August 7, 2009
Message from West on AALL Sponsorship Policy
The following message by Anne Ellis, Senior Director, Librarian Relations, Thomson-Reuters, was distributed this morning on the AALL Academic Law Libraries SIS and AALL Court & County SIS listservs and probably other (all?) AALL listservs:
We’ve noticed some chatter on West’s participation at AALL this year, and wanted to weigh in to help clarify some points of the discussion. It’s true that AALL is not accepting sponsorship dollars from West for 2008-2009 because West does not participate in the Price Index for Legal Publications. It has been West’s position for many years that the retail pricing model laid out by the Price Index for Legal Publications does not accurately reflect the prices our customers typically pay. Our retail prices are easily and clearly available on the West Web site. However, we work closely with our customers to give them the information and flexibility they require to best plan their budgets and collections, and so we approach pricing on an account-by-account basis – which, by the way, is not uncommon in the industry. Our view is that whether an index is produced by a private publisher or trade association, more often it serves to confuse than clarify.
We were disappointed that we weren’t allowed to contribute sponsorship funds to AALL this year. We have worked closely with AALL through this policy change, and remain committed to the programs and issues that we have supported in the past – notably, professional development, diversity and scholarship. While we know we’re on opposite sides of this issue, there is still much that we have in common – especially in advancing librarianship, and supporting your success. I know I speak on behalf of West leadership and my Librarian Relations colleagues when I say that we hope to continue this important work together.
Please feel free to contact me personally [phone number deleted] if you have any question about this.
Senior Director, Librarian Relations
Editor's note: I think the message requires no "chatter;" it speaks for itself. We've all hear this corporate HQ-speak before. Maybe we should call our West reps for account-specific, "ability-to-pay," across-the-board pricing discounts for all our continuations? See LLB's Did AALL Refuse Thomson-West Sponsorship Cash for the Annual Meeting? Yes for a little chatter on this matter.
Ellis provided her phone number in the listserv message but I deleted it for this general distribution blog post. [JH]
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I find it interesting that only West among the major legal publishers is willing to be so patronizing as to tell us that they are just protecting us against being confused by refusing to participate in our price index. And only West is so disingenuous as to insist that their published prices do not reflect their real prices because of the wonderful breaks they give us on pricing--as tho the other major publishers did not also cut deals. If this feeble line of argument is the best West can offer in explanation of their willingness to destroy the price index, then we will draw our own conclusions.
I suggest that perhaps we are the best judges as to whether the price index is useful to us, and that perhaps West might take into account that we know very well that West sometimes offers discounts from published prices, which does not confuse us at all, nor does it detract from the usefulness of the price index.
Joe K. Stephens
State of Oregon Law Library
Posted by: Joe K. Stephens | Aug 7, 2009 1:12:52 PM