of cancellations because of overpricing?

P Picerno

----- Original Message -----
> From: "Summers, David" <d.summers@lancaster.ac.uk>
> To: "'ALPSP'" <sec-gen@alpsp.org.uk>,
>         LIS-serials
> <lis-serials@mailbase.ac.uk>,
>         Liblicense <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
> Subject: RE: Preferred pricing model for journals
> Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 11:31:07 -0000
> Sally,
> Sorry to add a cynical note but I can't help thinking that the publishers
> have been told (directly or indirectly) but may not wish to hear.
> Firstly, HE Libraries struggle annually to renew their subscription lists
> and have to make cuts on a reasonably regular basis.  Secondly, many of us
> have devolved a lot of our funds and decision-making to faculty and
> departmental level and find the policy of top-slicing to finance deals
> based on a publisher's full multi-disciplinary list administratively
> inconvenient and unpopular with departments.
> Pricing policies involving percentile add-ons for cross-access, or bundled
> print and electronic, result in publishers competing with one another for
> a larger slice of an ever smaller cake.
> Why is it still rare to see a pricing model which reflects the fact that
> most HE libraries (a) select journals on a title-by-title basis and (b)
> regularly have to cut subscriptions?
> Given a choice of format most of our departmental colleagues still prefer
> hard-copy.  Given a choice between cancellation and conversion to
> e-format, most would welcome electronic journals with open arms.  I am not
> unfamiliar with the publishers' argument that e-journals are not so much
> cheaper to produce than paper journals and at least 70% (?) of a journal's
> cost is paid out before the printing process begins.  I merely suggest
> that if publishers do not offer their customers an attractive option to
> convert to a cheaper format they will lose some of them altogether.
> *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
> David Summers
> Deputy Librarian
> Lancaster University Library
> Lancaster
> LA1 4YH