Monday, April 4, 2011

Collection development & acquisitions: Publishing practices

Definition of a publisher

“A publisher supplies the capital and editorial assistance required
to transform manuscripts into books and electronic products.”

- G. Edwards Evans, Developing Library and Information Center Collection,
3rd ed. (Englewood, Colo., 1995) 159.

Functions of a publisher
  • Tap resources of materials
    o What could be published?
  • Raise and supply the capital to make books
  • Aid in the development of the manuscript
    o Are there any mistakes?
  • Contract for the manufacturing (printing and binding) of books
    o Subcontracts are available, get different parts from different contractors. Publisher helps out with other medium rights.
  • Distribute books, including promotion and advertising
  • Maintain records of sales, contracts, and correspondence relating to the production and sale of books
- G. Edwards Evans, Developing Library and Information Center Collection,
3rd ed. (Englewood, Colo., 1995) 159.

Types of publishers
  • Trade publishers o produce wide variety of materials, big sales to book stores, libraries and wholesalers
  • Specialty publishers
    o caters to specific markets – type, age group, etc. Academic libraries acquire most of their material here. Prices are higher.
  • Scholarly publishers
    o Subset, not for profit, care for research quality, may occasionally write for public, e.g. University of Toronto press.
  • Paperback publishers
    o 2 types:
    * Quality – lasts
    * Mass market – are not always made to last
    o If published first in paperback, they never came out in hard back because it’s less expensive. Paperbacks are more popular, they can be permabound if in high demand.
  • Vanity presses
    o Author pays for material to be published
  • Private presses
    o concerned about art work, expensive, take those books no longer under copyright. Libraries unlikely to buy, may research for historical purposes
  • Government presses
    o produces most publications on anything. local, national, international agencies produce statistics, which are important to have
  • Reprint publishers
    o specialize out-of-print materials, may reproduce on demand if they have the rights and the library need the materials
  • Serial publishers
    o produces magazines and journals
  • Associations
    o produce high quality specialties for customer benefits
Types of vendors
  • Publishers
    o may sell own material and distribute others’ publications
  • Wholesalers or Jobbers
    o buy in bulk and resale not in business to public. Libraries use them.
  • Agents or Dealers
    o may be publisher, all distribute other publishers’ work
  • Retailers
    o e.g. Chapters, primarily sell to general public. Can be online, focus on selling direct to customers.
Libraries can use more than one type of vendor.

What is a jobber?
“The jobber performs the role of a wholesaler of books and other library materials by trying to anticipate what its customers, usually schools, bookstores, and libraries, are going to buy and stocking those items in quantity in advance.”
Rose Mary Macgill and John Cobin. Acquisitions Management and Collection Development in Libraries, 2nd ed. (Chicago: American Library Association, 1989) 101-102.

Libraries receive a discount from publisher for buying in bulk, often between 50 and 60%. They sell to libraries with a 15-20% discount. Jobbers carry limited titles, usually North American publications.

Why libraries use jobbers
  • Often give 15-20% discounts
  • Only one order and invoice for many different publishers’ works
  • Value-added services
    o Free or inexpensive cataloguing copy
    * sends catalogue copy record to save money and time
    o Fully processed books
    * covers call numbers, tell them what to assign – you do the accession numbers
    o Online access to catalogues and ordering
    o Fast tunaround time guaranteed
Agents or dealers
  • Also purchase items for resale
  • Will often carry foreign publishers’ titles
  • Might limit their stock to a subject area or format of material
    o preferable for special libraries more than public and school libraries
  • Some specialize in out-of-print items
    o different from reprint items, some may specialize in rare books
  • Often will go extra mile to locate hard-to-find items
  • rarely offer more than 10% off list price
    o compare to jobbers
  • selection may be limited
    o store limitations, buying trips are limited
  • can view before purchasing
  • if item in stock, extremely fast turnaround time if local bookstore
  • libraries use or
    o good discounts and online reviews
    o by public, critic, marketing
Special libraries may use retailers for research purposes.

Advantages of publishers
  • Publisher most likely to have item in stock if still in print
    o Materials can go out of print very quickly. Publishers will print in demand.
  • More accurate in reporting out of print items
    o Contact if the jobber has trouble attaining materials
  • Send material more promptly than wholesaler
    o Wholesalers run out of material more quickly than publishers
Disadvantages of publishers
  • Many shipments and invoices from different publications
    o takes up time, costs money
  • Monitoring performances difficult if dealing with many vendors
Advantages of jobbers
  • Combine orders for many different titles and publishers, one invoice, one shipment
  • Easier to monitor performance (some wholesalers have electronic systems available or produce performance reports)
  • Offer value-added services
  • Large inventories
  • Timely service and competitive discounts
Disadvantages of jobbers
  • Concentrate on current materials (2-3 years old)
    o may not be able to acquire anything older
  • May be slower to ship than publisher if item is not in stock
  • Not as willing to supply difficult to obtain materials
Advantages of agents or dealers
  • More likely to have foreign publishers’ titles
  • More likely to go the extra mile to acquire hard-to-find items
  • More likely to have older materials in stock
  • Offer a more personalized service than a jobber
Disadvantages of agents or dealers
  • Often carry a limited line
  • Discounts not as high as publisher or jobber
Advantages of retailers
  • If item in stock extremely fast turnaround time
  • Can view expensive items before buying
Disadvantages of retailers
  • Often lower discounts
  • May have limited stock
  • May not place special orders
How do we choose a vendor?
  • We determine the qualities we want in a vendor, then monitor their performance
    o What is it you want?
    o Are they meeting your needs?
  • ALA Guide to Performance Evaluation of Library Materials Vendors (1988)
    o Identifies which areas of performance should be measured and how to measure them
    * Even after over twenty years, the guide is still relevant today
Qualities of a good vendor
  • Good inventory in stock
    o Academic stock would not be relevant to schools. Jobbers provide lists of publishers they carry. Will they carry your items?
  • Prompt order fulfillment
    o Vendors may not order enough copies, or wrong versions. They accept only 1-2% error rate on all orders.
  • Accurate order fulfillment
  • Reasonable and competitive discounts
  • High fill rate
    o How much of the order would they be able to provide you with immediately?
  • Extra services
There are some qualities you have to have faith in. It should be noted than some American publishers have Canadian distributors. Out of print has different meanings to different publishers. Between 75% and 85% of a order should be shipped within 2 months, although if promised to ship within 24 hours, they must commit.

Extra services
  • Cataloguing
    o Does the vendor provide?
  • Processed books or processing kits
  • Approval, standing order and lease plans
    o Does the vendor allow?
  • Electronic ordering and electronic invoicing
  • Tables of contents of books (for mounting on OPAC)
    o Part of analytics
  • Toll-free line
    o Or e-mail.

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