November 9, 2011
TR Legal's Format Switcheroos: From Loose-leaf Sets to Pamphlet Editions to Bringing ProView eBooks to Market
Shaun Esposito, CRIV Chair, 2011-2012 and Head of Public Services at the University of Arizona College of Law Library, asked about the format change TR Legal has been executing from loose-leaf to pamphlet editions because "Several AALL members have asked about this, and I have noticed the change in my own library."
Anne Ellis, Senior Director, Librarian Relations, responded:
I would like to thank Shaun Esposito for allowing me to speak to an issue raised by several customers concerned about the format of print product updates switching from loose-leafs binders to softbound pamphlets for some of our products.
This format change was based on customer feedback - a vast majority of customers across several pilot programs conducted last year stated that they clearly preferred the pamphlet for updates for certain kinds of products, citing reasons such as ease of use, ease of updating and greater convenience.
With this feedback in mind, we developed a set of criteria, based in large part on customer surveys, for determining when converting a print product update would be most helpful to our customers.
Currently, these criteria specify that print products that exist in one- or two-volume sets, and are updated only once or twice annually, are good candidates for conversion to pamphlet. Approximately 450 of our titles meet these criteria, and to date, 33 titles have been converted from loose-leaf to pamphlet updating. As part of our process, we notify customers whose subscriptions are converting to pamphlet updating prior to shipping.
We strive to provide our customers with the best products to meet their needs in the most convenient and user-friendly formats. If you have further questions about your subscriptions or the format of your print product updates, please contact us at 1-800-328-4880.
Senior Director, Librarian Relations
OK Anne, thanks for the information. Let's not even talk about the customer input thing unless TR Legal wants to provide the occupational demographics for the surveys and pilot programs.
Anne, got the list of the 450 or so candidates for this format switcheroo? Know when the titles' format changes are scheduled to be made? We all know that manufacturing is scheduled as far out as 18 months in advance. It is not done overnight. The only thing done overnight is notifying customers of the change. I don't recall any advance notification prior to receiving the handy dandy postcards that comes with the format-changed titles delivered to our little county law library's doorstep but perhaps that is because I have so few of the "candidates" left in my collection. I do recall receiving a nice form letter about the new edition of Graham's Handbook of Federal Evidence coming out soon. That was very, very informative. It included just about everything except for pricing information! Thanks for that "customer experience." (Note to readers: that letter did not come from Anne. The "author" was Robert Azman, TR Legal's Senior Vice President, Customer Experience & Education.)
I view this print format conversion in the context of West's forthcoming line of ProView eBooks. IMHO, all the titles that are being converted from looseleaf to pamphlet are being done as staging for licensing them as enhanced eBooks to individual practitioners. This pamphlet switcheroo for manufacturing will make it easier to move to coding for ProView eBook-ing. Coding for ProView is probably already underway for the pamphletized print titles. For all I know, ProView coding may have even necessitated the print format switcheroo.
The Ellis announcement does not state but indicates to me that TR Legal is including smaller secondary source sets for ProView eBook-ing in an effort to turn all practitioners into individual licensees like we law library institutional buyers already are. From what I've seen "pamphletized" so far the titles appear to cover federal law topics and are well-recognized works in their specialities by practitioners. Note that if, really when, they are eBook-ed by way of ProView, we can expect to see embedded links to WestlawNext for primary source cites (that's what I saw in the beta? version demo at Philly). This means you will need a WLN user account to access the linked resources -- smart way to try to increase adoption of WLN, isn't it? Just think of the practitioner who pushes his or her firm to buy into WLN because he has acquired one or more ProView titles. Imagine the ProView tie-ins offered at discounted prices for multi-year WLN licenses. Watch out for ProView embedded links to increase to WLN secondary sources that will eventualy encompass out-of-plan WLN resources available only on a transaction or hourly additional cost. Will this lead to in-app upsell opportunities for individual practitioners to access blocked WLN resources by way of their licensed ProView agreements?
TR Legal has realized that practitioners do not acquire each and every annual edition of an office copy because of (1) not wanting to pay the cost for nominal change in updated content; and (2) not wanting to lose their margin notes in the editions they already have. All the typical office copies of handbooks and secondary sources will be eBook-ed via ProView to reduce buyer reluctance due to #2 because ProView is capable of carrying over user notes from one eBook edition to the next edition automatically while hiding nominal changes in #1 by way of e-formatted editions to reduce buyer remorse by making it harder to see the obvious.
Even with its limited enhancements in the beta(?) version of ProView I saw, it was impressive in terms of being more competitive than the current eBook formats being marketed by Lexis, Wolters Kluwer and the ABA. I do not think the ProView-ing of the 450-or so "candidates" will lead to the elimination of their pamphletized print editions soon. In fact I believe the print editions will stay around awhile as a selling point for and justification for higher pricing of ProView editions. The sales pitch can focus on the increased functionality of the ProView editions vis-a-vis their print cousins. The folks in the Land of 10,000 invoices Licenses are very smart people. I do believe they know that their ProView line of eBooks can win the second round of the Law eBook slugfest if they can get enough of their enhanced Law eBooks to market ASAP. [JH]
From what I've seen "pamphletized" so far the titles appear to cover federal law topics and are well-recognized works in their specialities by practitioners.
I haven't looked at the other West's [State] Practice Series, but it definitely seems that this is also the case for New York. At least three recent West's New York Practice books (v. 33 - New York Construction Law Manual, v. 34 - NY Mechanics' Liens in New York, and v. 36 - NY Lien Priorities) all replace earlier hard-bound editions with pamphlets.
Posted by: Mikhail Koulikov | Nov 9, 2011 6:02:54 AM