March 14, 2011
Is it time to stop talking yet?
I feel like the Vendor Colloquium event has been beaten to death. I’m still going to blog about it. I don’t have any problem with talking. Talk is good. The U.N. accomplishes a lot just by talking. But they accomplish a lot more when they send in peace keeping forces. And, more seems to happen the area of human rights now that there is an international criminal court. Talking does air the dirty laundry – well, as long as you are allowed to write about the dirty laundry that is.
Talk as much as you like, but, the colloquium cost us money. I just don’t think it is how I would like to spend money on this issue. So many of us feel that something is just “wrong” with the legal publishing industry. There are too few players, the prices are ridiculous, and the business practices are suspect. We’ve tried guidelines, we’ve tried talking, we’ve tried cancelling.
Could we try hiring a lawyer?
Why doesn’t AALL hire a lawyer to write a legal opinion about all these “wrong” things? It would give us all more information about what legal grounds we have to stand on to allege conspiracy, coercion, anti-trust, etc… Maybe we are wrong. Maybe there isn’t anything wrong. But I don’t see why we are spending more time and money talking when we aren’t even advised by a lawyer as to what our legal rights are with respect to vendor business relations. We could even help the lawyer research the issue.
If we, as a group, have already done this, I apologize for missing it. It just seems that at this point in time, we need some legal advice. (VS)
No, I can't give a specific example of an actionable claim. That would seem fairly conclusive in your favor...if I was an anti-trust lawyer. Of course, I'm not. I'm also not a personal injury lawyer. So, if I'm ever, god forbid, in a major accident and suspect that there is something "wrong" going on with, say, the police investigation, or an insurance offer, or my hospital stay, I intend to contact a personal injury lawyer and ask them some pointed questions about it. Since this sounds a lot like what VS suggested in her original post, I stand by my original comment.
Maybe, if a good antitrust lawyer looks into TR, he or she will find some actionable claims for you. But we won't know unless someone--someone qualified--takes a look. Still doesn't strike me as unreasonable, naive, or a justification for not taking librarians seriously.
As for the grocery industry, I firmly believe that all of its companies have only my best interests at heart, which is probably why my weight is perfect and my nutritional intake is so well-balanced. (Sarcasm there, just in case anyone misses it.)
Posted by: Anon | Mar 21, 2011 9:01:24 AM
Anon...I forgot to ask...you are aware of the manipulation and back-door dealing that goes into the grocery business, correct? The subliminal messaging, paid product placement and end-capping, etc. Just checking, cuase it sounded like you thought grocery stores were looking out for your best interests.
Posted by: NA | Mar 18, 2011 9:09:08 AM
Anon...give me a specific example of an actionable claim. If you can't come up with one, then my original comment stands. All I read in the blog post was that there was something "wrong" with legal publishing. This was in the context of spending money on the colloquium, so I assumed the author was complaining about vendor pricing.
From what I see, you have products that are seen as "essential" and therefore a premium can be charged. Why wouldn't they charge a premium? I think that if any of us had a product that was "hot" we would increase the price as far as the market will bear (again, Business 101). How about an example? Let's look at Svengalis' Legal Information Buyer's Guide, shall we? In 2001, the cost was $105. The 2010 edition is $156. This is a 33% price increase. Sounds like something from the pages of his own book. I guess he's been bitten by the "greedy publishing" bug, since he is a vendor now.
Posted by: NA | Mar 18, 2011 9:06:35 AM
Interesting, NA. Did they happen to discuss monopolistic pricing strategies, anti-competitive behavior, or antitrust law in your fancy business school? No? Perhaps business ethics?
Ok, I apologize--sorry to be glib. But businesses hire and use a lot of lawyers partly because the vendor-purchaser arrangement is not a simple binary arrangement of buy it or not. TR's bundling practices, LMAs, product realignments, vertical integration strategies, confidentiality agreements, etc. are a bit more sophisticated and a bit more suspicious than my average grocery trip. There may or may not be a valid legal action available to purchasers--I have trouble seeing how AALL would have any claim--but it's not far-fetched and it's not inherently unreasonable.
Posted by: Anon | Mar 16, 2011 8:39:54 AM
Wow...the librarians on this blog need to go to business school. This post is why I am no longer surprised when librarians aren't taken seriously.
Just a quick lesson...when there is a product on the market, a buyer can buy it or not. The seller can price it high or low or give it away. We have this freedom. If your users insist on Kleenex instead of Puffs, but Kleenex is more expensive, either buy the Puffs or buy the Kleenex or don't buy either and make do with toilet paper. The one thing you can't do, is hire a lawyer to force Kleenex to lower prices.
There is an alternative to almost everything published today. You might say, "But I have to have Wright & Miller, so it's not fair." Are you joking? You don't have to buy any specific title. If the ABA accreditation standards require you to have Wright & Miller, then your fight is with the ABA not West or Lexis or any other business.
Posted by: NA | Mar 15, 2011 7:25:51 AM